|The Met, NYC.|
“How do you afford to travel so much?!” This is a question I get asked all the time.
No, I’m not rich. (Don’t I wish!) I don’t go into debt to afford my trips, nor do I have anyone else funding them for me. Read below for how I afford to travel consistently.
1. I prioritize travel. I budget for it and make sacrifices elsewhere in my budget which usually means less eating out, less concerts/event/movie tickets and hardly any impulse shopping. I don’t get my hair and nails done every month. Maybe a few times a year. I don’t shop at the most expensive stores for groceries or clothes. What do I do for fun then? Hiking, volunteer work, reading, urban exploration and taking advantage of free things to do locally. My side hustles also take up a lot of my free time.
2. I hustle. I have 2-3 additional side gigs on top of my 9-5 job. Pet-sitting, web design, sponsored IG posts, freelance social media clients + a small amount of revenue from book sales. All this usually adds up to an extra $1-3k a year or more which goes straight into savings.
3. I take advantage of travel deals in my inbox. Sometimes I don’t have a set destination in mind and I book what’s on sale. I also travel during off-season. Not during holidays or during the summer which is peak travel time and prices for many places.
4. Credit card hacking. I have a good credit score and pay off my cards each month. It took me a few years to research/get into this but it can be lucrative if done correctly and timed right. I jumped on a credit card offer this year, put all my bills on that card for two months and BAM got 9 nights worth of free hotels stays in points. Just for paying my bills I would’ve been paying regardless. Be sure to read the fine print on cards before you apply or open new lines of credit! I’m still researching this a lot and don’t open many cards at once because it will affect your score.
5. Lifestyle creep. It’s a thing. I’m not as frugal as I once was when I first started traveling years ago. As my salary increased, I didn’t upgrade my apartment or buy all new furniture. and most goes into savings now. I’m amazed how so many people make so much more money than me but are consistently in debt. Even though my salary isn’t amazing, I learned to live below my means and save so I can live smarter with my money and do the things I’m passionate about (like travel).
6. I couchsurf or stay at hostels! I don’t need to do this as much anymore since I can afford hotels with my salary now but in the past I really wanted to travel and I made it work on a shoestring budget. (much to my parent’s dismay about staying with strangers on Couchsurfing, LOL. For my safety tips read here. )
These are just a few of the things I do to be able to afford to travel so much. Do you implement any of these or have any general savings tips of your own? Let me know!