November 4, 2018 / Leave a Comment
After Tracy and I took our first international trip we were hooked, and the only thing we could think of was how to travel more! Sound familiar? We bet it does.
It’s for that reason that we realized we started this blog, to show people like you how to do what we’ve done, and to show you what we’ve learned as we’ve learned it. Most often, when we tell people about our trips, our work with the blog, or where we’re going next, we get asked “how can I travel as much as you guys do?”
Believe it or not, it’s easier than you might think. We don’t say that simply because, let’s face it, travel can be super expensive. It can be a really confusing landscape to find good deals, and to find ways to save money or cut corners to help you afford it.
But, let this be your guide on how to travel more often in 2019! Below is a simple list of some of the things we do, have done, and will continue to do to help us travel the world!
Bundle Your Flights and Hotels
Okay, I am shocked how many people we’ve met who pay retail for flights and hotels. It’s so easy to avoid this, and if you’re going to do nothing else, find a reputable company online who does a great job of bundling flights and hotels.
Our personal favorite, of the companies we know of, is Expedia. We have saved a ridiculous amount of money by choosing the destination we want, then choosing not to just buy the flight or hotel at once, but actually using one of these aggregators to bundle the trip. You’ll find awesome deals, discounts on hotels, and overall you’ll save 20-30% on the average cost of your trip by booking through a site like Expedia, or even Travelocity (our 2nd favorite option, and one we use to compare to what we find on Expedia).
Remember, saving 20-30% on travel eventually means traveling 20-30% more!
Make it a Priority
A lot of people say they want to see the world, but when you ask them about what they do instead, it becomes apparent that isn’t necessarily the case. What do I mean?
We spend our money on two things – traveling and this blog. That’s basically it. We don’t go out, and we drive 10-year-old cars. You won’t find a BMW in our driveway, and as time goes we find ourselves constantly in review of what we can scale back on to afford more travel.
Think about it – instead of payment $300 per month for a car payment, hang on to the one you just paid off. It’s like giving yourself a $3,600 per year raise, which we assure you is more than enough for one heck of a trip for two people!
Maybe you’ve been out of the country, and you’re just looking for a way to see more of the world – however, we’ve found that a lot of people assume that traveling has to mean exploring halfway across the world.
Now, don’t get me wrong, we love it – but traveling in your own backyard can sometimes be just as rewarding. Living in Fort Lauderdale, we feel like we’re going to Barcelona any time we make the hour long train ride to Miami. We make a weekend of it, find a reasonably priced hotel, and have a great time.
Seriously, some of our favorite places in the world are within a three or four hour drive from here. If you start exploring your own backyard first, you’ll be traveling more, spending less money, and really gaining inspiration for the big trips you eventually want to take.
Get a Side Gig and Make Extra Money
Look, there are a million things you can do for a few extra bucks. If you can even just make $30 per week doing something you find somewhat enjoyable, you’ll be making over $1,500 per year you didn’t previously have.
You can do something as simple and easy as answering surveys, which can pay up to $50 per survey through companies like SwagBucks – one of the more reputable online marketing companies that pays people to answer questions about how they buy.
Love pets? Have extra time? When we travel out of the country we have one person we call every single time to watch our pets. She’s awesome, and it’s her full-time job. How cool is that? For a week, pet-sitters can make $100-200 without boarding pets, and simply visiting the person’s home for maybe a half hour or so per day.
Also – you’re reading a blog. Why not start your own blog? While it’s a longer-term investment, there are a lot of bloggers that have replaced their full-time incomes, and many more who are making much more than their former day jobs. We essentially travel for free through the income our blog generates. Sure it takes a while, but starting a blog is more about creating a long-term asset that will continue to increase overtime.
Other things you can do really depend on your talents. Do you like to write? Maybe you don’t want to build a blog, but you can definitely become a freelance writer and get paid anywhere from $50 to $500 per article – depending on the site and the niche.
If you’re willing to look, there are independent side hustles everywhere that will show you how to travel more in 2019!
