Being from a small town in west Texas, I always knew there was so much more the world had to offer. Traveling is one of my truest passions and a priority for us when planning our finances together. I started this blog to share my travels with you, but I also want to share how we balance saving for our future and seeing the world!
Make a Monthly Budget
The biggest factor in being able to travel is having the money to do it. Having a monthly budget for your normal expenses, allows you to save for not only your future, but to balance in savings for travel. Make a calendar of what upcoming trips you want to plan and set aside money each month for those trips in addition to your normal savings. This is one of the hardest things we do together.
Join Loyalty Programs
When I traveled full time for work two years ago, I was able to rack up a lot of loyalty points with hotels and airlines. The best thing about this is that your points never expire as long as you travel or stay at least once a year with those brands. You can also get great perks at hotels by being a loyalty member like free wifi, breakfast, upgrades, and member room rates that will save you money here and there.
Try to stick to a max of two brands for hotels and airlines that you really like and your points will work better for you in the long run. Once you hit different levels of status within these programs, you will get more perks, and earn bonus points on your purchases as well. My favorites are Marriott, Hilton, Delta Airlines, and American Airlines.
Get a Travel Credit Card
The biggest key to this though is treating your credit card like a debit card. Never let yourself go into debt on a credit card because the interest will eat you alive and you’ll pay more for it in the long run. We have one credit card that we use for all of our expenses that earns us points to use towards travel. This usually earns us two round trip tickets about every 9 months. You can also sign up for an airline or hotel brand credit card that will give you a sign up bonus of miles or points. Check out nerdwallet.com to get an idea of what travel card is right for you.
Watch for Airline Deals
Flight prices can fluctuate on a daily basis and this is likely your biggest expense unless you’re going on a week long vacation somewhere. A few months before a trip, I start looking at flights on Kayak.com to compare different airlines. We are lucky enough to live near two airports so I also compare which starting point is cheaper. If you’re looking way in advance, check out Skyscanner.com that has a tool that will allow you to search flights at their cheapest time of year. Southwest also does sales often from their hub cities if you live near one of those.
Stop Mindlessly Wasting Money
I talked about this in a previous post not just for travel purposes, but for your finances in general. You should be intentional with your money, and the social media era of #treatyoself is setting so many people up for failure and overspending. Things like getting your nails done and a daily cup of Starbucks can really add up over time.
Travel In Groups
You can save a lot of money by renting an Airbnb or VRBO with a group instead of staying in a hotel. Traveling together can also allow you to split things like gas if you’re driving to your destination. We have found that we typically bring things like our own alcohol and snacks when with a group and end up spending less out on drinks and appetizers. Plus traveling with friends is so fun!!
Budget Your Trip
Not only is it important to budget for future travels as mentioned above, but you should also set a budget for your actual trip too. Say you’ve budgeted a total of $800 for a weekend trip for your and your spouse, put pen to paper on what that $800 is going to be made up of and it will help keep you on track during your trip. Example: $300 on hotel, $50 gas, $300 on food & drink, and $150 on activities.
Do Your Research on the Area
When planning your trip, research the area on what you want to do. Try to work in a few free things if you can and look at restaurant menus before you go. One of my favorite things about traveling is trying local restaurants, but I always go for somewhere that’s highly recommended and won’t break the bank. Planning things that are within walking distance or have free parking will save you on Uber fares or cab rides.
I hope you found these tips helpful and that you will be inspired to take that vacation you’ve been saving for. Being able to travel and learn about a new place is such a wonderful opportunity and you should absolutely go as much as you can in your 20’s and at every age! Thanks so much for reading the post, don’t forget to share to Pinterest if you liked it!
Here are some of my favorite trips we’ve taken in my 20’s:
- Placencia, Belize
- New York City
- Playa del Carmen, Mexico
- Charleston, South Carolina
- Park City, Utah