Travel is defined as making a journey, typically of some length or abroad. I love to travel! My travel obsession started a few years ago after stumbling across a post on Facebook about how a newlywed couple sold all of their belongings to go on an indefinite Honeymoon. I read their story and became so inspired. To me, it made complete since! I’m all for experiences over things. At the time, I was traveling here and there but I wasn’t making travel a priority. As a result, my mind set changed and what I spent my money on did too.
I get asked more times than I can count, how I travel so much. They ask me if I book my own travel. People have suggested I become a Travel Agent because I travel so frequently. Some people jokingly insist that I won the lottery or that my family sells drugs! In one retrospect its flattering but in another its just down right disrespectful. KB and I work just as hard as the next couple. The difference is that we may choose to spend our money on travel first. We make time to travel. We think outside the box. We budget travel. We save. Most importantly we follow the deals!
While some people are spending their money on the latest fashions, we’re unbothered by it all. While some woman are spending hundreds of dollars for a hairdo, I either do mines myself or get a style that will last for months at a time so that I can save in this area. KB cuts his own hair always and KJ’s hair too. I may meal plan. I may only do free things around the city. I may be sporting the same hand bag I’ve had for years. You may see us on social media with the same outfit we’ve worn the last few trips but guess what, we’re there!
My advice to those desiring to travel more is to make travel a priority. I’m seeing flights these days for $40 round trip. So if you really want to travel are you going to purchase the flight or the sneakers? When the flight is your answer every time then to me your mindset has changed and you are ready to travel by any means necessary.
As always, I want to see My Fancy Friends Be Great so I’m sharing with you what works for my family and some tips on how to accomplish your travel goals too!
17 Tips That Will Help You Travel More For Less
Check Travel Sites Everyday
In fact, check travel sites several times a day! This has been the main contributor as to how my family is able to travel so frequently. I start my day with travel blogs for breakfast. For lunch, I may have some airline site visits. For a snack, I normally scan my email for travel notifications and for dinner I stalk Facebook travel groups. I literally eat, sleep and dream travel, seriously! If you desire to travel more then you need to develop these habits too.
I have my favorite travel sites, travel blogs and airlines that I flock too. You can download travel Apps for easier navigation and even add the websites to your favorites tab on your computer to access them quicker.
Here Are a Hand Full Of My Favorites:
Travel When There Is A Deal
If you don’t take anything else away from my tips this is the most important! Just like couponing, you must purchase travel for whatever the deal is and not what you want it to be. There are exceptions to this rule. For example, you may need to travel for a wedding, funeral or another event with a set date. However, if you are just looking for a random getaway you need to be flexible with your dates and your destination.
You may want to go to Florida is March but if you can travel to the exact same place in May for a fraction of the price then you need to reconsider. Also, if you don’t have a set destination in mind but you know you want to travel in August then you must be willing to go wherever the deal is for that month. There are some great travel sites that make this easy.
Here’s A Couple:
Don’t Be Afraid To Road Trip
Hopping a flight is great but the ultimate goal here is travel! Traveling can be done by car, airplane, bus or train. Sometimes when we start travel planning KB will confess that he doesn’t feel like driving so his attitude toward road tripping is not always positive and that’s perfectly fine because road tripping is not for everyone. However, I love road tripping and is always up for assisting with the driving. So pitch to your travel mates that you are willing to help make the load lighter!
Road tripping doesn’t always mean you have to travel across the country. You can start within your own state and venture out. As you know, I live in Houston, TX. While I’ve road tripped to the major cities like Austin, Galveston, Dallas and San Antonio on many occasions, I still haven’t been to many of the other great cities that Texas has to offer. As a result, this leaves plenty of opportunity for me to travel locally.
Take a look at your state and jot down the cities you have yet to visit. Then research those cities to see what they have to offer. Finally, add them to your road trip bucket list. You can also consider the next state over. Sometimes the next state over can be closer than traveling inner state. For example, here in Texas, I’ve found that traveling to Louisiana can be closer than traveling to some cities in Texas from Houston.
- It’s cheaper
- You can see more
- No need to rent a car
- You can make more memories
Staycation’s are great! Maybe there’s a new hotel opening in your city, go check it out. Maybe there’s a new water park coming to your city, go! You can still get a vacation feel by becoming a tourist in your own city.
