On a daily basis, we watch celebs, influencers, and trust fund babies travel the world on social media. There’s also a plethora of people who get to travel to cool places for work, which I would say is the most ideal. But if you don’t fall into any of those categories, that doesn’t mean giving up on your dreams of seeing the world. Here’s six tips that have helped me travel abroad throughout the year while working full-time, and without breaking the bank.
1. Pack Light
First of all, it’s not a fashion show. Well maybe it is if you’re a fashion blogger, but if not there’s no reason to pack nine outfits for four days. Ever. Checking a bag when you travel internationally usually isn’t free. Shoes also take up a lot of space in your luggage which is totally unnecessary. I usually travel to my destination wearing a pair of adidas or vans (which I’ll also explore in) and then pack one pair of flats or sandals and one pair of heels. The last thing you want to do is be in a bad mood in Italy because your feet hurt. As for clothing, invest in a four wheeled carry-on and pack your favorite staple pieces that you feel comfortable and confident wearing. Also take into consideration if you’re going to shop at all while you’re abroad. I’ve seen many sad moons where my travel buddies (and myself) left things we loved behind because it wouldn’t fit. Tragic AF.
2. Airbnb For The Win
The most lucrative way to save money while traveling abroad (if you aren’t about the hostel life) is renting an Airbnb. The majority of people I know use this service, but I know a few who feel like the entire concept is completely sketch. Airbnb is actually to blame for this sick addiction to traveling that I’m now living for. My first time using the app was in Zaandam, Netherlands. We stayed in the most adorable and spacious boat house which came with bikes, and this video of the place still lives on my phone today.
If you take one vacation a year or so, by all means live the lux life at an all inclusive resort or boutique hotel. But if you want to travel multiple times a year without going to this place I know All Too Well (shout out to the old Taylor), called the negatives.. some trips you have to budget. And the growth you’ll experience from immersing yourself in a new culture when traveling abroad, is one of the beautiful things money can’t buy.
3. Buy Groceries
A major perk of renting an Airbnb is having access to a full kitchen. Hotels don’t always have a refrigerator or even a way of heating food. When I’m traveling abroad I live for making breakfast and mimosas every morning with my travel buddies before heading out for the day. It always sets a fun vibe for the day and I hate to admit it but, it gives me time to catch up on emails that can’t wait.. (#adultsohard). I love eating out and trying new foods as well, so I always make sure I can do this for lunch and/or dinner. However, it helps save money if you aren’t starving as soon as you begin the day. Being tipsy doesn’t hurt either, I’m just saying.
4. Skip Tourist Traps
Basically, don’t be basic. For example, when I host friends in NYC, I try to keep them far away from Times Square, Herald Square, and other tourist traps for two reasons. For one, they aren’t real representations of the culture of New York City. They are flooded with same chain restaurants and retail stores that are all over the world. Secondly, everything is absurdly overpriced. Another Airbnb perk, (umm someone @ Airbnb so they can cut me a check please) is that you get a host! I know you’re wondering how the person who’s mortgage you’re paying can help you save money on vacation, right?
Airbnb host, in my experience, are always friendly locals. Naturally they have the inside scoop on things like cheap transportation and how to get the best deals on the tourist things you are interested in doing. They can direct you where to find authentic souvenirs, markets, family owned restaurants, as well as areas that aren’t safe. They can give you a heads up if it’s not easy to get taxis to and from their location, if Uber is available, or if renting a car is the most sensible option. On the Airbnb app, you have the option to filter your search for ‘Super Host’, which I highly recommend. It’s also a great feeling to put your money into the backbone of the country you’re enjoying. Plus, there’s no point in going somewhere you’ve never been to eat at the same Applebee’s as back home. Again, I’m just saying. Hopefully you agree with me on some of these things so far, which leads me to my next tip.
5. Find Like Minded Travel Buddies
Pay attention here, because this is important. Travel buddies are almost more (let’s be honest– way more) important than actual life partners. In a perfect world, you can get a two for one deal on this. But if you’re single out here in the world, then traveling with someone who’s company you enjoy is ideal for a number of important reasons. The same way you would with your roommate or friends back home, you can share expenses and it makes a huge difference. I’m a total advocate for traveling solo (which is also doable on a budget) but it can get lonely, depending where you’re visiting.
Personally I like to go with the flow on vacation. Sometimes I’ll have a few things that are must-do or sees but I’ve been described many times in my life as ‘chill AF’ and it’s honestly my favorite compliment to receive. So, being the chill betch that I am (now I’m selling myself here), I’ve found that I don’t travel well with people who operate around strict itineraries.
That being said, if you find joy in certain luxuries on vacation or exploring around a set schedule then this still applies. Link up with a friend or bae who loves the same. Being in good company makes it simple to have guilt-free splurges or cut expenses if and where you need to.
6. Plan Ahead
And even though I’m chill AF, I still plan my vacations in my head on the go. Literally. One of the signature trademarks of my traveling addiction is planning my next vacation while on vacation. I’ve seriously been doing this for over a year now and well.. it’s been working. It’s a fact that flights are cheaper the further out you book them. I always find flights for any traveling via Sky Scanner, but there are many websites just like it. Sky Scanner allows you to select a destination and easily play with dates or you can choose your dates and ‘search everywhere’. These filters give you options to see all of the destinations that are in your budget during the time you want to travel.
Don’t let finances be the only thing stopping you from traveling abroad. Take a look at your personal expenses and figure out where you can cut back. There’s almost always something you can give up in order to save a bit more money. Find a good deal on a flight, buy the ticket, and try some of these money saving tips.