I spent many years looking for more opportunities to travel more often. And just like every year, one of my resolutions for 2020 is traveling more often! For me, it is never enough to just fit occasional trips around full-time work.
When you are in college, there is always a lot more time for traveling, but not enough money. When you graduate college and get a job, you get a little more money to finally be able to travel, but don’t have enough vacation days. I am one of those people who constantly fights a battle to travel more, so I am ready to share my tips on how to travel the world.
Tips and Tricks to Travel More Often
If you don’t have a lot of money, have a full-time job or you’re studying, it can be very challenging. I know, something always gets in the way, but by changing your lifestyle and doing more research, you can fit in more trips and stretch your travel budget a little further.
Here are 20 tips that will help you travel more often by finding more time, opportunities and more money for your future trips!
How to Save Money To Travel More
Make Lifestyle Changes
Try to budget your income and create a designated travel budget. Budgeting your life is beneficial in many ways as it helps you save money and prioritize more for the things you care about. Here are a few ways to save some cash and spend it on traveling the world instead:
- Purchase things that you really need and spend less money on buying new things. This one honestly comes easy to me. I can justify spending $80 on a hotel without a second thought, but a decision comes hard to spend more than $20 on a piece of clothing.
- Save on your apartment or a house: cut your electricity usage and phone bills, save that money for plane tickets. If you truly want to travel, you can save money by having a smaller apartment or even sharing a house with roommates (that’s what we do).
- Take a bus instead of owning a car. I know it can be impossible if you live in a small town, but do see how you can save up on transportation. Car insurance, gas and taxes are a big part of your budget!
- Cut back on eating out. I love to cook, but making your own meals saves money and could be more nutritious and healthy than eating out. Every time you don’t go out to eat and cook, you can deposit that amount into your travel budget. Just by packing your lunch every day you can save up enough money to spend a couple of weeks traveling.
Please note: Don’t make yourself miserable by saving on every little thing. If something will make a positive impact on your life or will make you happier, please don’t refuse yourself absolutely everything. Make your choices, for me travel usually wins, so I put that money towards my next trip instead.
How to Save Money While Traveling
Join Loyalty Programs
Loyalty programs are a great way to make your travel funds stretch a little further. Travel programs that you can join include airline frequent flyer programs, hotel loyalty programs, or referral rewards programs.
It’s best to choose a few programs to join, and use those programs regularly. My favorites are the Hotels.com rewards program (you get 1 night of free accommodation every 10 nights booked), the Airbnb referral program (credits for anyone that signs up through your referral link), and Discount Den from Frontier Airlines that offers great discounts.
Read about my experience with Frontier Airlines and flying on budget airlines.
Collect Travel Miles/Points
Travel Miles can be a complicated concept to understand, but it can also be a great way to travel for cheap or free. Not only does having credit cards builds your credit score, it also can give you miles or points for your purchases. I use my credit card for all of my purchases and then use cashback on tickets or hotels every year.
Visit Cheaper Destinations
Flying to a city in the United States can be more expensive than a flight to a different country. Plus, American dollars can be a lot more value in counties with a different currency. Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, or many countries in South America are really cheap to visit and have an incredible culture and people. If you do decide to stay within United States, there are a lot more than the usual travel destinations. I wrote a list of underrated travel destinations is in the United States that I highly recommend to visit!
How to Find Travel Deals
Do Some Research
Compare prices to different countries and on different dates. Travel prices can be unpredictable and you can find a great deal just by doing some research! You can find some of the great travel resources below!
I use Booking to look for best hotel prices and if you use this link and create an account, you will get $20 Off your first booking!
Use Secret Flying
One of my top travel sites to check before planning my trip is the Secret Flying site. Every day, they publish round-trip flights they’ve found online from the United States. You can find a $300 return ticket to Europe or a $500 return to Asia. If you can have flexible travel dates, Secret Flying is a great resource to see the world!
Go on a Cruise
Cruises are a great way to travel to multiple locations while saving on transportation costs. Average 5 day cruise from Carnival takes you to 2 or 3 new destinations, includes food and boarding costs and can be as low as $50 a day per person. I have gone on a couple of cruises and was able to explore Mexico, Jamaica and Grand Cayman Island. Such amazing destinations that I never thought I would be able to visit!
