There are ways to explore exotic locales or places closer to home and not break the bank.
The Travel Bug is in our family’s DNA, so I had to learn some financial shortcuts to make this possible.
I am in a group who meets regularly to swap travel stories and tips. My sons claim it is really for travel addicts to get their travel fix.
I have been to over sixty countries and have a few tricks up my sleeve.
One major method for getting airline tickets is using my credit card through an airline. I rack up more miles by having an airline sponsored one, rather than a generic card through a bank, with miles used for various airlines.
My friends that have cash back cards do not get enough for the equivalent of free airline tickets. Usually I have enough miles for my two sons to go to another continent every year or so.
I skip the airline credit card with extra perks- such as several passes to the airport lounge – and get the one that accumulates the most miles with purchases. I put everything, and I mean everything on that card. I only get a haircut or pedicure with aestheticians who take plastic.
Any repair or tradespeople have to accept my visa, or I get someone else. I pay utilities, grocery, petrol, and school fees with my Visa.
Gov.UK charges a 1.4% fee for using a credit card to pay taxes. Even with a fee, it is still worthwhile for me to pay all of my taxes with my airline Visa card. I only charge what I can pay off in entirety each month, so do not accrue any interest charges.
My utility companies charge a nominal fee per transaction (not monthly) to use a credit card for payments. I pay ahead so only pay 3 to 4 transaction fees per year.
The big way to have money to travel is to live simply.
My sons do not have up to date electronics by choice. Cut down on costs in the home, such as keeping the thermostat low and most appliances and gadgets unplugged when not in use.
I buy classic clothes that last and have a small wardrobe specifically for travel.
It is easy to forgo new clothes when I can envision a trip to Asia with the savings.
My girlfriends like to meet for lattes instead of a meal so they can add to their travel funds as well. When extra money comes my way, it immediately goes to the travel fund.
We have a bright teal canister from Marrakesh which contains coins found on the ground and any extra cash. It is amazing how throwing in coins and five pounds here and there adds up to a holiday.
I buy basic organic groceries, but skip pricier items including fizzy drinks. I have bought new designer clothes at charity shops. Go to free or nearly free concerts and events.
Scrutinize your expenditures to see what can go. Pare down your gift list and inform these recipients (who probably have been wanting to do this too). Some friends asked me to just take them out for a latte instead of exchanging presents.
See if your professional organization has trips or conferences in far flung places. There used to be a travel agency that had trips with daily meetings for four types of professionals and nursing was one of them.
I went to Kenya, Poland, Prague, China and so many other places for a much lower price. A friend recommended another travel agency with incredibly low fares and my sons and I went to India with them.
Ask around or do an online search for travel agencies with consistently great prices. I routinely find wonderful trips that are promotions in UK women’s magazines. Two of my travel agents (now retired) found travel specials that were affordable, including one to Fiji with my mum and little boys.
See how you can cut lodging costs when traveling. My mum took me on a trip to Washington D.C and we stayed in a dorm room and ate some meals there in Georgetown University’s cafeteria.
The American travel guru Rick Steves, recommends taking a packaged tour, but opting out on some of the city excursions. The price and convenience makes it worthwhile to forgo a few paid local tours and balance the trip with some alone time away from the group.
A few people have been pleased with doing house swaps with strangers for a few weeks. Make sure to do this through a reputable company. I went to several travel talks where people recommended doing volunteer work through organizations, such as EarthWatch.
Travel companies and cruise lines that I use, send me e-mails with their special promotions and savings. My former travel agents alerted me when there were specials. When I decide to act upon one of these promotions, such as our Viking River cruise to Christmas markets, I sell something. I have more items than I require, so I take goods, often from a trip, to a consignment shop.
Today I took a lovely hand painted box from Krakow and a wooden jewellery chest from Java to one. Sometimes I have opted for a little less cash and sold items outright to a shop downtown. Metal shops will take old battered sterling silverware or broken chains and give you some pounds for them.
Do you have family china that you do not really want? Sell them and cherish the travel experience in memory of your departed relative. Be creative in slashing costs and discovering fabulous travel deals.
Wendi Schuller is a published author who has conducted classes on various subjects. She draws upon her knowledge as a nurse, Neuro-Linguistic Programmer (NLP), and hypnotherapist, providing a blueprint to guide women through this difficult transition. Schuller hired an attorney for a court divorce, but decided to go the collaborative route instead and has worked with a mediator post-divorce.
Author of The Woman’s Holistic Guide to Divorce