- Less Travel Time
- More Affordable
- Close to home for repeat visits
Create a Travel Fund
When it comes to booking travel its more affordable if you have money already set aside for when deals arise. Save your coins each day, they do add up! Twenty or Forty dollars can help with food or gas. You can also save $1 or $5 a day. Whatever you do just save something because any amount will help cut travel costs.
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Earn Extra Cash
Find a way to earn extra cash. I accomplish this by taking surveys. The extra money I make I save for travel. It may take some effort on your part but the funds do add up.
You can also take advantage of cash back offers like Ebates, Swagbucks and Ibotta (get a $10 credit with code: sxhmfw). So for making certain purchases you get a percentage of your purchase back. It can be 4% or $.75 but again it all adds up.
I earn extra income by taking surveys with:
Sign-up for Travel Alerts
If you are strict on when and where you want to go then I suggest signing up for travel alerts. They will notify you when there is a decrease in the ticket price for your requested destination and date. My favorite site to do so is TripAdvisor. Its easy to do!
- Select flights from the top tool bar
- Plug in your desired travel information and be sure to select the box that say “add price drop alert”
- Check your email daily for the deals/alerts
You need to check your email daily. If you have registered with travel sites you will get emailed travel deals and coupon codes frequently. Its important for you to get these timely in order to avoid changes in prices and coupon code expiration’s.
Register With Travel Sites
You need to register with all major airlines. You want to get those travel points when you do travel with them so that you can earn future rewards. You also need to sign up for emails from travel blogs so that you will be made aware of deals leaving from your city or other cities that’s too hard to pass up. In some cases you can even be notified of error fares.
Signing up with third party travel sites like Expedia will also produce coupon codes for a percentage off of bookings, including rental cars, cruises and vacation packages so be sure to create an account with them and other popular sites like Priceline.
Also, be sure to take advantage of free hotel chain membership programs like the IHG brand and Hilton Honors to save and earn rewards for future hotel visits.
Don’t forget cruise sites too! You will get notifications for cruise deals.
Take Advantage Of Payment Plans
To me planning my travels is so much fun! However, its easy to pass the buck to a Travel Agent. You are more likely to have payment plan options with doing so. Some travel sites like United Vacations, Apple Vacations and Delta Vacations offer payment plan options. However, I find that the vacation package prices are a little inflated compared to just purchasing out right from third party travel sites.
I used Delta Vacations to purchase my 10th Anniversary vacation to Cancun. I was able to complete it all on my own on their website and all of the payment details where laid out for me. However, I did have to pay a little more for the payment plan convenience but it was worth it.
Sites like Airfordable offer payment plans on airline tickets. The total deposit is based off your ticket total and there is interest added. This may still be worth it if you are planning months in advance and can’t afford to just pay for them in its entirety.
Cruises are another area of travel where payment plans are easy to secure. This can be done online on via a Travel Agent. They have some of the smallest down payments around. I’ve seen deposits as low as $25 per person.
My most recent payment plan trip was to London via Gate 1 Travel. They are great if you are looking for affordable international vacations. I booked it all myself online and my travels were seamless! The deposit was just $200 per person which is super affordable.
I also find that payment plans are easy to secure with travel groups. For example, I see trips in my Facebook travel groups all the time going to great places. They always offer payment plans and the best part about these trips is that the iteniary is already mapped out for you. They normally include accommodations, round-trip airport transportation, some meals, excursions and/or group activities. I do find that most times airfare is not included in the quoted price unless its a local travel group.
Also, I recently found out that Disney World offers payment plan options on their vacations which is great for families because they can be really expensive.
The one thing that to note about payment plan travel is that depending on who you book with the trip will need to be paid off 45-90 days before your trip.
Think Outside The Box
In order to travel frequently you have to get creative! You have to be willing to embrace the different ways of traveling. You may not always be able to stay in a five star hotel. You may not be able to do expensive excursions. This is all okay! Every city has some type of awesome free places to visit and there are still nice accommodations that may be a three star instead.
Maybe the next trip you want to go camping for the weekend instead of staying in an expensive hotel. Maybe you are a solo traveler or traveling duo that wants to try Couch Surfing at least once. Maybe you have nothing but time and don’t mind patronizing uberPOOL to save a few bucks by taking a joint uber where the driver picks up and drops off multiple riders going in the same direction.
