blog_post_9

How Can I Afford to Travel

Have you ever wondered how people afford to travel so far and so often? If so, you are not alone. I'm passionate about traveling so I'm going to tell you how I afford to travel and provide some additional ideas so you can too. Here are my top 10 tips to get you on your way.

The two most expensive factors to travel are flight costs and accommodations so if we can reduce or eliminate those you can travel more for less.

How Can I Afford to Travel Tip #1

Work for an airline

This is my personal favorite. When we decided to move from Ohio to Montana it was important to me that our daughters still visit their grandparents a couple times each year. After a quick search, I realized one roundtrip flight back home would cost us $500-$1200 depending on the time of year and when we purchased the ticket. Multiply that by 4 and it would cost us $4000-$9600 just to visit home twice.

Since Ohio is not a dream destination for me there was no way I wanted to spend that kind of money to get there. So, when we arrived in Montana I pursued a job with an airline that flies home. Not only do we get to visit family often but with a little flexibility we also get to see the world at a fraction of the cost.

Not only do we get to visit family often but with a little flexibility we also get to see the world at a fraction of the cost.

How Can I Afford to Travel Tip #2

Work for a hotel

I have not tried this yet, but some of my co-workers are also employed part time serving at hotel events and conferences. Their employment comes with the added perk of staying at any location in the hotel chain for a nominal fee if rooms are available. This job could have you living in luxury on your next trip for a fraction of the cost.

Remember that hotels and airlines need workers for every level of education. If you have a college degree you want to put to use then why not apply somewhere with added perks? No college degree, that's fine too. Positions abound in these industries.

How Can I Afford to Travel Tip #3

Work for a tour company or cruise line

Flip through one of the travel catalogues for Backroads and you will join me in my retirement dream of working tours for them. Who wouldn't like visiting the most beautiful locations in the world, which guests pay thousands of dollars for, all while staying in shape? Sign me up. Last I checked they pay for your flights from a hub to your assignment and provide lodging while you work. There are so many tour companies that your options here are endless. I'm learning Italian now in hopes of a job assignment abroad when I apply. I just need to convince my family this is a great idea and pray my knees hold out. 

I've heard cruise line hours are crazy but that's ok because you'll have less time to spend the money you're making which means you'll have more to tour the world when you're done!

Who wouldn't like visiting the most beautiful locations in the world while staying in shape?

How Can I Afford to Travel Tip #4

Rent out your house

We rent out our home on VRBO and have enjoyed the experience. We have full flexibility over the calendar and simply block off dates we don't want to rent. When our home does rent it pays for our accommodations wherever we may want to go. If you want to pursue this be sure to research local regulations, taxes, and insurance. Airbnb is another site you could list your home on if interested.

Your home doesn't have to be in a prime location for this. It helps, but people travel all over for weddings, funerals, family reunions, etc. Take some nice photos, work on a lovely description and create a listing. VRBO has an option that doesn't charge you until your place is booked.

Your home doesn't have to be in a prime location for this. It helps, but people travel all over for weddings, funerals, family reunions, etc.

How Can I Afford to Travel Tip #5

Teach English Abroad

There are short term teaching opportunities like this one at Prague Volunteers. I really want to do this some time. They provide you with 5 nights accommodation and food during your stay. You get to interact with locals and share some of your culture through the English language. Keep an eye out for flight deals, add a few days on for sightseeing and you have a well rounded trip at a fraction of the cost. If you follow them on Facebook you can view photos of past English stay weeks.

Want to stay abroad longer? There are many destinations where a college degree is not required to get a job teaching English if it is your native language and you are older than 20. You could stay abroad and make a decent living while exploring new areas. If this interests you check out this article by John Bentley.

There are many destinations where a college degree is not required to get a job teaching English if it is your native language and you are older than 20.

How Can I Afford to Travel Tip #6

Do a house swap

This is similar to Tip #4 but with a more personal touch. Oftentimes you get to know the people better and may even end up as friends. We listed our home in Ohio on Home Exchange and were contacted by a couple whose son attended college nearby. They were interested in swapping homes to visit him and let us stay for the weekend in their downtown Chicago condo within walking distance from the Navy Pier. We had an amazing time. There are several companies that do this so list your home on one or all for better exposure.

How Can I Afford to Travel Tip #7

House Sit or Pet Sit

If inviting strangers into your home isn't for you but you don't mind being the stranger invited in why not try house sitting or pet sitting? People all over the world are willing to let you stay in their home for free if you care for their home, dog, cat, farm, and/or garden while they are away. Trusted House Sitters is one of several companies you could sign up with. You can view locations for free but there is a monthly fee once you decide to create a profile and get bookings. I haven't tried this yet but it's on my list to try soon. 

People all over the world are willing to let you stay in their home for free if you care for their home, dog, cat, farm, and/or garden while they are away.

Who could say no to this adorable dog with perpetual bedhead? I'm not at all biased...