Try Out Skyscanner’s Everywhere Function
I always check prices on Skyscanner before booking a trip. Their “everywhere” feature will bring up the cheapest destinations you can fly to on any dates. This is a great travel technique if you’re just wanting to explore a new place and don’t have a large travel budget. Google Flights also works in a similar way and it is really easy to use!
Book Your Flights Separate
I have done this several times and it has always helped me save a lot of money. For example, if you are looking to fly from the United States to Europe, you may find a round trip ticket for over $600 depending on where you are. If you book a round trip flight to New York City and another round trip flight from NYC to Europe, it can save you more than 50%. This is a little risky, and if your flight is late, the company will not be paying for the delay and your missed flight. That’s why you should give at least 5 or 6 hour layovers to make sure you don’t miss your next flight when you do that.
Follow Travel Companies and Deals on Twitter
Some of my favorite accounts that post travel deals on Twitter are Kayak, AirFareWatchdog, and Secret Flying.
Try Hotel Bidding
Have you ever heard about hotel bidding? Priceline.com is a great site where you can bid for any price on a hotel. You don’t know what hotel you are bidding on, but the website tells you the star rating of the hotel and the part of the city it is in. It’s a great and fun way to save up on hotel pricing.
Camping is one of the cheapest ways to travel! You can get all of the necessary camping gear and then see the most beautiful places for cheaper! read more about our recent trip to the Rocky Mountains for just $20 a night.
Rockies are just amazing! here are a few useful links you should check out:
- Camping Gear You Need for Your Trip to the Rockies
- Camping Packing Checklist
- Rocky Mountain Hiking Tips for Beginners
- Day Hike Packing List
How to Find Travel Opportunities
View Everything As An Opportunity
Weddings, work trips, visiting family may require travel but don’t always allow for much personal time. Use these opportunities to explore a new city or go out on a hike nearby Plan a walking tour of the downtown, look for new restaurants and food to try, attend another event while you are there.
Moving abroad can give you a lot of new opportunities for travel. By moving to Asia, you will be able to spend less money on travel since everything is so much cheaper! Or if you move to Europe, the flights to new countries and cities are so cheap, you can take a weekend trip to a new city every week! If you are in college, studying abroad is a great way to see the world for a long time and is affordable!
Look for Flexibility When Possible
Requesting more days off is not always possible, flexible work schedules or ability to work remotely is not for all career paths. While negotiating job offers, salaries and promotions, request an additional week of vacation or permission to work remotely a certain number of days if it is possible.
When working remotely you can spend evenings exploring the new city, it’s a relaxed style of travel. This situation doesn’t work for everyone, especially if your job requires customer interaction, but office jobs can be a little more flexible. If you’re able to work from home, then you’re probably able to work remotely sometimes.
Get a Travel-Related Job
Is traveling a passion enough for you to make a career change? A lot of jobs may require you to travel a lot, so try looking for a job with more travel opportunities.
Or, if you are not ready to change your career, you can look for volunteer opportunities to travel abroad.
How To Find the Time For Traveling
Take Short Weekend Trips
If you are limited on time, take advantage of long weekends and holiday breaks. You can even request additional days off around work holidays. There have been many times that I’ve traveled somewhere new over a Saturday/Sunday and did not have to take any time off work.
The trick is to stay close to home: there are plenty of destinations nearby within 5 hour drive or $80 flight which you can visit during a weekend. You can just leave on Friday night and be back late on Sunday!
Related: Best Weekend Trips in the United States
Prioritize Travel Over Everything Else
If you want to travel, then you will have to make changes in other parts of your life. You may have to save money, move to a smaller house or even change your career, but for me travel is always worth it! Calculate what you need to do to make your dream happen and then act on it!
Even More Ways to Travel and Stay Inspired
Subscribe to Travel Blogs
Travel blogs are great for inspiration and tips on new places to travel, saving money and traveling the world. Don’t forget to follow me on social media and check in weekly for new travel updates! Some of my favorite travel blogs are Nomadic Matt and Girl Vs. Globe.
While You are Traveling: Travel Tips
Most of these tips are things I learned over the years of traveling and living abroad: lost cards, stolen or broken phones and trying to find your way around a new city with no cell service. Travel is adventure, but some things can be avoided. Don’t make my mistakes, guys!
