Updated: Dec 25, 2019
My mantra “Travel by Deals Not by Destinations.”
The majority of us have several destinations in mind, but sometimes those destinations aren’t within our financial means. But until then….travel within your means. Not being able to travel to your dream destination, shouldn’t place a pause on traveling. Instead go for the deal.
When I travel, I usually have no clue where to. Most of my travels are based on deals. My bucket list includes EVERYWHERE.
There was a time when I was dead set on certain destinations, but as time flew pass, so did my life of travel. I created this box of destinations, and was not opened to others.
Then I switched my thinking. “It’s About the Deal.”
Focusing on the deal and not the destination gave me the opportunity to book round trip airfare to places such as…
Reykjavik, Iceland $300 vs $1000
Toronto, Canada $200 vs $500
New York City, New York $80 vs $300
Phoenix, Arizona $68 vs $275
Havana, Cuba $300 vs $700
Airfare & Accommodations
The most costly expenses of traveling is airfare and accommodations. These two will suck your pockets bone dry, if you let them.
If you can find a plane ticket to New York for $80 round trip why would you want to pay $300 round trip?
Same as traveling to Paris, France $300 round trip vs $1500 or traveling to Nairobi, Kenya $500 round trip vs $2000. Now let me let you in on the gospel. You can book these deals without travel miles.
Hotel $250 per night for 5 nights, plus taxes, and fees, and then some other hidden fee the hotel popped on you at check-in. It probably wasn’t hidden, but the small print can get you. Oh yeah, and the incidentals hold on your bank/credit card.
Yes the hotel is gorgeous, top notch service and impeccable amenities, very prestige, but you’re stuck in it. Why? All of your money went towards accommodations.
It looks as if you will be enjoying the city from your hotel window. But if you switch your way of thinking as I did, you will be able to travel more and for less.
Tips on Traveling Budget Savvy
Airfare - Join travel deal sites such as Secret Flying, Airfare Spot, Travel Pirates, Thrifty Traveler, The Flight Deal, Gate 1, Travel Zoo etc.…who boast daily airfare deals and travel packages. Do not forget to follow them on social media. Set airfare price alerts and price your airfare through sites such as Hopper (app), Google Flights, Momondo, and Skycanner, especially if you can’t be flexible with your dates.
Accommodations - If a hotel is $75 a night or an Airbnb is $25 a night and its clean, safe, comfortable, and convenient, then book. There is no need to dump all of your money into accommodations if all you do is sleep, shower, and change your clothes. Might as well put that money towards other activities or a future trip.
Research - This is key to any trip. Do your research. Include estimated costs of airfare, modes of transportation, food, accommodations, activities, visas if any, etc.… This is hilarious, but true. Arriving at certain airports during rush hour can be costly. I found this out arriving in Toronto Pearson International Airport during rush hour. A taxi/uber would’ve cost me and my travel buddy $80 one-way to our accommodations. Instead, we improvised, took the rail from the airport to union station, $10 one-way each and we split a $15 taxi from union station to our accommodations. We ended up paying $17.50 each instead of $40 each.
Flexibility - Travel during non-peak season. Less tourist, and hotels and activities prices drop. September is a wonderful month to travel almost anywhere. Why? All of the above and the weather is still nice. Also add flying to and from your destination during non-peak days…Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays can yield cheaper prices was well.
Destinations - Go where your money goes far. I traveled like a Queen through Thailand vs Iceland. Research destinations. There are so many blog post and articles about countries where your money goes far. Pinterest!!!
Budget - Create a daily spending budget based off your research. One thing I suggest, download a currency converter app to your smart phone when abroad. You need to know what you are spending in US currency vs the country’s currency.
FREE & Discounts - Check for FREE and discounted days at museums and FREE walking tours (tip your guide). Don’t forget to check the airport info area for FREE magazines, guides and pamphlets which are chalked with coupons. If there is a tourism center, stop by there as well, especially on a road trip. Tourism centers provide FREE information to tourist. Don’t forget to check Groupon as well. Groupon extends beyond the US.
Apps - Download useful apps for…happy hours, restaurants, maps, coupons, currency converter, hotels, translator, etc.….yes, a lot of them are FREE.
Top 3 - I understand the urgency in wanting to do everything in a short period of time at a particular destination, because you do not know when you will return. However, do not exhaust yourself and your funds trying to do everything. Choose 5 activities and rank them from most important to least important. Conquer your top 3 (if within budget) then go from there.
Race - Travel is not a race. Do not try to keep up with these Travel Joneses. People who boast traveling to 8+ destinations a year. They may got it like that. That’s awesome, but do not dare if your budget does not permit. I sit down plenty. My goal is 4 destinations a year, but sometimes I may only hit 3, but this all depends on my financial goals. I still have to feed my family and run a home. As most do, but our finances are different. You want to be able travel year after year. But if you have to make payment arrangements on your bills, and you’re behind on other bills, then traveling to 8+ destinations a year isn’t within your financial means. Sit Down!!!
Most of all, traveling budget savvy isn’t about penny pinching. It’s about making travel a reality, but within in reason of your financial means.