How We Afford to Travel
Our friends have often asked us this question, “How do you guys afford to travel so much?” The answer to this question is a bit complicated. Traveling, especially internationally, can be quite expensive if you don’t know what you are doing. To mitigate the high cost of travel, we’ve learned a few tips and tricks over the years to help us save both money and time. Those tips and tricks helped us to travel for 3 weeks in Europe for our honeymoon with an out of pocket cost of just $5,500. That included all of our flights to Europe, within Europe, and all of our hotel stays.
We are not a couple that cares too much about the luxurious aspect of traveling. Having a nice hotel suite or flying business class are great experiences and we strive for those things but we would settle for less just to experience a new place. To answer the question of how we afford to travel, we must take take a deep dive into our travel philosophy and strategies.
The Philosophy: Prioritizing Travel
First and foremost, in order to travel more you must prioritize it in your life. Prioritizing traveling is rooted deeply within our life goals and aspirations. Many people say that they want to travel more. Well, saying isn’t doing. We try to keep our home expenditures low and try to save every penny for our travels. Instead of buying a new car or dropping a ton of money on a needless purchase, we throw that money into a budget for the next big trip. If you prioritize traveling and save, you can easily afford to travel. It’s all in the mindset. If you really want it, get off your butt and take action!
The Strategies: Credit Card Reward Points and Travel Deals
Our strategies for travel is to use reward points through credit card programs and finding travel deals online. By using a combination of the two strategies, we are able to easily afford travel with minimal out of pocket expenses.
Credit Card Reward Points
Earning credit card reward points is something that all of us can do easily through our everyday spending. Choosing the right credit card and rewards program based on your spending habits is key. We recently talked about how we love the Chase credit cards and the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. The best thing about using credit card reward points programs, like Chase’s Ultimate Rewards, is that it allows us to book business and first class travel that we regularly wouldn’t be able to afford. For example, we recently used 160,000 Chase Ultimate Reward points to book use 2 one-way first class flights to New Zealand. That would have costed us $7,542 out of pocket. We only paid $68.20 for the taxes and fees!
Earning credit card reward points is simple. Knowing how to use the points to maximize your travels is the tricky part. We learned how to maximize our points by reading other travel blogs. If you’re serious about traveling, you must definitely start doing your research on credit card reward points.
Flight and Travel Deals
While we try to use credit card reward points to book travel first, sometimes our points inventory is on the low side. In those dark times, we turn to the internet to help us out. Flight deals are plentiful using travel search engines like Skyscanner and Momondo. Social media has also made it a heck of a lot easier to find great deals too. The trick to finding these deal alerts is to start following sites like The Flight Deal and Fare Deal Alerts on Twitter or Facebook. You’re going to be on social media multiple times a day anyway, might as well get some deal alerts too. We also try to post up some of those great deals that we find through our blog like our recent find of a $145 round trip flight to Havana. Having an open mind and flexibility on where to go is key for finding flight deals as the best deals of the moments may not be your most desired location.
Anyone can afford to travel if they really have their heart set on it. Traveling is not only a hobby, but also a life goal of ours. When we’re not traveling, we’re saving up reward points and money for the next big trip. Hopefully our strategies help you in your endeavors to travel more! In the words of our favorite TV travel buddy Rick Steves, “Keep on traveling!”