I have been dedicated to traveling for the last six or seven years. Traveling is what I would consider to be a lifestyle at this point in my life. I spend a lot of time and energy thinking about new places to visit and coming up with more ways for me to be able to finance the trips that I must take. I absolutely wish it was cheaper to see the world but unfortunately, things come at a cost.
When people see you traveling, many will automatically assume “you must got some coins cause you stay going somewhere.” Trust me, your girl is far from being coined up. I just know how to save my money. At the end of 2013, I quit my job with nothing else lined up. I eventually started temping and working at Old Navy in 2014, and I still made it to Dubai later that year. I actually booked that trip while unemployed because I knew it was going down, I’m true to this. Which is why I’ve compiled a little list of things you can do to get your money right in case you want to start traveling or travel more often.
Create a budget
This is number one because it’s the most important, whether you are trying to travel or not. Budgets allow you to specify and know exactly where your money is going. Once you figure out how much money you will have to spend on necessities (rent, mortgage, utilities, car note, etc.), you can then determine how much is remaining and what you can afford to dedicate to traveling.
Dedicate a specific account for travel funds
I have a savings account that is designated solely for my travel savings. That money sits in that account and whenever I need to pay for anything travel related (flights, hotels, passport renewal, new luggage, etc.), I just transfer the money over.
Treat it like a bill
Each time I get paid, I transfer money to my travel account. Travel savings and travel expenses are literally listed in my budget. If you are serious about stacking up so you can visit the places you’ve been dreaming about, make it a line item and dedicate the funds to your travel savings account.
Don’t dip into your travel savings for non-travel related purchases
This is a follow up from the previous tip. In treating it like a bill, act as if that money is gone. When you’re out shopping or online shopping, this money does not exist to you. Learn how to exercise some discipline if it’s really that hard for you because you will be in your feelings when a deal comes around and you can’t book the flight because you decided to go ham at the Target.
Determine how much it will cost to visit where you want to go
Prepare a budget for a trip you want to take. Do your research to price out flights, lodging, food, activities, transportation (while there), souvenirs, etc. Once you have that number, add a little on top for incidentals. You could also look up packages from travel companies to get a guesstimate on how much it might cost (keep in mind they have incorporated their fees into things). You can either book with them or just use their figures in your budget (planning trips yourself is usually always cheaper). Now that you have your target number, go back to your regular budget and develop a savings plan.
Visit a place based on price
I know some folks who only travel based on flight deals. They see a deal and that’s where their vacation will be. There are so many ways to be in the know about flight deals and error flights (flights that erroneously get posted for super low prices). Join travel groups on Facebook or follow websites dedicated to flight deals on Twitter. Or, just search for places where you can take a cheap vacation and see what shows up and what you’re interested in. Research is definitely your friend here.
Cut costs on flight or lodging
In terms of saving money on the actual vacation, you usually can cut costs in one of two areas: your flight or your lodging. You can book flights based on deals as mentioned above or you can use apps like Hopper that will watch flights for you and let you know when the tickets will be cheapest. When it comes to lodging, home rentals like Airbnb and HomeAway tend to be cheaper than hotels. However, there are apps like HotelTonight that let you find discounted hotel accommodations up to 7 days in advance.
Get a side job or hustle dedicated strictly to funding your travels
As mentioned before, I had quit my job and started temping and working at Old Navy the same year I went to Dubai. I ended up getting a full-time job during that year but I stayed at Old Navy and put my entire paycheck from there into my travel fund. Having multiple streams of income is important anyways and having extra cash comes in clutch when you want to fund your passions.
I really hope this list helped and you found at least one thing you can start doing to make your travel desires come into fruition. Should you need any assistance along your financial wellness journey or help creating a budget that will get you started on stacking your travel savings account, you should take a little walk on over to BEP Financial. BEP Financial is a personal finance consulting company catered to client’s prosperity. Also, for tips on booking flights, visit my post here!