The one thing I do to maximize my travel options is to consider flying from other surrounding city airports. I live in Houston but will fly out of Dallas in a heartbeat if the savings is great. I have also flown from New Orleans and Austin for savings. You can do this too if you are dead set on fulfilling your wanderlust spirit. So, the next time you are researching travel, be sure to check surrounding city airports for savings.
Will I travel 2 or 3 hours to save the same amount I will pay in gas to get there? No! But for my family of four the savings is normally hundreds of dollars difference and well worth it.
Also, don’t be afraid to bid for lower prices on Priceline or take advantage of purchasing hotels in the blind based off of limited details. My favorite site to purchase blind hotels is Hotwire. We’ve had nothing but great experiences and savings from doing so thus far.
Consider Alternative Accomodations
Instead of always staying at hotels you should also consider other options like Airbnb for example. This is a great way to save and it’s also a fun option if you are traveling as a large group to all stay under one roof. If you decide to book from the link you’ll get $40 off your first Airbnb Trip.
Have you ever heard of Couchsurfing? Take a look!
Consider All Means Of Transportation
If you want to travel and travel at the cheapest price possible you need to be flexible with your transportation options. The main thing is that you get to your travel destination. If its cheap and takes a little longer so what! When you are researching travel be sure to compare the prices of traveling via car, bus, train, or airplane.
Megabus is an affordable bus option. Sometime you can catch $1 fares if you book well in advance. I know, I’ve done It! I caught $1 fares from Houston to San Antonio for a day trip.
Traveling by train is becoming increasingly popular again these days. I’ve been seeing a lot of info on the affordability and the beautiful sites to see on cross country train travel.
Just keep an open mind and be flexible in whichever form of transportation you decide on, especially when the holidays are approaching.
Request Travel Gifts for Holidays
The first time I seen travel gifting was when I was invited to a wedding and their gift registry was travel options to help with their honeymoon. I think the idea is so cool! So why not request travel gifts for your Birthday, Mothers Day or Christmas! You can request gift cards, experiences, air line miles, excursions and just about anything else you can think of that will take an travel expense off of your plate.
The Holidays are coming up so it’s the perfect time to start asking Santa! If you already have travel scheduled for next year use your wish list to request items that you will be able to use for that trip.
Purchase Discounted Exursions
The first thing I do when I book a trip is go check Groupon and LivingSocial for activities where I’ll be vacationing. Trust me, it’s a big savings and it gives you unique ideas on things to do around the city that you may not have been aware of.
You may also want to see if your destination offers a CityPASS. My family and I was able to save tremendously by purchasing a CityPASS when we went to Tampa, Florida. We got to visit cool places like Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Tampa’s Lawry Park Zoo, The Florida Aquarium and Museum of Science & Industry and more.
The one excuse I see often in regards to why people don’t travel is because they don’t have the time off from work to do so! Well, you can always change careers! Find a way to be your own boss. Become a Freelancer. Start your own business. Become a teacher so that you will have summers and holidays off. Find a company that offers flex time so that you can have extended weekends to travel.
You can also become a Travel Agent. You will have first hand discounts ans you may get to travel for free to check out resorts and other accommodations.
You can also consider a career as a Flight Attendant or working on a cruise ship. You’re guaranteed to travel the world!
Start Your Own Travel Club
Starting your own travel club can afford you the opportunity to travel for free. For planning group travel and securing a certain number of bookings yours can be free! This is really something to consider if you want to start traveling more but don’t have the funds to do so. If you’re great at researching and planning, start now because Travel Clubs are on the rise!
You can also plan family group travel and reap these same benefits, by securing so many bookings your trip can be free.
Buy Gift Cards And Save Them
If you have trips planned this is a great way to save for when the time comes. For example, if my family has a road tripped planned then I’ll purchase gift cards for food and gas months in advance when I have free cash and just sit on them until our trip. I may receive a gift card as a thank you or for a birthday and save it for trips. I’m infamous for doing this with Starbucks gift cards. There are Starbucks everywhere so i’ll save them to grab a drink at the airport or while exploring.
If there’s a movie coming out around your travel time grab a movie theater gift card and sit on it until that time. It will give you something to do on your trip. If you are traveling with children purchase a McDonald’s gift card and sit on it. It’s an easy meal on the road.
What travel tips do you have!?!
What are you waiting for!?! GO OWN YOUR FANCY!