Even as a flight attendant, taking trips can get a little expensive! Cut out the cost of flights and I still have to figure out how to pay for accommodations, excursions, food, and the possibility of shopping in a new country! Over the past couple of years I have found a few little tricks that help me put money away for these vacations!
1.Money That Doesn’t Exist!
Obviously there is no such thing as “money that doesn’t exist,” but this is what my sister and I like to call money that we set aside in a fund that we cannot see on a daily basis. When I was a server, I would come home with tips at the end of the night and take the odd amounts and round down to the nearest number. So say I made $107.89 for the night, that $7.89 would go into my vacation fund and I would let that build until I needed to go on a trip. Even if it didn’t cover the full trip, it always seemed to soften the blow of the total cost! Now that I am no longer serving, this method has changed slightly. Now I use an app called Qapital. Qapital links up with your debit card and is basically the virtual version of a piggybank! If I purchase something that is $1.32, 68¢ will be added to a separate account that I can’t see and slowly that will build up! The best part about this app is that if you want to save more, you can adjust it to round everything up to whatever amount you choose for a faster growth in your funds.
2.Credit Card Rewards
If you are spending money anyways, you might as well earn cash back for it! The best thing I have ever done was switching my bigger spending from my debit card to my credit card! I have never been carried away and spent more than I actually had, but if this is a problem for you, then skip the credit card step. However, if you have some self-control and utilize the card properly, you can earn cash back on all your purchases! You will not gain a huge chunk of change from this, but a couple hundred each year that you wouldn’t have otherwise! A few hundred dollars could be your whole food budget for your next trip!
3.Sign up for loyalty programs
All those promotional emails may get annoying on a daily basis, but let me tell you, a couple nights of free hotel stays definitely make up for it! My favorite loyalty program is my Hotels.com account where I can collect free nights after every 10 stays! I try to stay in hostels when I go to cheaper countries, but when I travel within the states, or I am with my family members, or it is a special occasion, I like to splurge and stay in a hotel instead. Every once in a while I log in and find that I have a free nights stay that I didn’t even know about! Nothing beats that! Many hotel chains and airlines have similar programs that will help you build status and help you out when it comes time to take your next vacation!
When visiting other countries, traveling by trains and buses is extremely affordable as opposed to taking flights. In South America, my friend and I spent only 3 dollars on a 3 hour bus ride! The money that we saved in travel cost, we were able to put towards scuba diving in the Galapagos Islands! If your time frame allows it, look into these alternative methods of transportation to save you a pretty penny!
Hostel stays are definitely not for everyone, but if you are down for meeting new people and getting a cheap bed for the night, check out Hostelworld.com before your next trip! Hostel stays usually run between $5-20 a night, so traveling really doesn’t need to cost you all that much! A weeks stay in a hostel will run you about the same as 1 night in a hotel! Definitely do your research on the hostels though. A room with fewer beds is always better and having an accommodation with air conditioning during summer months is a must for me! I have yet to have a poor stay in a hostel and will definitely continue to go this route!
Your food costs during your travels will rack up fast! Some countries you go and kind feast for only a few dollars, others you will pay large amounts for very small portions. I am never one for skipping meals as I go from zero to hangry real quick, but I find myself traveling much better if I pack a few protein bars to tide me over and avoid unnecessary meal costs. Another tip for this category is not going to be a fan favorite I already know, but limiting your alcoholic beverages while traveling will be such a relief on your wallet! I love myself a beer every once and a while, and a tropical drink on the beach, but when I am on vacation I am more about getting out and seeing things rather than getting drunk in a bar which I could do at home. Before you head out, think again if having a few drinks sounds like more fun than renting bikes and finding yourself on a path to a waterfall would be.
In reality, there is no cheat for working hard and strictly saving money for your travels, but follow these tips and they are bound to help you buckle down before your next vacation!