One of the BIGGEST questions I get over on my Instagram (follow me @_thepinkchickadee!) is how I can afford to travel often. Traveling has become one of my biggest passions and favorite things to do – I always have had a passion for learning more about the world around me, whether it be just down the street or across the world. Well, today, I’m going to be spilling ALLL the secrets on how I am able to travel on a regular basis!
Before I get into the meat of this blog post, I want to pre-phase by saying that travel is by all means a privilege. Not everyone is able to even go on a trip. I have seen travel to be one of the biggest blessings, opportunities, and learning experiences in my life. But, not everyone gets the opportunity to do so. Personally, I feel beyond lucky to be able to travel as much as I do, yet have the option to even be able to do so. Remember to count your blessings, including travel.
Travel, as we all know, can be COSTLY. With flights, transport when there, gas, lodging, meals, coffees, activities, and souvenir shopping, and much more, it ALL adds up. Trust me, it’s hard to factor in all of those costs when away from home even for a day. And, depending on where you go, different aspects of travel can add up even more, especially when it comes to getting into an accident, cell phone plan while/if going abroad, needing to see a health care provider in case of an emergency, and many things not even mentioned. Realistically speaking, it is HARD to factor in all of those costs.
Now, for the ways that I afford to travel often:
- Set aside some money from each paycheck in a travel fund – no MATTER how little it may be, every cent adds up over time!
- Join a rewards program with an airline of your choosing and/or Amtrak – personally, I have a United Airlines Rewards Membership and an Amtrak membership, as my most frequented cities are Philadelphia and Raleigh to see friends who live there. My favorite Washington, DC area airport – Dulles International Airport – is a United Airlines hub, so it makes it easy to get flights in and out of there at great prices. Hopefully in the new year, I can visit my cousin Sabrina in Boston and score a GREAT flight deal!
- Travel to cities where you have friends/family that live there and stay with them if you can – that way, ALL you have to pay for is getting there, meals (but probably not as many if you were to stay in a hotel!), and activities.
- Be strategic with PTO days – I usually choose to take 2 day weekend trips or 3 day weekend trips on long weekends that my company already gives us off, where I don’t need to use any PTO. I feel VERY fortunate to say that I have unlimited PTO as per my company’s policy. Yet, I like to use my PTO accordingly and strategically and within a realistic reason. At the same time, I try to take off one-two weeks to truly unplug and get away, along with a few longer weekends sprinkled in throughout the year where I actually use PTO.
- Eat a mixture of expensive dining meals and eat in as much as you can – If you stay with a friend/family member, be sure to take advantage of the free meals. The same goes for staying at a hotel that offers free breakfast (that’s something I usually look for, too!). You can ALWAYS eat affordably when traveling to, such as microwaveable items from CVS or a local grocery store or going to a local cafe or even fast food place.
- Frequently scan flight/train fares – This helps OFTEN! I booked a trip to New York City on Amtrak during Christmas time this year for ~$90 round trip (the average fare is $200+ this time of year). I booked my trip in August, but it was a GREAT deal and I got a great deal on a hotel, too. If I hadn’t randomly scanned New York City at Christmas time train fares on the fly, then I wouldn’t have booked my trip of a lifetime and of my dreams, either!
- Get a travel rewards credit card – Personally, I use the Capital One Venture credit card which gives 75,000 bonus miles if you spend $4,000 in 3 months on every day essentials, which can be reimbursed for travel along with miles earned regularly when spending!
- Pick and choose things to do – When traveling, you ALWAYS have to pick and choose where you go, what you do, eat, etc. My biggest piece of advice is to be strategic with it all. Most of the major museums in Washington, DC are free, yet most of the major museums in Paris or New York City usually aren’t. If you choose to do a rather costly activity during the day, then you may want to do something more affordable the next or eat a less pricey meal(s).
Being able to travel has been one of the greatest blessings in my life. I love being able to meet new people along the way, too. When traveling, you always have to be realistic and reasonable, no matter how frequent you do it. But, above all else, HAVE FUN!!!
XOXO – Katie <3