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A lot of people ask regular travelers like myself “How do you have money to travel so much”. “How can you afford to travel often” etc. Truth is – travelling isn’t really that expensive if you’re willing to give away certain luxuries.
For me, yes it’s awesome to have the latest smartphone upgrade every year or be wearing a rolex. I’d keep it 100 and say I’d happily take one as a Christmas gift. Who wouldn’t? 😛
But when it comes to my lifestyle they are what they are – just luxuries. They aren’t normally what shapes my travel experience in the first place.
You also need to know the right time of the year to go on trips, the more affordable and inexpensive destinations and the dates in which you’re departing and returning. Serial travellers, namely backpackers, can find themselves visiting between 15-20 countries in a year.
I imagine this post is probably done to death by other travel bloggers. It’s my turn now! So I’m going to relate this to my current lifestyle and habits and give you handy tips that have worked. Hopefully this can give you effective travel ideas for the new year ahead of us!
Budgeting is the cornerstone to saving money and being able to travel at the same time. Designerwear? Not buying it. Daily lunches and snacks on the go whilst at work? That’s cut to once a week. Yearly phone Upgrade? I’m waiting two years instead. All these little changes to your habits all add up!
I try and see where I can cutback on things I’m spending a lot on. For example I stopped my gym membership several months ago and instead started exercising outdoors. I’ve rejoined now because I couldn’t stay that long without gym in my life. However the point is – net £20-£30 gained monthly that can easily get you a return flight to a European destination that’s the right place and right time.
Knowing I go travelling on average once every 2-3 months, the months leading up to my getaway is used to save up money for my upcoming trip. I know what days I get paid each month and I put half of what I earned into my travel savings account and use that money solely for trips.
I also have a 2nd job on Saturday mornings, an extra income stream is very handy also if you’re not for one relying solely on your 9-5 job.
Free Activities When Abroad
In life it’s normaly the things that are for free that we take for granted. If you’re willing to explore the world on a set budget then your choice of activities are going to be key!
Attractions and activities that I know would cost a lot such as national/city castles, hop on hop off buses, I cutback or try to limit as much as I can.
There are often walking tours that are free in a lot of cities (e.g. Dublin and Belfast) and towns in Europe, along with museums and galleries and public parks and outdoor attractions so I take a preference to them.
Even when I’m back in London I’m always researching for meetups, club nights and networking events that are on the cheap and just as enjoyable.
All in all you’re still taking in the history and culture of the place you’re visiting, observe some beautiful scenery. For the women especially, you’re still geting the perks of getting high-quality pics for the gram!
Airbnb/Hostels over hotels
In the middle of arranging my travel plans and whilst away I’m always looking for alternatives I can take up to save more money. It doesn’t stop as soon as I arrive at my destinations. One of the ways I do this is by opting for Airbnb homes or hostels instead of hotels, which tend to be quite expensive.
Staying in an Airbnb or hostel is a more rewarding interpersonal experience. It’s an opportunity get to meet new people in the comforts of a home and expand your connections from different parts of the world instead of being alone in your hotel room scrolling on your smartphone. Plus you can get the kind of home comforts you’d normally get in a well-faciliated hotel. Some accommodation packages even have free breakfast options included.
Weekend breaks over luxury holidays
Weekend breaks for me mean fewer nights, if not just one night, spend in accommodations, less time in general to spend money on things but also enough time to get to know the city. It also means that I take less annual leaves, which I can save up for other special occasions I may need to book days off from.
In theory you wouldn’t just be saving but you’d also be gaining in terms of the amount of travelling you can do if you used the free time you have on the weekends. This is assuming that most people reading this don’t work weekends.
It’s very useful and effective to do these weekend breaks in European cities due to the journey times being shorter than international flights. Plus since European travel is so convenient and cheap within Europe you can always find yourself exploring. I had planned to visit Trier in Southern Germany when I was going to Luxembourg but my trip to Luxembourg fell through due to my flights being cancelled
Book In Advance
My final tip is going to be another staple of travel saving that and it’s making advance bookings. The earlier you book flight, accommodations and whatever else is on your itinerary the cheaper they are and the cheaper your whole trip will end up being. Simples!
If you’re travelling as part of a group this is more difficult to do. Your friends or family may not be as prompt arranging their plans as you are and vice versa. Hence why it’s ideal that you have the right travel buddy on your side.
For accommodation I like to book a month prior to my trip at the very latest. If I’m booking accommodation with Booking.com and there’s the option to pay at the property I take it. This means I have more time to put away the money needed for accommodation costs. In addition to this, my flights are often booked two to three months ahead.
Special mentions: Flash and seasonal sales are your best friend. Keep an eye out for travel deals on airline websites. Also ask for travel related gifts such as flight discount vouchers for Birthday and Christmas.
Those are my personal ways of managing my expenses but also enjoying the privilege of travelling on a regular basis. The key skills for me when executing these saving tips is researching, initiative and management. Some people prefer to get an all-inclusive package at a 5* star hotel and go business class for their flights just once or twice a year. That’s okay too! But for the aspiring, all-conquering serial wanderluster this is the guide for you!
For the cynics out there, sorry! There’s no sugar daddy or mummy involved. I don’t do fraud or drug dealing or any other criminal activity.
I hope you’ve all enjoyed the read! Do you have any other tips to save? Leave them in the comments below. Give the post a like or share on your socials (buttons are just above the comments box).
Johnny | Johnny’s Traventures