One question I frequently get asked on Instagram when I post that Madison and I are at a new worldwide location is, “How do you afford to travel so often?” I’m going to be honest with you right now and say, “I make it a priority.”
Seeing as much of the world as I can is a priority for me, just as drinking designer coffee is for others.
In 2017, I decided that 2019 was going to be the year that I got out of my comfort zone and travel the world with Madison, the way my mom did with me. My mom had recently passed away, and I remembered all the trips we took together and wanted that same experience for my daughter as well.
While I’ve shared numerous ways on how you can afford to travel even when broke, or ways you can have a great vacation, there’s no doubt that traveling can be expensive. However, there is one thing that I won’t compromise on when I travel, and that’s accommodation. While some people are comfortable using hostels, I’m more at home in a hotel (preferably 4 or 5 stars) since I love the convenience and security hotels offer and I’m boujee.
Between airfare and hotels, plus the cost of food and excursions, I can see why people can become intimidated and may refrain from booking a ticket to a destination that they’ve always wanted to visit. But don’t let that deter you, there are lots of ways to afford that “travel life” as I like to call it. Here are the ten ways I afford to travel as much as I do.
1. I Save
Nothing in this life gets handed to you unless you come from a multi-millionaire family who just passes money around. You know, the type of family where you can borrow a small loan of a million dollars. I’m in a two-income household, meaning that both my husband and I earn an income. Not only do I get an income from the military, but my blog also makes enough for me to put aside a bit towards future travel every month. That saving goes towards flights, hotels, and sightseeing excursions that Madison and I may want to experience wherever we visit. However, it’s never too late to start saving money and there are many ways to do so.
2. Sold Items I No Longer Need/Wanted/Used
I’m of the mindset that if you haven’t touched it in over three months, then you don’t need it. I’m a bag-a-holic as my husband likes to call it, and have a closet filled with bags that I thought I wanted/needed but have actually never used. Designer bags that have been sitting in dustbags for months untouched. You can sell them on sites such as eBay, Craigslist, or your local Facebook group. You’ll not only free up space in your closet for the next purchase, but you’ll also have some extra cash for your next vacation as well.
3. Got Rid of Cable
I can guarantee that your most significant bill besides your electricity for those who run their A/C all summer and their heat all winter, is more than likely your cable bill. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching the latest TV shows as much as the next person, but I took a look at our cable bill and realized that we were paying over $100 every month to have the movie channels. We also noticed that it was the same old movies that were always on repeat. We were even paying for Netflix and Hulu, DC Universe, and had an Amazon Prime subscription, which included Amazon Videos, and had also recently subscribed to Disney+. It just made sense for us to get rid of Cable. We cut out a $100 bill, and our Hulu subscription is now being paid for by our phone company. That’s $100/month that can go towards a future trip.
4. Asked for a Better Rate with my Cell Phone Company
I’ve had the same cell phone provider for over 13 years. While they may not be the best when it comes to service, their customer service certainly makes up for it. Thank you, Sprint! One day, I looked at my cell phone bill, compared the rate I was paying to current offers on their website, and made a phone call. It turns out that being a loyal customer paid off, and my bill was reduced by almost 50%. If you’re a military service member or veteran, most telephone companies offer a military plan that offers substantial savings.
5. Canceled Unused Subcriptions
I don’t always take a look at my bank statement, but I just happened to be doing so and realized that I was paying for not only Apple Music ($10) but also Spotify Premium Family ($15), which I’ve used no more than twice. I also had a subscription to Sirius XM in my vehicle. I love music, but I stream my music using Amazon Music (included in my Amazon Prime subscription) on my Echo devices, including the Echo Auto, or via the app on my cell phone. So I went ahead and canceled my Apple, Spotify, and Sirius XM subscriptions, thus saving me some moolah.
6. I Cook and Eat at Home More Often
I was the queen of eating out, and we would either order in or go to a restaurant with the family to eat. Sure, we still have our once-a-month IHOP run for breakfast and dinner at a restaurant that we choose, but we no longer order out as much as we used to or eat out as often. With a family of six, we never had a bill under $120 whenever we ate out. Cutting back has saved us over $500 a month, and it’s also brought us closer as I get the kids to help out in the kitchen and make it an authentic family meal.
7. Got a Reward Credit Card
While you do indeed need to watch your credit card spending, as in don’t buy things you don’t need, you can put bills that you would otherwise pay with cash on a credit card and pay that balance off right away. My favorite airline is American Airlines, and 90% of my flights are booked through them, so it just made sense for me to get their branded credit card. Not only does it automatically give me an upgrade, as in priority boarding and free checked luggage, but the points allow me to book free flights as well. Another is the American Express Platinum Card, which comes with a myriad of bonuses, but beware of the $500 annual fee, which can be a lot for many.
8. Cut Back on Unnecessary Spending
Since I mentioned credit cards, I also have to talk about spending. I’m a name-brand snob, meaning that I love designer stuff. The more expensive, the better, but I realized that for me to live the life I wanted, I had to cut back on my spending. So now, when YSL, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Fendi release a new line, I think, “Where would that $2500 for that bag take me around the world?” Sure, I splurge every once in a while, but I save for that splurge as I believe in treating yourself as well, just not every day!
9. Look for Airline Fare Sales
I saved this tip for almost last because once you’ve saved enough money, you’re going to want to get a flight to a destination of your choice. I wouldn’t consider myself a last-minute traveler, but there have been times where I’ve booked a ticket at the last minute because there was a fantastic fare to travel to a particular city. I never plan in advance where I want to go. Instead, I book wherever it’s cheapest to fly to. I sign up with sites such as Going (previously known as Scotts Cheap Flights) which does the work for me in finding deals to countries that I may be interested in traveling to from my local airport.
10. Figure Out Your Priorties
Now, it truly all comes down to what you consider a priority. Is having that designer coffee every day before work, or that new designer bag once a month a priority for you? Or would you prefer to travel to somewhere new and exotic? For me, it’s travel, so for every spare dime that I receive, I save it towards a future trip after taking care of my regular expenses, of course. If you make something a priority, you will work towards making it happen.
Reinvent the way you currently think about travel. Travel doesn’t have to mean an international destination; it can be as simple as driving to a neighboring town or state. There are currently 50 states within the USA, and some are your neighbors, how many have you visited? So the next time that you start thinking that you can’t afford to travel, think about the many ways I’ve afforded to travel the world, and you can do it too!