I’m often asked how I’m able to travel so much. I used to ask people what they meant because I wasn’t exactly sure what advice they were looking for. After asking some questions, it boiled down to people being curious how I do it from just 2 different perspectives- TIME and MONEY.
What they were really asking was, “how do you have the time away from work to go on all these trips!?” and “how can you afford to travel as much as you do!?”.
Well, everyone’s time and money situation is different so I will tell you how I make it work and hopefully you can gather some tips that will help you travel more too.
Your average American has a normal 8-5 job with 15 vacation days a year – this is far too little but I digress… – so being thoughtful of how you spend those days is CRUCIAL. I used to be in that boat. I’m not anymore and now work and travel at the same time but I was in that prior season for a while. While I was grateful for time off, it’s not much to work with when you have a crazy desire to travel like myself. Regardless, it was my situation so the way I remedied this is by following these tips:
PLAN YOUR TRIPS
- Look at the calendar year and think about what trips you’d like to take then make a plan how you can accomplish that given your personal time constraints. Write it down. You don’t have to have it all figured out but having an idea of what you can/cannot do is great.
- Every January, I make a travel plan for the year. Yes, sometimes it gets adjusted here and there but for the most part, I stick to it.
USE YOUR HOLIDAYS
- I scheduled ALL my trips around holidays or federal days off throughout the year that I already got (Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, etc.). Even if it’s just 1 additional day off, that day is valuable, folks!
- Of course, around a holiday is the most expensive time to fly so try to fly a few days before or after said holiday. See more flight tips, HERE.
TAKE LONG WEEKEND TRIPS
- Try to fly out on a Thursday evening (that way you don’t miss any work) and return late on Sunday or Monday night. This way you take just 2 days off work yet get 3 full days elsewhere. Yes, you may be exhausted the next day but it’s worth it to me plus it makes the next week shorter!
Travel Hack – flights are usually cheaper on Thursday and Monday (rather than Fridays and Sundays) so it’s a win/win!
My husband and I have average middle-class salaries. No, we haven’t inherited anything and we don’t have trust funds. What we have is what we earn and we don’t spend more than what we make. All of that said, THE BIG SECRET for us being able to afford to travel as much as we do is quite simple really… we keep a budget! I know, I know that answer isn’t as sexy or profound as you’d like it to be but these tips are how we’ve been able to see the world and HOW YOU CAN TOO.
First, there are 2 ways to go on a vacation and choosing which way you prefer determines the rest here…
CHOOSE WHICH SCENARIO YOU WANT
Vacation Scenario 1
You’re at a beautiful place but the whole time you’re being price conscious, calculate the cost of your meals in your head to keep track, and don’t do the excursions you really want to because they’re too expensive. And when you return home you’re reluctant to look at your bank statement. Sound familiar?
Vacation Scenario 2
You’ve saved months and months for your trip. You know the exact amount of money you’ve set aside for this and have a blast spending it on this vacation. When you get back home you don’t have any vacation bills that are waiting for you, instead, you start brainstorming where to go next.
I’ve experienced both scenarios and I can’t even fully explain to you the freedom you feel when you don’t have to worry about how much that lunch or fun cocktail costs when you’ve saved up for it beforehand. You really do enjoy the trip SO much more when you can spend every dime you’ve set aside. Does it take sacrifice? Yes, but it’s worth it.
USE BUDGETING SOFTWARE!
We use the EveryDollar budgeting software. It’s super user-friendly and is what we use to save up for all our trips beforehand.
If you want to know exactly how we budget for our travel and how we integrate EveryDollar, READ THIS POST all about it.
If you have any questions, comment below. I’m happy to help!