Friday Five: 5 Tips to Save Money for Travel

tips to save money for travel by popular Chicago travel blogger Visions of Vogue

Hot Pink One Piece (comes in black too) | Similar Straw Hat | Similar White Sunglasses 

Whenever we head off on a trip, I tend to get more questions that are travel focused. Hence the how to travel with your beauty products post earlier this week. But I’m bringing you two travel posts this week! Today’s tip is how to save money for travel!

Saving money is tough in general. Unless you’re some kind of genius when it comes to self control, it’s a moving target that’s hard to achieve. Don’t get discouraged! This how to same money for travel post has ways to save from multiple angles!

5 TIPS TO SAVE MONEY FOR TRAVEL

1. Automate. 

Whether you’re saving for a home or for a vacation, the only thing that has ever worked for me is automating your savings. Have a separate banking account (either checking or savings) that gets automatically transferred a certain amount monthly. Preferably a savings account that lets you transfer money back out. Pick an amount that’s doable for you even if it’s $25.

Getting in this habit will help you in the long run. As you grow in your career or go through different monetary situations, bump it up or bump it down. You can also do a one off transfer if you find you have a little extra cash one month. That’s the process that seems to work for us! This is the most obvious way to save money to travel!

Unrelated to traveling, make sure you’re contributing to your 401k if your company offers that! Otherwise do a ROTH IRA through a company like Fidelity and last resort, an IRA! Just a side note!

2. Rewards. 

Whether you’re looking for hotels or a flight, find the rewards programs that make the most sense for how you travel. We use hotels.com to book hotels because you get one night free for every 10 nights spent. If you’re overwhelmed by the thought of trying to research hotels, read this post for tips on how to select a good one through all the noise!

When it comes to flights, use Kayak or Google’s new tool to find the best dates and times. If you find that you’re loyal to one airline, look into their rewards program. The Southwest companion pass was amazing for the year we had it! Matt and I are loyal to whoever has the cheapest flight. So, we opted for the Chase Sapphire card instead. It effectively discounts all travel booked through the Chase site 20%. For more details you can read this post. And remember, this is just what works for us. Figure out what works for you!

Also try Airbnb when hotels are looking too pricey. They’re a great alternative with a more homey feel. It’s a little more challenging for international travel but usually, most hosts are incredibly welcoming.

3. Flexibility. 

When you’re in college, flexibility is tough. You can only skip so many classes. Once you’re into your career, I feel like some of the weight is lifted off your shoulders. Sure, you might also feel a little more guilty as your responsibilities at your day job increase but don’t let it. Remind yourself that you’re a better employee when you’ve had a break!

This flexibility allows you to travel on days that aren’t Fridays and Sundays too! Look for a Thursday to Monday morning flight. If you leave early enough, you can make it back into the office after a weekend trip. If you’re going for longer, do a Wednesday to Wednesday or something similar. Use the flexible date search when you’re flying or staying in a hotel to find the best rates. The extra research will be worth it!

4. Do the free stuff. 

I don’t know about you but I’m not much of a museum person. One or two is great but I can’t go museum hopping for a full day (or more). If that’s you, see if the museum is offering free entry around the time you’re looking to go. The small costs add up too!

I’m also a big fan of walking the streets, walking through gardens, and exploring parks. This is the best way to get a sense of the culture. They are usually free except for some of the major ones like the Dubai Miracle Gardens. Bring a self-made picnic to save a few bucks on lunch too!

5. Stay local. 

A getaway doesn’t always have to be via a plane. Try a staycation or a destination that’s drive-able. Especially since it’s winter, do a little snowy vacay up in the mountains. Even if you go to a small town that is a quick flight like Charleston or Tampa. Admittedly, I’m the worst at this. I have a list a mile long in my phone of places around Chicago to see and just need to make the time to do it. Maybe I should have added that to my 2018 goals!

Are you planning any trips this year? Will you try these tips to save money for travel?

Let me know what you think!