How To Fund Your Next Vacation
I get a lot of questions about how I am able to travel so much. People are always asking how I can afford it, how do I find the time, etc. Even my girlfriend Lauren struggles with understanding this quite often. With that being said, I figure it would be a good idea to share my knowledge in hopes of that other travel like minds can pursue their passions much like I have done.
Now before I begin, do keep in mind that I stay financially responsible with all of my expenses, savings and investing, as well as not taking on debt that I cannot afford. Most people are going to be somewhat financially stable and still find it hard to come up with $1,000-$2,000 for a trip every few months, so here is how I have learned to fund my travels.
I will concentrate this around more of the financial end, less of the time and freedom. Yes, having a job that pays well helps, but I, just like the rest of society have bills, debts and day to day expenses. Here are a few ways to help fund your next getaway!
The #1 tip that I have for people wanting to travel more, is to PLAN. I plan quite a bit in advance. I use 2-3 savings apps like Acorns or Qapital that skim my credit card and bank accounts every time I swipe my card or make a purchase, and it rounds up to the nearest $3. That roundup goes into a savings and investment account until I want to withdraw it. In addition, I also have $10-$20/week go into those accounts.
After about 2 months, I usually have around $400-$500 saved up between 2 accounts. That usually is enough to cover my round trip flight anywhere in the US, the Caribbean or South America. Now I only need to save a bit more for the hotel(s) and then spending. After another 2 months, I have enough to cover my hotels and some spending money.
I actually signed up for an app called Digit last year. This app analyzes your savings account and knows how much you can afford to save. Well, I guess I never noticed the small amounts daily, weekly, etc that it pulled out as it was a couple Dollars here and there. Then I started to see it withdraw $10-$15 a day for a couple of weeks. I went into my Digit.co account, and found that I had a balance of $3,000 in there!!! My fault for not seeing that or monitoring my finances better, but that’s why these apps can really work in your favor.
Click on links to instantly earn money for signing up on the savings apps
Cut your spending habits
I think this one goes without saying, but the more money you spend in misc. expenses, eating out, some cocktails after work, it adds up and you are then left scrambling to find money for your trip. Well, sometimes you have to make sacrifices.
Every time that I want to grab a drink after work, run to the 7/11 to grab some snacks or decide that I’m too lazy to make dinner and order a pizza, I tell myself that if I forgo that, I’ll put whatever money I would have spent in doing those things, into my travel funds.
Now that is not to say you cannot do anything fun ever, but saying “no” 1-2 times a month to certain things, can equate to $50-$100/month easily.
Lots of people think that they have to book 6-9 months in advance to get the best deals, book through popular sites or travel agents or just do not do the research needed. When I plan a trip, I’m looking at flights and hotels daily almost. My recent trip to Thailand; I bought my roundtrip flight to Bangkok 3 weeks before we left. Almost all of my hotels that we stayed at in Thailand, were booked a week before or when we got to Thailand.
Do your research, monitor the flights with an app like Hopper. It’ll let you know when you should book based on historic costs and popular dates. For hotel savings, there are many apps out there like honey, that will scan sites at checkout for any coupon or promo codes. Anytime I shop online, I run honey on it and it almost ALWAYS finds a coupon. I saved over $100 through hotels.com when booking my hotels in Thailand. All with the click of the mouse.
USE GOOGLE. I cannot stress enough how much I use this. Google Flights will pull in flights from almost every airline, hotel and website to show you the best rates out there. Never settle for the first price you see. Watch it for a few weeks and see if it changes and when you feel like the price is right, book it.
Also, never have buyer’s remorse. Once it is booked, do not look back. Too many times I have booked something, check the prices a few weeks later and seen the price drop considerably and then kicked myself for not waiting longer. Then, because I have waited too long in the past hoping that it would happen again, the price never dropped and I’m out money. Once you book, step away and begin planning your excursions.
Lastly, for excursions or things to do when you are there; always plan ahead. Do not go with the popular ones that the hotel recommends or an add-on from a travel site. Those are going to cost much more. Do your research and check reviews on sites like Tripadvisor. By not going on the most commercialized tour, you are guaranteed to not only have more fun but also pay a lot less.
Finding a side hustle
Now this one is a bit more extreme for most people, but having some kind of additional income stream. This could be anything from cutting hair, driving for Uber, or finding small jobs on sites like TaskRabbit.
Most of you are probably thinking that there is no way you are going to be able to hold a side job with how busy you are currently. I would be lying to say that I picked up a second gig, however, with creating YouTube videos on my channels, my travel and product review websites and some misc. consulting that I do, I can earn some extra money every month that goes towards the traveling that I want to do. And even better, you can do it when you want.
Following one or all of these plans will ensure that you are able to travel and travel often. I will have another article on finding the time and career to be able to travel often, but for now…start your saving and planning for your next vacation today!