Hey everyone, I’m currently in full honeymoon travel planning mode. Only 117 days to go! Sometimes when I mention traveling, especially to Europe, I get comments like, “I can’t afford to travel abroad!” or “Wow you’re so lucky!” Well I’m here to tell you that you too, can afford to travel abroad. I don’t consider myself lucky that I can afford to travel; it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, so I made a plan and saved. It’s not as hard as you think. Here are my tips for how you can afford to travel abroad:
Save Money and set a budget plan for your trip
This tip might seem obvious, but when you start planning, it might seem daunting to have to save up that much money. But cutting out extra things can help a lot. Instead of drinking that fancy frappuccino, make yourself a coffee at home. Use a money tracking app to help narrow down unnecessary spending and set up a savings goal just for travel.
Pro Tip: get a travel rewards credit card. You can earn points on all of your spending, that you can redeem for travel credit. Just make sure to pay everything off right away. The travel card I use doesn’t have any foreign transaction fees. So I take it on all my adventures and keep earning those travel discounts!
Have flexible travel dates
Be open to traveling off peak season. This doesn’t necessarily mean traveling in the dead of winter to northern Europe. But say if you go in September instead of June, you’re more likely to get something affordable. Check with your destination to see what peak travel season is, then try to go right before or after that. Flights during the week (Tuesday through Thursday) are usually cheaper than weekend flights.
Speaking of flights, I like to use a combination of Google Flights and Scott’s Cheap flights.
Google flights is great. The desktop version has the most capabilities. It will give you an and idea of what flights will cost during different seasons. You can also set up alerts for specific travel days so you know when the price drops. Even when you pick your dates, you can use the calendar to see if days around your timeline are slightly cheaper.
Pro Tip: You can use the Explore Destinations map on the desktop version to see where flights are cheapest. You can find flights to destinations that you hadn’t considered before if the price is right. You can also find cheaper airfare to airports close to your desired destination.
Scott’s Cheap Flights is a free email subscription where you’ll get up to daily emails with flight deals for your preferred locations. When you sign up, you set your primary location based on region (in the US or worldwide)You’ll then get an email alert whenever there is a deal that includes your region. The best part about this email alert is that usually the deals are for large periods of time, like Summer 2018, etc. When you combine this with Google Maps, you can explore the destination to see if there are nearby airports with better pricing.
Pro tip: Sometimes daily emails can be overwhelming, so I set up an alert for myself (using IFTTT). This will alert me when Minneapolis and Paris show up in the same email. That way I know the email is worth looking into.
Stay at an AirBnb (or similar vacation rental)
Aaron and I love staying at Airbnbs whenever we travel. Mostly because it allows us to live more like how locals do and be fully immersed in the culture. As a bonus, you can usually find them cheaper than a hotel. And if you get one with a kitchen, you can cook some of your own meals which helps save on the cost as well. Plus, there are a lot of really cool airbnbs around that are affordable.
Be open to using public transportation
The public transportation in Europe easier and more reliable to use compared to the US. It can be a challenge to figure out each ticketing system and understanding the maps. If you plan ahead and review the maps in advance, you’ll be able to pick it up quickly once you arrive. Many cities even offer discounted weekly passes for their transit.
Look for free/cheap things in your destination
Of course there will be some things worth paying for (the Eiffel tower, am I right?) but there’s also a lot of fun to be had with buying a €4 bottle of wine and watching the sunset in a park. Even just people watching can be fun and interesting while traveling abroad. If you research some affordable ideas for yourself ahead of time, you’ll be able to save more money on things like souvenirs.
Pro tip: most museums in London are free! Also keep an eye out for free/discounted days at popular tourist spots
Hopefully these tips will help you save up for your next adventure. Do you have any of your own tips to afford to travel abroad? Share in the comments below!