Split Meals When You Go Out
This has become religious for us. Whenever we go out, Tracy and I have found that splitting an entree is typically more than enough for us (in addition to perhaps a small appetizer). If you eat out of the house once per week and save $15 per plate by splitting meals, that’s almost $800 per year you’ve saved just splitting meals!
This is especially something we do when we actually travel. We don’t like to sit long, and we’re watchful over our money when we’re on the road, so splitting some simple street food or a quick sandwich really is much more sensible, plus it keeps extra cash in our pockets!
We have talked about this website for over two years, and it’s with good reason. They don’t pay us, nor do we have any kind of affiliation with them – we just love the website.
Tripmasters is a website we’ve used countless times to travel. How much do we save? Well, a friend of mine and his wife just got back from Greece, where the flights and hotels for Athens and Santorini cost them about $6,000 for 7 nights. This feels standard for most, which is crazy to us considering we went to Athens, Santorini and Rome for only $2,600 for both of us. That includes flights, hotels, and transportation between destinations over 11 nights.
There are a lot of good websites that bundle multiple-city itineraries, but Tripmasters is by far our favorite – especially for Europe.
Use Big Bus Tours
When you travel to a place you haven’t been, it can get really expensive just getting around the cities. While public transportation isn’t bad in terms of metros and train lines, cabs can get crazy expensive, and with both it’s hard to know where you’re really going. In fact, cab rackets are pretty common in most large cities (in the U.S. also), so that’s something we try to avoid.
When we go into a new city, we always book one day with Big Bus Tours. This is like having your own personal cab taking you throughout the city, in more of a hop-on hop-off style, and the stops you’ll be going to are always the more notable ones you want to check out. For two people, it’s normally about $50, and often you can get two-day passes for only a few bucks more.
Not only is this cheaper than relying on cabs, it makes trip planning so easy. Pick a full day where you have nothing planned, get a Big Bus ticket, and spend the day canvasing the city!
If you can’t tell, we really don’t think it’s a good idea to pay retail for travel. AirB&B is one of the more brilliant things that has happened to travelers, as it also affords an additional income stream for people who have a place to rent.
It’s not uncommon to find an AirB&B in a city you want to visit for a minimum of 50% less than what you would pay for a hotel, plus you’ll almost always have more space!
Travel During the “Shoulder” Seasons
So, what the heck is a “shoulder season”, you ask? Well, it’s the time of year after tourism has waned in an area, but still a few months before it’s gone completely dead, and also the time of year as it starts picking back up in the early spring.
Namely, we’re talking about October and November, or the March timeframe. Flights are way cheaper, cities are less crowded, and we enjoy traveling during these times far more than we ever have in June or July.
How much can you save? Well, we’re actually paying $2,000 less for our trip to Prague, Budapest, and Nice next month than we would have if we had booked it only 2 months earlier! It’s crazy, but this is a simple trick that will help you save big time on travel.
Join Loyalty Programs
You’ve probably seen we’re pretty loyal to companies like Tripmasters, Gate 1 Travel, and Booking.com – it’s because we save a lot of money by traveling through them. Another huge added bonus to having a great program you enjoy is because of the loyalty points you receive!
In fact, we’ve managed to save enough loyalty points to pay for nights in hotels through Expedia and Hotels.com, as well as save on flights through JetBlue and American Airlines. Definitely take advantage of your travel, and save through loyalty programs!
Book Around Holidays
If you work a 9-5, book around whatever public holidays you have available to make the most of your vacation time. Here’s a true story, we’ve only been in the United States once during Thanksgiving since 2012. Why? When we started traveling and days were hard to come by, we had two days stacked that made an easy four-day weekend.
In the U.S., keep stacking your holidays around July 4th, Christmas, or whenever you feel like you can make the most of your time!
Using these basic concepts, you’ll be able to open yourself to more travel in 2019, and more enjoyment when you do travel!
Have more ideas? Feel free to leave them in the comments below!