Happy August Everyone! I can’t believe it’s already mid-august. Time is flying by so fast. I am so excited that I’ve reached over 1,000 views in my first month of starting this blog! Thank you to everyone who takes the time to read my posts! As many of you may know, Adam and I are leaving for Europe in 2 weeks!! After I graduated college I decided I wanted to travel to be a top priority in my life, but I honestly never thought I would go backpacking in Europe! When I first met Adam, he had recently returned from a solo backpacking trip around Europe. I told him he was so crazy and I would never do that. But, I had a change of heart (primarily due to a quarter life crisis) and now we are on our merry way to Europe soon. At first, trying to plan a 2-week trip overseas can be really intimidating. Plane tickets, food, lodging, and activities can be so expensive. Plus, I live in one of the most expensive cities in the US, have student loans, a car payment, and more! However, I don’t want to keep making excuses and let those reasons hold me back. Here are 10 things I do to afford travel.
Make Travel A Priority
As soon as I decided traveling was going to be a top priority in my life, making sacrifices to afford travel became much easier. I didn’t become a frugal fanatic or anything like that, but I splurged less on everyday things and more on experiences. Having nice things is great, but having experiences and memories that will last a lifetime is truly priceless.
Have A Separate Travel Savings Account
As soon as Adam and I decided we were going to plan a trip to Europe, I set up a new savings account. Every pay period I automatically draft money into my “Europe Trip” account, which is at a separate bank . For me, it’s easier to have my savings in a different bank because I cannot easily access it. It’s out of sight and out of mind. I will continue to auto-draft money each paycheck, so I can continue to save money for our next adventure.
Open a Travel Credit Card
**If you cannot pay your credit card bill in full each month, PLEASE do not get a credit card. So with that being said, travel credit card points are amazing! I have a Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card. This credit card is awesome! You get the most points per dollar compared to all the other travel cards, and the sign-up bonus is great. Last year, I was able to book my flight to Mexico FOR FREE with the sign-up bonus points. For Europe, I was able to pay for a good portion of my flight with points. Another great thing about this card is you get 1.2x points if you book through Chase. I could write much more about this card, but I’ll save it for another post. The bottom line is this card is awesome and you can easily rack up a ton of points with everyday purchases to pay for a flight or hotel.
Most of my friends and coworkers in the city do not have cable! It’s such a time-sucker and waste of money. I used to be a huge TV junkie, but once I moved to Seattle I cut cable. The transition wasn’t very hard, surprisingly. Between Netflix, Hulu, online streaming, and a basic antenna, most of the channels are covered! We recently started using SlingTV, which is a great alternative to cable. Simply cutting cable out of your monthly bills can pay for a huge portion of your trip. And trust me, you won’t miss it when it’s gone. Let me know if you are interested in me writing a post about canceling cable and the alternatives I use.
Work Out at Home
Fitness Gyms in Seattle are so expensive! A monthly membership to a yoga or barre studio is $150-250. It’s so crazy! Plus finding parking in Seattle can be a nightmare. I work out at home and save so much money. At the beginning of the year, I bought the Insanity Max 30 Program. You can buy it here. After the cost of shakeology, the “workout” portion of the challenge pack only cost $40. I’ve used these workout DVDs for 6 months, which means I only spent ~$7/month on fitness. Another great option is Beachbody on demand. There are tons of great workouts such as insanity, p90x, turbofire, and more, and it only cost $15/month. You can try a free 30 day trial of beach body on demand by signing up here. By working out at home I’m saving at least $100/month 🙂
Stay at Hostels or Air BnBs
I know hostels sound scary, but not all of them are. Look how cute this hostel we are staying at is. It looks nicer than some of the hotel rooms we saw and had great reviews.
If you want to save a lot of money, you can stay in a “dorm” hostel with other people (~$30/night) Thankfully, there are also private rooms because I didn’t want to do that. However, we found that booking an apartment through air BnB was the same price, if not cheaper, than staying at a hostel or hotel. Plus, you get the whole apartment to yourself, have a fully stocked kitchen, and washer/dryer. When we were booking places through Air BnB, we made sure each place had over 50 reviews, and the average rating was 4.5/5 stars. You can use this link to get $35 off your first Air BnB stay.
Catch The Bus
One of the main sacrifices I’m willing to make in order to travel is catching the bus. Now that it has been almost 2 years since I’ve lived in Seattle, I’ve learned to love the bus. Most companies will give you a free bus pass. Parking spots downtown cost $200+ per month. Now that I work on the eastside, I have to cross the toll bridge every day, which costs $175 month! Plus gas! It’s ridiculous. When I catch the bus I can relax and listen to podcasts. I also save a ton of money and get home faster because the bus lane doesn’t have traffic. It’s a win-win situation 🙂
Set Airline Price Alerts
Airfare is one of priciest parts of travel. The same flight can vary by several hundred dollars, depending on the time of day and week. When I was planning our trip I came across this article on How to Book the Cheapest Flight Possible to Anywhere. The article was very helpful and by using their tips we were able to find a non-stop flights from Seattle to France for a reasonable price.
As a mentioned in my previous post, Meal Planning can save you a lot of money! You can easily save hundreds of dollars per month by meal planning and eating out less. I don’t know about you, but I would rather pack a lunch every day (vs buying lunch at work) so that I can afford travel and have fun experiences.
Stop Going To The Salon!
I’ll admit it, I colored my hair in high school / college and went to the nail salon a lot. Although it was nice to pamper myself, it was one of the first things I cut out when I started saving more money for travel. By keeping my hair natural, I don’t have to buy expensive color protecting products and I save $100-$200 every other month in touch ups. I still go to the nail salon every once in a while, but not nearly as much as I used to. I would rather paint my nails at home and put the money in my travel savings.
Hopefully, these tips help you. Travelling the world is something everyone CAN and SHOULD experiences, you just have to stop making excuses and make it a priority. 🙂