I have been asked before how I manage to squeeze so many trips in each year, considering I have a full time job which isn’t actually being a travel blogger, and isn’t actually in the travel industry AT ALL for that matter! The fact is, I love to travel and I have made a point to make it a priority in my life. I don’t get paid to stay at hotels or fly around the world and share my experiences- I do it for fun- so any vacation I take is up to me to foot the bill. Over time I have become very good at finding the best deals making it a bit easier to to jetset a few times a year.
Here are a few tips I can give any aspiring traveler, who is willing to make seeing the world a priority in their life!
Create your own personal bucket list
Take a few minutes to look at a globe and jot down any place that interests you. Be specific with your list. (example: “Visit the pyramids in Egypt” or “Go Vineyard hopping in Napa Valley.”) With your own personal bucket list, you can strategically plan when you think each item on your list might fit well in your life. Maybe 3 of the countries you want to see in Europe are easy to get to from each other, you can plan to see them all at once. Maybe you want to save something extravagant like the Maldives for your honeymoon. You might want to do any of your crazier adventures, like backpacking through Asia when you are able to take off for a month or two from work. As you get older, your way of traveling might change. Maybe staying at cheaper hotels or hostels will be okay when you are younger, and you will prefer to class it up as you get older. It is never too early or too late to start planning!
Create a travel fund
I made a point to create a separate bank account dedicated to travel, which I call my travel fund (for obvious reasons!) I put in $100 bi-weekly, so if a travel opportunity ever arises, I have money saved up and don’t need to rack up my credit card. This account is also good for spending money. If you book your hotel and airfare on your credit card, your travel account money can be used for food, transportation and shopping (or used to pay back your CC.) I get this money automatically transferred out of my account each paycheck, so I don’t really miss it now that I am used to it being taken away.
Choose a travel buddy
Of course travelling with your friends, family or significant other is much more fun than traveling alone, but it also helps cut costs! Being able to split the cost of a hotel room, a cab ride, gas money or even sharing meals will make your trips much more affordable! Plus, you always will have someone to get that insta-worthy photo of you!
Use travel websites that compare prices
I always spend countless hours researching hotels and flights before I book them, and I also monitor for a good deal before I book anything to ensure the best price! It is kind of an obsession, however I get not everyone likes doing this. Using websites like Trivago and Skyscanner will help you search for the best pricing on multiple websites, so you don’t have to do all the work! As soon as I see the price drop on the flight or hotel I have my eye on- I book! There are also key websites like YYZDEALS for any of you Torontonian’s out there looking to escape the cold! This website finds the craziest deals that depart from Toronto and gives you step by step directions on how to find the deal. The catch usually is that the dates are specific, or it is a specific airline. But if you aren’t picky- this site will get you somewhere cool for cheap!
Get a credit card that accumulates travel points
I just booked a 2.5 week trip to Asia that departs Toronto-Hong Kong and arrives back in Toronto Via Hanoi, Vietnam and the entire flight was paid for by my Avion Visa points. Mind you- I have been accumulating those babies for a while now! If you are going to own a credit card, why not get a card that gives back? You can use the points for hotels, flights or even cash back for you to pay off a flight or hotel you may have booked online! Do some research to find a CC that fits for your needs. Some cards include travel insurance, which will eliminate another cost when travelling.
Look for local adventures
Those who don’t have a lot of vacation time or extra travel money may not be able to get as many trips in each year as they might like- so why not explore your own country, or plan a weekend road trip? Where I am from, a 4 hour drive can take me to so many different cities or landscapes- and I don’t need to spend money on an expensive plane ride all the time! You can easily find a lot of cool hotels or towns to visit just by looking online at a map. Splitting accommodations and gas money with a friend can lower the costs and provide for a lot of memorable experiences!