(Co-written with my fiancé Trevor Korpi)
When I talk about my travels, usually the first question I get asked is, how do you afford to travel? A few weeks back, I wrote this post about how I believe that “not having the money” is the biggest load of BS when it comes to making excuses not to travel. I offered a few suggestions on how I personally save to afford my travel, and many of you wanted to find out other ways you can save money! Thus, my fiancé (and my co-pilot in all of my travels) and I put together this nifty list of 25 tips to help you afford travel. You will see that this list is divided into two categories; tips on how to save money beforehand to afford travel, and tips on how to save money during your travels.
TIPS ON SAVING MONEY BEFOREHAND TO AFFORD TRAVEL
-Make a financial plan
How far out is your trip? Budget how much money you need to save and figure out how much money you need to set aside in the upcoming months. The earlier you start planning, the better. Putting aside $20 a week adds up quickly!
We cancelled our cable to afford travel. The only thing we missed about it was ESPN to get all of the NFL games! If need be, we go to a bar to watch the big game if our regular channels don’t get it.
I started donating again this year and made a promise to myself to not touch the money. A friend of mine donated plasma all throughout college, didn’t touch his money, and went backpacking in Europe upon graduation! You can make some serious dough donating! I recently went and there was a special at my center where they gave $150 for the first three donations! Score.
-Cancel the gym membership
Gym memberships can be an extra $30-50 a month! Opt out, buy some workout DVDS, and get fit inside. No excuses!
-Keep a change bucket
My fiance and I save our loose change in a large bucket and cash it in every year for our trip. Last year we had over $100 in the bucket!
-Ask for gift cards for a gas station & hotels.com for Christmas/and or birthdays
What an easy way to get money for travel! Paying for gas and hotels are no fun…so why not ask for some help for Christmas or for your birthday?
-Be more low maintenance with your beauty routine
Spending money on makeup, expensive hair products, and constantly getting your hair touched up at the salon can be extremely costly. Cut back a little and put the extra money in your travel fund.
-Limit the shopping sprees
Do you really need to spend $500 every month on clothes?
-Make your own coffee
Buying that $4 latte every morning is an expensive habit.
-Give up a bad habit
Are you drinking more than you should lately? Have you always wanted to give up smoking? Quit a bad habit and put the money you’re saving toward traveling.
-Quit going out for lunch
Going out for lunch all the time with your coworkers adds up quickly! Opt out sometimes and bring a lunch.
TIPS ON SAVING MONEY DURING TRAVELING
–Use apps such as Expedia and Trip Advisor to book trips in bulk
Chances are, you can book your hotel and flight together and the cost will be much cheaper than if you were to do it separately through the airlines and hotel itself. In addition, these companies offer rewards programs to collect points and save money.
–Book flights on Tuesdays
Theoretically, according to Fare Compare, flights are cheapest on Tuesdays at 3pm.
-Book flights at less popular boarding times
It’s not uncommon that we will book a trip that starts in the middle of the week because travel rates are cheaper during weekdays. For example, our flight will board at 11pm on a Wednesday night. It’s a hell of a lot cheaper than flying on Friday or Sunday.
-Get a credit card that has cash-back option or travel rewards
Use your credit card and use it as a debit card. Obviously, pay it off immediately so you don’t hurt your credit score. Many credit cards have options where you can score points for flights, hotels, etc. Use these to your advantage!
We have camped on two our hugest road trips, at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona and in Acadia National Park, Maine. It was a blast, and we didn’t have to spend $100+ a night!
-Use Gas Buddy to compare gas prices
Download the free app Gas buddy. It’s a great resource to check and compare what the cheapest gas prices are in your area.
-Be picky with your airports
Don’t just fly out of the nearest airport; take time to check out the prices all around you and see what your options are.
A lot of national parks have either extremely cheap or free admission, and are absolutely gorgeous. An example of this is Badlands National Park and Rocky Mountain National Park.
-Speeders: Slow down!
Calling all speeders out there! Did you know that driving over 60 MPH is majorly killing your gas tank? According to Fuel Economy, gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 50 mph. You can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 50 mph is like paying an additional $0.15 per gallon for gas. If you are going on a road trip, take it easy and lay off the gas petal. I especially know how hard this one can be because I’m a speeder myself, but I promise that lower speeds will save you money in the long run.
-Use cruise control
This will save you from speeding!
-Stay in budget motels
Seriously guys, unless you’re Donald Trump, you don’t need to stay in a 5-star hotel. I wont lie to you guys. Sometimes, we have stayed in some pretty dumpy motels at about $40 a nigh. But honestly, grow some balls. Bring a sleeping bag, put it over the bed, and call it a night. If you are out and about exploring, you probably will not be spending much time in your room anyways.
-Skip the souvenirs
I rarely ever buy expensive souvenirs from my travel stops. To me, my pictures alone are great souveneires. If I ever buy a gift, it’s a coffee mug from my current destination. The key question to ask is: Do you really need this?
-Pack lunches for the road
Food adds up quick when you’re spending money going out to eat every single meal. We like to pack healthy lunches (sandwiches, granola bars, apples, etc.) for the road or flight. Avoid those expensive airport restaurants and frequent fast food road stops. Plan ahead!
-Use fuel reward cards
Many gas stations offer rewards for gassing up! Take advantage of them!
Do you have any tips to contribute? Where is the coolest place you have ever traveled to? Leave me a comment below!
Like this post? Check out these other travel posts!
25 Road Trip Tips
The Single Excuse That’s Holding You Back From Seeing the World
10 Best Lessons Traveling Taught Me
7 Places in America to Travel To
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