So you want to travel around the world…but you aren’t rolling in the dough.
Good news: you can definitely travel.
Not so great news: it’s going to take sacrifice, budgeting, and saying no to yourself. But it’s definitely doable.
Below are 21 ways you can travel, even if funds are tight:
Every week, we spend money on luxuries. Things that make us feel good, but aren’t necessary to live. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Eyebrows, nails, hair, shoes, clothes, purses, lattes, lunch at work, weekend pizza, alcohol, etc.
For example, I like to get my hair done every two weeks. Every two weeks I spend $45 (and I am not including the times I get relaxers).
$90 per month is the amount it cost for me to get my hair done. If I multiply that by 12 (12 months in a year), that’s $1,080 a year for hair.
That $1,080 could go towards a weeklong trip to the Bahamas, Ireland, Puerto Rico, you name it.
So, if I’m being honest, putting money away every day is a bit tedious. Every week is less tedious.
The money you aren’t spending on the one luxury (or multiple luxuries, if you’re determined), can go into a separate bank account designated for vacations. But, in order for this to work, you have to be consistent.
Even if you decide not to cut out a luxury, if you can find $25 each week to put away, you will have $1,200 to go on vacation at the end of the year. That $1,200 is definitely enough to go somewhere really nice.
If you don’t think you’re disciplined enough to put money away every week, have your bank account set up to take out a certain amount every time you get paid. This amount will go directly into your vacation account. The good thing about this is you won’t even see the money move over to the next account. The key is not to touch your vacation account once you see the money rolling in.
Whenever I go to different cities, I always find locals who haven’t done all the touristy things in their own cities. I’m like, oh, have you been to the [insert name of the museum]? After a slightly awkward pause, they usually respond with, oh no, I’ve lived here for 45 years and still haven’t made it down over there.”
And I’m not exempt either…I’m from the Baltimore area and I still haven’t visited all the major attractions.
Even if you’ve done every possible thing there is to do in your hometown, there may be cool activities and sights an hour or two away from you. Day trips can be great ways to feel refreshed, even on a tight budget.
If you want to venture out a bit further, consider a weekend getaway. To save money, load up the car after work on a Friday, and spend Saturday and Sunday somewhere new. To save money on lodging, check out these alternative places to hotel rooms. The U.S. is so rich and diverse with its people, landscapes, and food.
I love solo travel because you get to do what you want, when you want. However, traveling alone can sometimes be costly. When you have at least one other friend to travel with, you can split the cost of hotel rooms and transportation.
The prices are usually higher in tourist places. When planning your next vacation, consider “off the beaten track” locations. Find out where the locals hangout because the costs are generally lower.
The money that you get from your refund check could be used towards a vacation. Or, you could take the money and pay your bills in advance.
Sometimes, you just have to get extra cash. Working overtime at work is one way. If that’s not possible, side hustles might be of interest. In addition to working a traditional part-time job, let your talents make money for you. If you like to teach, develop an e-course. If you like animals, try dog-walking or pet sitting. If you like driving, try your hand at driving for a ride-sharing company.
If you have things piling up, collecting dust, you can sell them and use the money for your next getaway. Have a yard sale route or sell your items online.
During the off-season, not only are there fewer people in the way of you taking selfies, but hotels usually reduce their prices. Plane tickets may also be cheaper than during peak periods.
You can get extreme discounts on hotels, cruise ships, and plane tickets by working in the tourism industry. For example, if you work in a hotel, you can get deep discounts on hotel rooms. If you are a flight attendant, you may be able to receive discounts for certain family members for dirt-cheap.
Once you decide you want to go somewhere and where to go, plan ahead. Get a rough estimate of the cost of plane tickets, accommodation, food, transportation, and activities such as plays, museums, tours, or snorkeling. Once you have that total, you can see how many weeks, months, or years you will need to save up for the trip.
If you don’t have a set time you need to be at your destination, you might save money by being flexible with your dates. For example, it might cost $100 extra to fly on a Friday instead of a Thursday. Flexibility may work at your advantage.
Some sources say, the cheapest days for flights to depart are on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Other sources say Thursday or Saturday. To see for yourself, see what flights cost during these days on airfare search engines.
Now there’s an option to “layaway” your trip. If you type in a search engine, “making monthly payments on travel,” there are a bunch of options that appear. Personally, I have not had experience with making monthly payments on any of these sites. In fact, I’m not really a fan of making monthly payments (I prefer just save until I reach my goal).
If you see a deal too good to pass up at your destination, some hotels offer a reserve now, pay later option. You can reserve your hotel room, and save for the room payment. This option also allows you to change your mind without commitment.
Your closest airport may offer more expensive flights than other airports in your region. For example, I live in the Baltimore area. However, when I want to travel, I also look at flight prices from the D.C. area, Philadelphia, New York, and sometimes Miami. More times than not, I can stay within the D.C. area. But, sometimes I notice ticket prices are substantially cheaper in New York or Miami. If I plan to fly out of New York, I may have to plan a little bit more in advance, but sometimes that’s no more than taking a 3-hour bus ride the day before or early morning and staying with friends until my flight. You may have to be flexible and creative.
When I plan my next trip, I like to choose countries where the dollar (USD) is strong…meaning I can buy a lot for less. I like it when I can go to a country and have a three-course meal for a few dollars. Some destinations are more expensive than others.
Yes, you want to have the best possible time on your trip and look good. But buying a whole bunch of stuff for your trip will just deplete your bank account and weigh you down. Trust me, it’s not fun carrying a heavy suitcase/bookbag around with you.