Be Aware of your Surroundings
Before you go, know what is acceptable and what is not in the place you are visiting. When you are on the street of a new city, keep your things nearby and don’t forget that you are new to the place. But please, don’t be terrified on everything new. There are bad and good people everywhere, so just be careful and use common sense.
Always Have Extra Cash
In case of an emergency, make sure to have some extra money in a several places. Just have a couple hundred dollars put away, in case you lose your wallet or your card stops working. Some of my favorite spots include a toiletry bag, in the inside pocket of your backpack, in an inside pocket of your jacket.
Pro-tip: Do the same thing with extra credit cards. Never travel with just one card. If your wallet is stolen, you will have an extra card you can use.
Back Everything Up
When my phone was stolen in Barcelona, having most of my important documents and photos backed up saved me. Having it connected to a google account on my computer let me block the phone, set up a “THIS PHONE WAS STOLEN” screen and being able to locate my phone. I had it back the next day. I got lucky, but make sure to keep digital and physical copies of your documents and important phone numbers ready to go in case of an emergency.
Backup your files & photos on an external hard drive as well as online with software like Google Drive.
Pack Everything You Need
Use my ultimate packing list and guide to make sure you have everything you need with you and you don’t need to get something the first night you get to your destination. It also describes everything you can and can not take with you in the carry-on on the plane.
Take Lots Of Photos
Don’t worry about looking like a “tourist”. No one cares. Great photos and fun experiences is my favorite souvenir! They are free, they’re easy to share with others, and they don’t take up space in your luggage. Just remember to get out from behind the lens and enjoy your time, too!
Learn the Language and Culture
If you are traveling to a new place just for a beach vacation or if you are going to study or work in a new country, spend some time learning basic phrases and cultural aspects of the new country. The locals will appreciate your effort and you will find it easier to look for directions or make a purchase. It is overall a good thing to do, knowing the language will take you a long way!
Do you also want to travel more often in 2019? Have you tried any of the tips above fit in more trips? What do you do to travel more?
January 2, 2019
Thank you. I love your article. It covered a lot.
January 3, 2019
All really good tips and things that we did as well to travel! It’s not impossible, just takes a bit of compromising.
January 6, 2019
Lots of great tips! I did not know about Secret Flying. I do know that frequent flyer miles are a great way to save. My parents travel a lot now that my mom is retired, and they were able to use their miles to fly my boyfriend and I home for Thanksgiving even though they only booked the flight a week in advance and it would have been very expensive otherwise. They also camp a lot and stay with friends in the places they’re traveling to in order to save money.
January 6, 2019
I love all of these tips! You were very thorough. I agree with taking as many weekend trips as possible.
January 6, 2019
Great writeup! I asked for an extra week of vacation last year in place of a raise- so worth it!
January 11, 2019
Great tips dear. Indeed, you don’t have to choose the most expensive and luxurious trip to have a good time. There are countless of amazing but cheap destinations out there. Also, yes, travel Miles/Points helps a lot.
January 31, 2019
Wow, great blog post. I need a vacation. So many places to see!
January 31, 2019
Wow, this is such a helpful and thorough blog post, I will definitely save it to look back at before my next trips! ‘ Don’t make yourself miserable by saving on every little thing.’ – I really loved this advice and I usually go by this ‘rule’ in my travels. Usually I choose one thing that I really want to splurge on, and spend less on the others. For example, when traveling in Italy, I did spend A LOT on the food, but since it is such a big part of the culture and I wanted to try it all, for me it was worth it. I spent less on museums (since there is so much amazing architecture and so many events that are free there). Maybe next time I am visiting Italy I will choose to spend my money the other way around.
Also, I LOVE your tips about weekend travels and traveling to closer/cheaper destinations. It happened to me once or twice that I dreamed about some exotic destination, but in the end ended up disappointed, since I spent so much money just for the trip itself, and then I had to spend really little money for everything else, so it did not feel like a vacation. On the other hand, going somewhere close to home gives more financial freedom and still can be great!
I hope you don’t mind my wall of text 😀 All the best in your travels!
January 31, 2019
Great tips! I live for weekend trips and little getaways. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to have a great time!
May 26, 2020
Like!! I blog frequently and I really thank you for your content. The article has truly peaked my interest.
June 4, 2020
Yes to cheaper destinations and using miles!