I spent many years fighting the battle to travel more often.
For me, it was never enough to just fit in the occasional trip around full-time work. I eventually decided to do something about that constant desire to explore somewhere new, and so I created a flexible career that went hand in hand with exploring the world.
Travelling when you don’t have much money, or when you have a full-time job, or when you’re studying, can be tough. There are always life events that will that get in the way, but there are also changes that you can make to your current lifestyle to fit in more trips and stretch your travel funds a little further.
Here are 9 ways that you can travel more often by finding more time or more money for your future trips!
Exploring Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado
1. Live a minimalist lifestyle
Minimalism is a lifestyle that I’ve been preaching for years. This method of simplifying your life is beneficial in many ways, including saving money. Here’s a few ways that it’s helped me and Rob save some moolah that we later spent on travelling the world:
- By only purchasing the material possessions that we really need and cutting out the excess, we spend less money on buying new things.
- By living in a small apartment and being smart with cutting our electricity usage and phone bills, we spend less money on living costs.
- By taking buses and trains instead of owning a car, we save thousands of dollars (yep, thousands!) every year on transport costs.
The key to simplifying your life is to question whether each item you own and each purchase you make will make you truly happy. If you really want something and you think it will make a positive impact on your life, then go for it. But is that new pair of shoes really going to make you happy or improve your life? Probably not. Put that money towards your next trip instead.
Exploring Woodstock on a weekend trip from NYC
2. Take shorter weekend trips
One of the ways that I manage to regularly fit over 2 months of travel into each year is by taking advantage of weekends or long weekends. There have been many times that I’ve travelled somewhere new over a Saturday/Sunday and not had to take any time off work.
The trick for these weekend trips is not to venture too far from home. While Rob and I were living in NYC, we managed to visit Boston, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Rhode Island, Chicago, Montreal, and various destinations in upstate New York on weekends. For all of these trips, we only had to take a handful of leave days!
Exploring Colombia on a trip funded by travel hacking
3. Try travel hacking
Travel hacking is a term used for building up miles/points by signing up and spending money through credit cards. It’s a complicated concept to get your head around, but it can also be a great way to travel for cheap or free.
Unfortunately for my fellow Aussies, credit cards in Australia just don’t get the same deals as the North American ones, so when Rob and I moved to New York City, we decided to finally try out travel hacking. Our experiment was a success! You can read all about how we got a trip to Colombia for only $350 via travel hacking.
4. Join loyalty programs
Loyalty programs are an easy way to make your travel funds stretch further. Travel programs that you can join include airline frequent flyer programs, hotel loyalty programs, or referral rewards programs.
I personally choose just a few loyalty programs to be a part of, and then use those programs regularly. My favourites are the Hotels.com rewards program to get 1 night of free accommodation for every 10 nights booked, the Airbnb referral program to receive credits for anyone that signs up through the referral link, and the Virgin and Delta frequent flyer programs to get discounts on flights.
Rob and I made thousands by renting out our NYC apartment while we travelled
5. Rent out your place while you’re away
Rob and I started renting out our apartment in NYC while we weren’t using it. This stretched our travel funds by over $7,500 USD (not an exaggeration!) throughout 2016 and 2017. Unfortunately it’s not allowed in our current rental agreement, but we plan to do it again when we are able to in the future.
It’s fairly straightforward to list your place online, though it does take a little effort. First, take some great photos of all the rooms in your home, and write out a detailed description of your space and the neighbourhood to go with the images. Sign up as an Airbnb host then create your listing.
Once you have a booking, figure out how you will hand over your keys (we used a local company in NYC, but you can use sites like Keycafe or hand over the keys in person), and make sure your apartment/home is spotless before you leave. Remember to lock up any valuables and leave instructions for anything that might be confusing for your guests, like how to use the TV or coffee machine.
Krakow, Poland was a cheap destination to visit
6. Visit cheap destinations
It’s a sad fact, but my home country is damn expensive to travel in. I can’t count the number of times I have gone overseas instead of travelling within Australia because of the price difference.
My travel funds will usually stretch further if I head to a destination where the Australian dollar is strong against the local currency. If you’ve ever spent time in Thailand or Bali, you’ve probably noticed that there were loads of Australians there. This is why! These are cheap destinations for us.
Some destinations that I would consider cheap are Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, or many countries in South America.
7. Work remotely
Digital nomadism – where people travel and work at the same time via a laptop and internet connection – is all the rage right now. My job as social media manager fits into this category, so sometimes I work on managing my clients’ Instagram and Pinterest accounts while I travel. It’s a great way to be able to take longer trips without having to take so much time off work.
There are many benefits to working remotely. I’m about to spend a week working remotely in Brisbane, and I’ll get to spend my weekday evenings exploring the city and my weekend doing a fun day trip out of the city. It’s a much slower and more relaxed style of travel than if you visit a destination for a few days of intense sightseeing.
Obviously this situation doesn’t work for everyone, especially those that have a job requiring customer interaction, but office jobs are usually a little more flexible. If you’re able to occasionally work from home, then you’re probably able to work remotely for short periods of time. Could you ask your boss if it would be possible to take a laptop and work remotely for a week?
Exploring Nassau in The Bahamas on a press trip that I got through blogging
8. get a travel job
There are plenty of jobs that will allow you to travel (here’s where you can find some awesome travel jobs!). Travel for work is obviously not going to feel the same as taking a trip on your own, but it can provide more opportunities for your to explore new places.
I also mentioned in last week’s post that I occasionally get free trips through travel blogging. It takes a while to get to the point where you can get free accommodation or sightseeing activities as a blogger, but when it does eventually happen, it can be a wonderful opportunity to travel more often.
9. Prioritize travel over everything else
If you really, really want to travel, then you will probably have to make some sacrifices in other parts of your life. You may have to miss your niece’s birthday party, or a friend’s wedding. It might mean you have to say no to that expensive hens party or eat out less because you’re saving hard for your trip.
My point is that if you choose travel over everything else, then your options open up. You’ll have more time for your trips and more money to spend. If travel is that important to you, then prioritize it!
Do you wish you could travel more often? Have you tried any of the above ways to fit in more trips? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!
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