You'll never travel if you don't commit to your next trip long before it's time to board your flight. The notion that you have to be rich to travel is a false one, because if planning is performed properly, anyone can embark on their dream trip. I have always been a saver, so it's no surprise to the people closest to me that I use a number of quirky tactics to afford multiple annual adventures. These four foolproof, and maybe a little odd, money-saving tips are all you need to make 2017 your best travel year yet.
I Compare My Wants and Needs
Spending is second nature to so many people. We buy what we want and deal with the consequences later. However, when the consequence is that I may not be able to afford an upcoming trip, I become much more conscious of my wants and needs. I've realized that one of the best ways to save is to only purchase items that are "needs.". Every time I make a purchase, I consciously think to myself, "Do I need this? Or do I just want this really badly?" If it's a want instead of a need, I put it back and remember that I'll have more to spend in Bali, Thailand, Mexico, or wherever my next adventure may be.
I Use a Credit Card and Pay It Off
Photo credit: frankieleon
Many budget-minded people are afraid to use credit cards. They're convinced that the fees associated with monthly bills will outweigh the benefits of awards points, or that they'll lose control and magically end up with $10,000 in credit card debt. I combat these two issues by paying my credit card bill several times a week. Online banking makes it easy to log into my credit card account, pay the bill in full, and continue racking up awards points with every purchase I make. Right now, I have more than 60,000 miles available on my Capital One Venture Miles Rewards Credit Card, which equals about $600 that can be used toward my next flight ticket, car rental, or hotel stay.
I Put Dollar Bills in My Change Jar
I constantly keep a giant vacation jar in my bedroom. I tend to travel more often than it gets full, but it always provides at least an extra tank of gas for road trips or a night's hotel stay. Over the years, I've realized pennies, nickels, and dimes don't add up as quickly as I'd like. In addition to my daily pocket change, I'll toss in a few dollars, a $5 bill, or even a $20 bill if I'm feeling generous. Putting more money in the jar means less to spend in the short term, but more money in my pocket when I board the plane.
I Set a Weekly Budget, in Cash
Photo credit: 401(K) 2012
Setting a budget and sticking to it sounds like a common way to save, but it's easy to go over that budget without knowing when you swipe your credit or debit card countless times each week. That's why it's helpful for many to start budgeting with cash instead. Set your budget, take that amount out of the ATM, and use it for all of your expenses throughout the week. You'll notice this method works well when you're at your travel destination too. Credit cards aren't the preferred form of payment in many countries (due to scams and outrageous international fees), so this method of saving will get you reaquainted with carrying cash and spending it wisely too.