I’ve gotten a few questions about how and why Drew and I travel so often. First of all, we love traveling. The more we travel, the more places we fall in love with and call home. Second of all, it’s nice to get out of your routine and shake things up a little bit. Get a change of scenery and get your creative juices flowing (ew, but still). Get inspired. And finally, sometimes your brain needs a break. Put down your phone, don’t check your email, and live like it’s the olden days for a while. Disconnecting is good for the soul.
Most recently we traveled to Jamaica and stayed at an all-inclusive resort for 5 days. We paid almost nothing out-of-pocket. It was one of the best trips we’ve ever taken. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, we’re always ballin’ on a budget. I’m lucky that Drew does a lot of our travel planning but I’ve learned so much from him on how to take advantage
- Find a good credit card. If you like to travel, finding the right credit card is the first step. Just like anything, look at the goals you want to accomplish and find the best tools to get you there. For example, if you like to fly on a certain airline, look into their credit card, and compare with others for sign-on bonuses, benefits, points, etc. You’re already spending money on food, gas, etc., anyways, so find the right credit card and make it worth it. Soon your flights and hotel rooms won’t be in dollars, but points!
- Track deals. I know this one seems like a “DUH” but you would be surprised by how many people ask HOW we find such cheap flights. Drew tracks flights ALL the time. We have certain destinations that we watch and you would be surprised how many flights pop up at random times for almost nothing. Tracking flights isn’t your thing? Get someone else to do it for you. Sign up for an email like Scott’s Cheap Flights or follow The Flight Deal on Twitter and get good deals without any work.
- Be FLEXIBLE. If you’re trying to travel at peak times, there’s no amount of planning that’s going to get you a good deal. Be willing to take the red-eye flights or travel at off-season times. We got up at 3:45am to catch our flight to Jamaica, but then we had a full day when we got there!
- Pack smart. Pretty much every airline charges something for luggage now. If you can pack everything in a carry-on, do it! Don’t fall for the convenience of bringing everything you own in a checked bag. If you’re going on a longer trip, bring ONE checked bag and split it with your travel buddy. Wear your bulky things like jackets, sneakers, etc., on the plane. If you’re going to a nice resort/hotel, don’t pack a bunch of toiletries you know you can get there.
- Plan day trips or stay with family/friends! Take the whole packing nonsense out of the equation and plan a day trip. Then you can go and do something fun but also get to sleep in your own bed at night. Or plan trips where you can stay with family and friends. As a bonus, if you’re lucky and you have good friends, you might even get free coffee in the mornings. If not, maybe find new friends.
- Travel with a group! Nothing cuts the cost of an Airbnb or VRBO down like staying with a bunch of your friends. If you travel together, this also helps with the cost of gas if you drive, and/or snacks. For example, we split a beach house with a group of friends this summer and we all signed up for one night of cooking, and also divided up other things like coffee, drinks, snacks, etc.
- Research budget-friendly/free ideas before you go. Find a free museum or a local festival and add that into your plans. Unless it’s a must-see place, find a free alternative. When we went to Nashville, a lot of the museums and country music halls required tickets, but hopping in and out of honky tonks on Broadway, Music City Walk of Fame park and window shopping in The Gulch were all free! We even stumbled upon a local craft festival that was, you guessed it, FREE.
I know on Instagram and Facebook everything looks so romantic and spontaneous, but traveling smart takes a little bit of work and preparation. Do your research, but don’t be afraid to throw out your plans and go with the flow. Be smart: don’t fall for the expensive food at the airport and remember your headphones unless you’re prepared to drop $30 for some new ones. Download movies on Netflix and don’t splurge on an in-flight movie. Pack your own snacks and a refillable water bottle.
Drew knows more about the flights and credit cards so maybe I can convince him to hop on here and do a guest post sometime! Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. We’re all ballin’ on a budget together, fam.
I think the next big trip on our calendar is heading out West… where are you headed next? Let me know in the comments below!