People come up with many excuses as to why they cannot travel – such as they just don't have the time, they can't travel with kids, they fear discrimination, and the list goes one. One of the most common challenges people have is finding the money to finance their trips. I’m not going to pretend that travel isn’t a luxury because it is, however, if you prioritize it over other things, such as buying a new purse or shoes, it becomes more accessible.
1. Draft a Savings Plan and Stick with It
Two years ago after reading an article about saving on the internet, I got into the habit of setting aside $20 a week just to see if I was disciplined enough to do it. I liked the idea of having a slush fund that I could spend as indiscriminately as I wanted without any guilt. Saving $20 a week adds up to a little over $1000 a year. Depending on your travel goals and style this could easily be enough to take a nice trip.
2. Sell Your Stuff
As a society we like to buy and accumulate stuff. If you’re like most you probably have things that you no longer wear or use that are in good condition taking up space in your home. There may even be items in your closet that still have tags on them. If you download an app like Poshmark you can easily and seamlessly sell your unwanted items online for some extra cash.
If it’s books you're looking to get rid of you can sell them on BookScouter.com or you can try a site like swap.com. Depending on where you live you can even have a yard sale and if you want to take it a step further you can even make it a neighborhood affair.
3. Get a Part-Time Job
If your 9-5 just isn't cutting it in terms of leaving you with enough left over to save for a travel budget you may want to consider getting another part-time job or stepping up your side hustle. There are the typical options like retail work and restaurant work but if you have certain skills like graphic design, copy editing etc. you can freelance in your spare time with a lot more flexibility. On a site like Fiverr you can post gigs based on your specialty and wait for the orders to roll in. You may not be able to charge a ton for your skills at first but as you work on more projects and get more reviews you can demand a higher fee.
4. Credit Card Points Game*
This is one of my favorite options but it’s only for those that already have their finances in order, have a good to excellent credit score, and actually know what a credit score is. Many credit card companies offer benefits for using their card. The benefits usually fall into two categories; either cash back or reward points. I prefer the rewards points but cash back rewards could work as well. The key here is to put all of your normal monthly expenses on the credit card and pay off the bill in full at the end of each month. This is where discipline and budgeting come into play as it can be easy to overspend if you don't know what your monthly budget should be.
At the end of the year you will have racked up a nice bounty with the credit card company that you can use towards your travel plans. The option only works if you pay off the bill on time each month otherwise you end up racking up additional fees which defeats the purpose of saving money.
*use at your own risk
5. Build a Relationship with a Trusted Travel Consultant
Most people think all of the best deals are found online and sometimes this is true but the majority of the time this isn’t the case. Most travel consultants have access to exclusive offers that you wouldn’t be aware of if you didn’t work with one. Another benefit to building a relationship with a travel consultant is that he/she can learn about your travel style and preferences and keep you up to date on any offers that might suit your interests.