How to Start Traveling if You’re #BallinOnABudget
The number one question I have received is “How do you have the money to travel??”, followed by “I really want to travel, but I just don’t have the money.” First of all, if you read my Q&A blog post you know that I don’t have some crazy trust fund to sponsor my trips. All of my trips, outside of several family trips, have been completely self-funded. The two things I’ve learned in my travels that I hope you leave with understanding is that:
You can travel on any budget
Traveling on a budget IS possible
So you don’t have a crazy trust fund or a sugar daddy/mama to sponsor your vacations...guess what, most of us don’t either. And for those of you that do, well, good for you! If you’re like me, who has a job, insane school loans to pay back, and you know, well, BILLS to pay you might feel like traveling is out of the picture for you. I am here to give you hope that maybe it can be in the books for you too! Here are the first steps to making this a possibility!
1. Change the way you think about travel
While traveling can certainly be an expensive, luxurious thing, it 100% does not have to be. Most of you won’t have to live off of pb&j for two years or sell your first-born child to be able to take a trip. With all this social media craze, we may feel like we could never afford the types of vacations that people are taking, but take everything, especially social media with a grain of salt. You have no idea if their trip is sponsored by a company or what their financial situation is. You too can take bomb ass trips that fit your specific travel style and budget, you just have to be strategic. Which leads me to my next step...
2. Figure out what travel style you want
Ok so here is where a little self-reflection comes to play. Think about what aspects make you most excited about traveling and the activities that bring joy to you in your everyday life...Are you a total foodie? Museum-buff? Adrenaline-junkie? Hiker? Want to lounge at the beach with an all-inclusive? Do you like the idea of rooming with other people? Want to stay amongst a community? Or you’re like hell no, I want hotel amenities over anything else! Any and all of these traveling styles are ok, just try to pinpoint what kind of travel style you want in this stage of your life. Don’t worry you can change this at any point in your life (my traveling style has certainly changed from my backpacking days in college to now wanting a bit more space and comfort when possible).
Why does this matter? Figuring out what travel style best suits you will help you narrow down your ideal destination and accommodation, and make it more efficient and seamless when booking the logistics. For example, if you are interested in a hiking trip and enjoy the thought of sleeping with other people, you don’t need to waste your time looking at Ritz Carlton hotel rooms. And vice-versa, if you know deep down you won’t feel comfortable bunking with other people, why waste your time looking at hostels...focus on airbnbs and affordable hotel options.
3. Figure out which destinations are cheapest from your starting airport
As you may know, flight costs are unique to our starting airport, meaning, if I’m in New York City and you are in Hong Kong, we are likely going to be paying drastically different flight costs to get ourselves to Bali. If you are #BallinOnABudget, figure out what cities are cheapest for you and take advantage of that! When I was in college in Los Angeles, I realized that it would be the cheapest opportunity to get to Hawaii, because of the proximity, so I booked a trip there my sophomore year. Similarly, now that I live in NYC, I have taken advantage of the super cheap flights from here to Iceland and Europe. My round-trip flight to Iceland last year cost $270!
If you live in a remote city, it may be cheaper for you to drive an hour or two to fly out of a major hub, rather than taking an expensive flight from your small home airport. My family does this when we travel to Guadalajara, Mexico to visit our family. Even though Austin isn’t remote, the flights are significantly cheaper from San Antonio, so we drive a little over an hour to get a cheaper and direct flight into Guadalajara.
Finding the cheapest destinations from your starting airport is super easy now with Google Flights. You can simply type in your starting airport (don't put a destination airport), a range of dates you may want to travel and click on “explore destinations” map. You will then see the prices for any destination in one beautiful map. Google I love you for changing the game for me and travel!
4. Travel during low-season
After you’ve landed on a few destinations you’re interested in that are affordable from your airport, find out what the low-seasons are for these destinations. Once again, Google for the win! On the same webpage, Google Flights, you will find a feature that allows you to see the lowest priced weeks, based on your desired destination and # of days you want to travel. For example, if you want to see when the cheapest time to fly to Colombo, Sri Lanka is for a 7 day trip, you would search for the destination, selecting any 7-day date range. Click on the calendar icon on the departure date and a drop-down will appear with with several options. Click on “price graph” and below you’ll see the fluctuations of prices for each month and for each week.
Another way to find out more broadly what low/high seasons are for geographic regions is through this animated video from LastMinute.com that cycles through every month, highlighting countries in green, yellow, and red. I will admit, this isn’t the most user-friendly given that you can’t pause the video, but nonetheless a useful resource to start with.
So, if you’re #BallinOnABudget, do not fret! We can get you to your dream destination! Now that you have these tips, start doing some research on what time would be best to visit your dream destination. Stay tuned for more actionable tips on how we can get this from being a dream to a reality!
Til next time!
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