How Can I Afford to Travel Tip #8

Travel off season and watch for last minute deals

Almost every tourist destination has a high season, low season, and shoulder season. We typically travel during the shoulder season and love it. Rates are lower and there are fewer crowds. I've had people complain to me about the crowds in Venice and Cinque Terre in Italy and I honestly don't know what they are talking about. When we went in April and May I didn't feel overwhelmed or crowded at all. Our daughters are young enough that we can pull them from school and make up the work so that's what we do. if you can't do this yet you should be able to travel during shoulder seasons some time in the next 5-10 years.Plan accordingly, I think you're going to love it. Another option is to keep an eye out for last minute deals. I like Travelzoo and the Hotel Tonight app but there are many others if you search for them.

We typically travel during the shoulder season and love it. Rates are lower and there are less crowds.

How Can I Afford to Travel Tip #9

Budget and Save

Nobody loves this one, including me. It's not fast or exciting but it works. We recently started using the Mvelopes app and absolutely love it (if it's possible to love something that holds you accountable for every penny spent). It's so easy to set up a budget and drop your spending transactions into the correct budget category. You can pay for things with credit or debit card and fund your budget via profile whenever you get paid. This app has clearly shown us that we spend more than budgeted on groceries (did we really need to buy steaks and that bottle of wine?) and incidentals like kids sports and school outings. Once you know how you are spending you can assess what you could save for travel if you stop buying x, y, or z.

It's not fast or exciting but it works.

How Can I Afford to Travel Tip #10

Become a Traveling Nurse or Fitness Instructor

I don't know a lot about these options, but I have heard them discussed. It is my understanding that traveling nurses are in high demand so if you have your nursing degree and the travel bug there should be nothing holding you back. The fitness instructor idea is very tempting and I would totally pursue it if I could actually talk while working out. I'm usually just trying to breathe. However, if you are one of those people I envy, you will find all inclusive accommodations at a fraction of the cost in some of the most beautiful places with a simple requirement of teaching a few classes a day. It is my understanding that you are still responsible for your travel, but you could always pair this with Tip #1! If you would like more information about this idea visit Fitness Travel Pro or a similar site.

How Can I Afford to Travel Tip #11

Credit Card Offers

Don't even try this until you have mastered tip #9.

I know most bloggers list this one first but I put it last for a reason. Don't even try this until you have mastered tip #9. I want you to travel without inhibition and doing this before creating a budget will leave you stranded faster and longer than you would think. I speak from personal experience. I'm very principled so I took a friend's advice to put our monthly bills on a card to rack up even more points. I'm certain the person who told me to do this is successful at it. I also now know they have a monthly budget. I did not. I paid our bills then spent what was left on extras. Using the credit card for bills did not work out this way because while I paid a lot on them each month it wasn't the same amount as the bills that went on them. I know I just made all accountants roll over in there graves, gasp! 

Doing this before creating a budget will leave you stranded faster and longer than you would think.

Long story short, I am banned from international travel for the year while I fix this mess and I do not want this to happen to you. On the bright side I have about $900 in points toward a trip abroad in 2018. Once you have a budget, taking advantage of credit card sign up offers makes great financial sense. Just read the fine print and cancel after the first year if there is a yearly fee. You also need to plan ahead because it usually takes a few months to get the card, spend the required amount, and receive your bonus points.

Once you have a budget, taking advantage of credit card sign up offers makes great financial sense.

When the time is right I highly recommend Chase Sapphire Preferred. It's the card I currently use the most and have points saved up on for next year, woohoo! The card is widely accepted here and abroad, it has no foreign transaction fees, and they recently added Airbnb and Uber as companies for point redemption. So many reasons I love them. They offer an introductory $0 annual fee for the first year. It's $95 per year after that so be sure to cancel after the first year if you no longer actively use the card and points. I posted my friends and family link below so you can get 50,000 bonus points when you sign up and spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. They also give me 10,000 bonus points if you use this link. So, if you decide it's the card for you I would be extremely thankful if you use the learn more link below when you apply. 

Earn 50,000 bonus points with Chase Sapphire Preferred.  Learn more.

I've also seen some great offers for American Express lately. Delta is one of my favorite airlines so if you prefer to fly with them you should definitely check out the American Express card. It includes the first checked bag free for the primary cardholder and the sign on points could potentially pay for your first airline ticket to your next adventure. I posted my friends and family link below but this program is not as good as Chase. It only offers 30,000 bonus points after you make $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within your first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. I also don't think American Express is as widely accepted. Still, it's a good option if you want some flier miles and requires less spending in the first 3 months than the Chase card above. If you use the link below I will receive 5,000 bonus points. So again, if you decide it's the card for you I would greatly appreciate you using the learn more link below when you apply.

Earn 30,000 bonus points with American Express Gold Delta Skymiles credit card. Learn more.

I'm certain there are many other great credit card options out there. These are just the two we use most frequently. A quick google search for travel credit card offers will bring up all of your options.

I hope these tips help you realize that travel is possible no matter your stage and financial state in life. It really comes down to passion and planning. Bon voyage! Let me know if any of these tips help you plan your next adventure.