Listen, I love nice things, like really nice things! Seriously though, if we’re being honest with ourselves, who doesn’t?!! A nice handbag, yes ma’am! Exclusive fragrance, yes, please! Luxurious travel, absolutely! I can’t begin to tell you how I’ve developed such an exquisite taste for luxury. And honestly, that doesn’t matter because as much as I love luxury, I can also appreciate traveling on a budget. #TEAMSAVEACOIN
Traveling On A Budget
If you’re like me and you’re consistently trying to figure out how to make your Thousandaire reality line up with your Trillionaire desires, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, I’m going to share how you can dabble in the Trillionaire travel lifestyle while still living your Thousandaire travel reality. Below are 7 doable tips that will help you travel the world on a budget via inexpensive airfare.
1. Be flexible
Whenever I get the best rates on plane tickets, it’s because I leave my travel dates open and search the entire month for ticket prices. In my experience, the least expensive days to travel are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, so these are typically the days I travel when my dates are flexible. That’s not to say that you can’t find good prices on other days, but these are the days that I have observed to consistently have good prices.
Google Flights is a great place to start your search. The Date Grid and Price Graph functions allow you to search for dates over a longer period of time in order to see when flights are the cheapest.
2. Know when to buy
There has been a lot of mixed opinions on this topic. Some people believe there’s a best time to buy airline tickets, while others don’t think it matters. What I have seen during my many searches is that most flights tend to increase closer towards the end of the week. Here’s a couple of reasons I believe this to be true: 1) this is when most people tend to travel; 2) this is when most people get paid. So quite naturally, when the demand is high, so are the prices. If you can, try to purchase your airfare earlier in the week to avoid price increases. Disclaimer: In no way am I an Economist, just a Common Senseist.
3. Work, Work, Work, Work, Work, Work!
Nothing in life is free, and for a good price on travel, you’ve gotta be willing to do like Rihana said and do some work! As previously mentioned, when searching for flights, I typically start off at Google Flights or one of the other flight search engine sites, like Expedia or Orbitz. Remember, Southwest and some other discount airlines, don’t advertise on these flight search engine sites, so you have to go directly to their site to check prices.
Extra Nugget: When traveling on a budget, don’t be opposed to purchasing two one way tickets or even tickets from two different carriers. There’s no best way to book flights. We’re simply trying to keep our coint; and that may mean doing some unconventional things so we can get to Seychelles.
4. Strike when the iron is hot!
God has truly blessed me to be able to take advantage of some pretty SWEET deals. But that was because I was prepared to get tickets as soon as the deal was available.
My #1 travel destination has always been to visit UAE, specifically Dubai, and in 2015, I was blessed with the opportunity to go, for a whopping $214 RT. Etihad Airways had an error fare on Christmas Day 2014, and I was already thinking about buying myself a ticket to Dubai for Christmas. Because my God can do exceedingly abundantly above all I could ever ask or think, I have family and friends that live in the UAE so I was able to lodge for the $free.99. If that’s not traveling on a budget, I don’t know what is!
Extra Nugget: The majority of my international travel is to places that I have friends and family, so I can stay with them and not have to worry about lodging expenses. Plus, you get to experience the area as the locals do!
5. Create An Account
If you don’t already, I would suggest creating a traveling account. I started out seriously traveling when I was in my 20s. Because I didn’t have that much money, it was very important for me to be smart about traveling. From personal experience, this tip can help you successfully pinpoint how to travel on a budget in your 20s. Deposit a few dollars in there every week or so until you have at least $500. You would be surprised where you could go for $500 on a sweet travel deal!
I understand that everyone that’s reading this may not be single. If you are traveling on a budget with a family, $500 might not be enough for you all to start with. If this is the case, I would recommend saving anywhere from $750-$1000 in your account depending on your family size. Some banks will even will even start you off my giving you anywhere from $100-$500 for opening an account with them. Use that to your advantage.
Once you have your minimum travel amount saved, you can start searching for airline tickets using the tips above. Please note: Once you start to build your account, it will be tempting to start looking at flights. Don’t, until you have at least your minimum travel amount and can purchase the tickets right then.
I smile because I get to keep my coins!
6. Get to the points
DISCLAIMER: I do not recommend this tip if you are not responsible with managing consumer credit! Breakfast with Tiffani does not condone creating debt in the name of traveling on a budget!
However, if you are responsible with managing consumer credit, meaning, you do not carry a balance on a credit card, this tip is for you. A lot of credit cards, specifically travel cards, will offer a sign-up bonus in exchange for charging a minimum amount within a specified amount of time. Once you have hit that minimum within the specified time frame, they will give you a sign-up bonus. For travel cards the bonus is typically in the form of airline points.
For example, Card A has a sign up bonus of 60,000 points. The Card A company will be more than happy to give you those 60,000 points as long as you charge $4,000 within the first 3 month of opening the credit card account. Once you hit $4,000, the Card A company will post 60,000 points to your account to use as you wish.
And it’s just that simple! Depending on who you fly, when, and where you are going, 60,000 points can go a LONG way!
An additional thing to consider is if an airline branded credit card or a regular bank travel credit card would be best for you. What’s the difference you ask?
An airline-branded credit card is a card that you are only allowed to redeem points at that airline only. You can use the card anywhere, but you tend to get more points when you use it at that airline vs somewhere else.
A regular bank travel credit card is a card that you are allowed to redeem points at multiple airlines that are partnered with the bank. As with airline-branded credit cards, you can use the card anywhere, but you tend to get more points on travel related purchases.
When choosing between an airline-branded credit card vs. a regular bank travel card, it’s like considering, would you rather a Visa or American Express Gift Card that you can use anywhere or a store-specific card that you can only use at that store.
7. Travel Rewards Programs
Kindrick Lamar said it best, “Loyalty, loyalty, loyalty.” Now, this tip might contradict what was previously shared in point #3, but before you cancel me, hear me out.
Now, more than ever, brands want to know that you are loyal to them. So much so, that they are willing to reward you for that loyalty as shared in the tip above.
When you are loyal to one airline and accumulate status and points with them, depending on how often you are traveling, you can then use those points in exchange for free travel. And depending on your status, they will show their appreciation for your loyalty by providing you with perks like free upgrades, admission to their pre-flight lounge, free wifi, etc.
Now, I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t state that travel rewards programs are really only beneficial if you travel frequently enough to accumulate points for free travel. If you’re the occasional traveler, this traveling on a budget tip may not be one for you to focus on.
Extra Nugget: Now, if you are a frequent traveler, flying multiple times a month, but you also aren’t committed to one particular airline, take advantage of airline’s status match programs. Just like with most businesses today that will price match a competitor’s price on a product, airline companies will match your status in an effort to ensure you continue flying with them. Learn more about Airline Status Matching in the Instagram post below.
Well, there you have it, 7 doable tips to get you started on your journey of traveling on a budget. So, let me hear from you. Do you currently practice some of the tips mentioned above? What are some ways that you have been able to start traveling on a budget?