So you want to start travelling?
It seems like every day another news source releases ways to get started traveling or how to articles on how to satisfy that travel itch. Here are some tips on how to get started traveling and even on a budget.
There are hundreds of major airlines to choose from when you’re looking for a flight somewhere.
If you’re looking domestically, my favorite sights to check are Southwest (hello, two free bags!) and then of course the Skyscanner app. Skyscanner is one of the top used flight booking apps out there. They search all the airlines possible and try to find the best option for price, time and location of where you are flying to.
Living not a major city, I find that sometimes if I am flying to another major city (Los Angeles, Phoenix, or London) I look for flights going to and from another larger city. When I’m looking for international flights I check how much it is to fly from Chicago rather than Indianapolis. It cuts my cost by about $500 if not more. When you’re paying for a flight, there are so many costs, especially when it’s a longer or across an ocean flight, $500 is major savings. You can usually find buses such as MegaBus or Greyhound that can take you into the city for anywhere between $5 to $50; which still cuts your cost!
The best time to purchase your flights for international travel is roughly 160 days before your departure. Though this time frame is a dauntingly long, it will help you with ensuring you have (make) the time and money available.
Did you know that half of working Americans don’t take their vacation days? (Fortune). That boggles my mind! I for one love vacations, they’re extremely important and needed for a well rounded lifestyle. Sometimes we all just need a break. The most common thing I hear from people who want to start traveling are that they don’t have the time or the money.
The time is one that is easily fixable. We make time for the things that matter to us.
Many people make time for working out, especially with the new year here. Many people make time to visit family, to sleep, to eat.
If you want to travel the time to do so! Sure, it’s easier said that done, but check you schedule, see where you have some wiggle room in your job or school. Is there a break coming up from classes where you can travel? A slow time at work? If you want to make it happen, you will.
I truly wish that the world would function not on money but on trade, like back in the olden days. Say a friend wanted a shift at work and they traded a cup of coffee for the shift. How much easier would that be? A whole lot. Money is the biggest vain of my existence.
Budgeting is one of the most important things to learn when you wish to begin traveling more. Saving money can start out small, taking up to 10% of your paycheck and putting it into a travel fund. Or even having a jar where you put all your loose money into such as tips or just spare change. You will be surprised at how quickly it adds up!
One of the easiest ways to put away money from your employer is through direct deposit. If you automatically arrange for a certain amount of money to be taken out of every check then you won’t have to convince yourself to lower the number in your checking account. It sounds a bit crazy, but it works. If you don’t see it, you won’t want to spend it.
The cost of overall travel can be extremely intimidating. When you consider a flight, transportation while you are away, accommodations, food; everything adds up really quickly. One of the easiest ways to make sure that you don’t overspend is to make a budget. When you begin planning a trip, go ahead and choose a maximum of what you are willing to spend. This number will include everything: flights, transportation, food, lodging, accommodations, excursions, and souvenirs, all of it.
Then slowly start estimating, and always round higher than you think. Don’t be afraid of a flight time just because of the price too! Oftentimes many airlines will run consistent prices and times of flights to highly trafficked cities. But too, sometimes the crack of dawn flight or the late night one might be slightly cheaper. When it comes to the place you are traveling to, research the area. Do you really need to preorder train tickets or can you buy them when you’re there? Do you have to pay for a metro pass or do you think you’ll be able to get around walking everywhere? Do you know anyone who might be willing to let you crash on their floor? Do you need your own room or will a hostel do, or a bedroom rented in an AirBnB? Can you survive on granola bars for a meal and snacks and then treat yourself to a giant meal once or twice a day? Can you make food for yourself wherever you are staying?
As you begin to find the answers to these questions, you will be surprised at how much money you can save while traveling!
When you are looking for things to do in the city you want to travel to, check out bloggers and events pages of the city. Even apps like Groupon, you may be able to find deals on excursions, tours, concerts and more. All of these can help cut down the cost of traveling.
The first time I really started to travel was to larger cities close to mine such as Nashville, Cincinnati and of course Chicago. I loved it, they were simple day trips and just got my toes wet in the idea and experience of traveling. The first time that I went internationally, I went big. I took a year and traveled to 11 countries. It was epic. While I would always encourage to dream big and act on it, sometimes it is easier to start small. Taking a smaller trip, maybe somewhere local can help you see what you really enjoy doing while you travel. Maybe you’re more of a history buff, or a local foodie, or even you love just following locals from the areas suggestions. Starting somewhere closer to where you are can also help you see how long you might actually like to be somewhere. So instead of booking a whole backpacking trip across Europe that can take months, you realize that you’re more of a few weeks away kind of person.
Good luck & Happy Traveling!