I spent a lot of years fighting the battle to travel more
I moved every three years growing up, and that really sparked my desire to travel. For me, it was never enough to fit travel in with my three weeks allotted PTO at my full time job. Going into 2018 I decided to make a promise to myself that I would travel more and experience the world. I had a constant desire to explore more but never had the time or money to make it work. In 2018 I stopped spending money on Amazon and started spending my money on travel and experiences. It worked! In 2018 I traveled to 5 different states and 1 new country. I made that promise to myself again in 2019 and it paid off, by the end of 2019 I will have traveled to 11 new states in the US. Can you guess my plan in 2020? You’re right! New states, new countries and a whole lot of new experiences.
The question I get asked again and again is how do you afford to travel so much and do you have unlimited PTO? So, today I’m sharing my best tips and tricks on how I afford to travel and have the PTO to do so. And no, I don’t have unlimited PTO. Here are 6 ways that you can travel more often by finding more time or more money for your future trips!
Take Shorter Weekend Trips
My number one answer when anyone asks how I travel so much is this, take short trips more often. A lot of times you don’t need a full week to explore a new city or see the sights. 2-3 days is plenty! This is my favorite kind of trip. You can explore the major tourists attractions one day and then explore on your own the 2nd day. You don’t have to take a single day of PTO by leaving Friday evening and returning Sunday evening.
The trick for these weekend trips is not to venture too far from home. While Phil and I are living in Colorado, we have managed to visit Aspen, Snowmass, Vail, Fort Collins, Longmont, Lake of the Ozarks and more! As well as various destinations in Colorado as day trips. For all of these trips, we only had to take a handful of PTO, if any!
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. I do not recommend racking up a bunch of debt to travel. I recommend doing your research and doing what is best for your financial situation.
Phil and I travel hack often and it pays off really well. We booked a few trips in 2020 from travel hacking and I can’t wait to share how we did this with you in 2020.
Search and search for flight and hotel deals
We rarely book flights or hotels full price. We both do a lot of research on good flight prices and hotels before we even think about booking. Google allows you to track flight prices and has a great prediction tool. Southwest and Fronteir are always running flight deals. We rarely spend more than $100 on round trip airfare. Now, that doesn’t mean we arrive to our destination at 9am and are rested and ready… This means for $49 we arrive in San Francisco at midnight. But, it’s $49 to San Francisco and can you really beat that price? No! It takes time and you have to stay patient and willing to fly at times no one else does, but you’ll find the best deals here.
For hotels, I’m personally a member of a few loyalty programs where I get discounted accommodations, such as the Hotels.com rewards program (get 1 night free for every 10 nights booked), and the Airbnb referral program (receive credits for anyone that signs up through a referral link).
There are thousands of loyalty programs to choose from, but I’d recommend that you don’t sign up for them all – just choose a handful of programs with your favorite companies or booking websites and then use the ones you’ve picked regularly. Sometimes, loyalty programs won’t actually offer you the best deals, so it’s worth comparing prices before you make any bookings. You can check hotel deals on Wego to find out which website has the cheapest prices for accommodation.
Rent out your place while you’re away
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 neighborhood to go with the images. Sign up as an Airbnb host and create your listing, then wait for bookings to come in. This is especially great for trips that you go on that cost a little more, you can literally make money while you travel.
If your city has Turo, you can also leave your car at the airport and they will rent out your car while you’re gone. You make money if your car is rented out!
Visit destinations during the off-season
My best tip? Book travel to destinations during their off-season. Just looking around at flights this morning I found a January flight to Seattle round trip for $97. Now, you might be thinking yeah no one wants to go to Seattle in January. Guess what, I do! For $97 I would fly anywhere! You won’t have any issues getting a dinner reservation in Seattle during January and the shows are more reasonably pried. The best part? The National parks in Washington will be empty in January. Don’t be afraid to travel to destinations during their off-season. It’s often when they are the most affordable and the most beautiful.
If your goal in 2020 is to prioritize travel, I want to encourage you to make it happen. Don’t let another year slip by because you don’t have enough PTO or money… Get out there and take a shorter, less expensive trip. See the world while you still can, life is so incredibly short.