The #1 response to my Africa photos has been “I wish I could go there.” Every person has the bucket list trip in their head but the crushing reality is that travel costs money. Africa was in my head for 12 years. It didn’t happen overnight. Sure I took other trips along the way. Saugatuck, Michigan was a more reasonable and affordable vacation while I saved for my dream trip.
Iceland happened thanks to a $200 flight (RIP to WOW Airlines). But I’m here to tell you that your bucket list trip is within your reach! It’s not complicated to create a budget if you’re motivated:
1. Make a Budget
The most important thing is to PLAN travel. Where you want to go and what you want to do. Then you can work on where to stay, what time of year to go and all of the factors that could save you money. With a little research, you can look up airfare, accommodations and activities to create an estimated cost. Now you can figure out how much you need to set aside each week in order to be able to afford your dream trip.
2. Stay Motivated
Keep your goal in mind: Print out a picture of your dream destination. Sign up for Instagram accounts that feature daily pics of your dream destination. This helps you to reconsider the next impulse purchase from Target or question whether or not you need to DoorDash nachos at midnight. Those chips are chipping away at your budget.
3. Earn Miles Every Day
Once you know your bucket-list destination and do some googling, you will know which airline takes you there. Sign up for a rewards-earning credit card and use it daily. You’ll be surprised how fast your morning coffee, weekly groceries, and even your utility bill could be getting you one step closer to free flights, hotel stays, and more. And use that miles-based rewards card on your trip to earning valuable rewards for your NEXT trip!
4. Be Flexible
If you’re willing to be a little flexible on your dates or preferred travel times, you can save yourself quite a bit on flights. Every destination has a busy tourist time – travel in the off season to save. Many hotels and car rental companies will provide better deals and deeper discounts during the week rather than on weekends. And if you’re willing to stay in a hotel outside of a big city (like Paris or London) and take public transportation into the city each day, you could cut the cost of accommodations in HALF.
5. Always Compare Flights and Hotels in Incognito Mode
Always use “incognito mode” on Google Chrome when searching for travel to keep my computer from tracking my history. If you don’t know what that is, google it. Sites like Kayak, Expedia and Priceline do not treat every search fairly. Price results are different depending on what is in your search history and who you are. Sometimes they even raise the price of the same flight every time you search for it! Incognito mode won’t let that happen.
6. Let Someone Else Plan Your Trip!Sometimes the best way to save money on travel is to plan the whole trip yourself. But DIY means more work and knowledge of the travel industry. Other times it helps to let someone else plan the trip: travel agents, tour groups and other seasoned professionals can typically save money on things like hotels, flights, and tours through their connections and volume discounts. I launched this site this year to help others take that bucket-list dream trip. I want to turn my travel knowledge into a benefit for YOU. I’ll be planning small-group trips in the future and going with you to make sure you have the best time possible without losing your shirt. I’ll plan everything for you! If you want to get an email notification when I finally start announcing destinations, click here. Let’s take an adventure together!