I make money in the travel industry by writing blogs and articles to sell and creating videos for my YouTube channel.
This work is fun because I am doing something I enjoy very much. It allows me to see parts of the world I never would have imagined and in ever new and fascinating ways. This job is not lucrative, however.
Not even close.
Therefore, I am always on the lookout for new ways to save money. We constantly evaluate even the most mundane purchase to assess whether we are better off saying no instead keep the money set aside for travel. For example, I have a couple pairs of sneakers that have been in use for five years or more (I won't run in these, of course, but they get the job done for walking around in). Some of my pants and shirts that -- while holding up as far as wear and tear -- have long ago been ruled un-fashionable.
Guess what? I don't care.
I'm all about experiences, not things. Travel brings me happiness. So, I gladly make sacrifices of creature comforts so I can get that next plane ticket.
Toward that end, I want to share with you 25 ways I save money so that I can travel more.
25. Cut the cord. If you subscribe to cable TV, you know how expensive it can be, and the cost rises every year. Watch TV shows on the Internet via the network websites or Hulu's free service. Netflix packages are significantly less costly than cable packages, too.
24. Use the library. Check out books, movies and CDs for your entertainment. Libraries also offer free computer use and adult education and enrichment classes.
23. Coupons clipping. We use coupons and Internet coupon codes for almost all big purchases, like clothes and electronics. Sites like Ebates are awesome for this, and it sends a rebate check periodically. Grocery stores and restaurants also regularly offers coupon deals.
22. Smart shopping. Check the weekly flyers from your grocery stores. I stock up on items that I know I need when they are on sale. I don't wait until I run out to go get our essentials. That way, we are never forced to pay full price for staples like Diet Coke, Powerade, meats, soups, sauces, cheeses, frozen veggies and frozen fruits, etc.
21. Combine driving trips. When you're hopping into the car to go to the store, try to combine the trip with a couple other tasks, like getting gas, a lunch or dinner outing, etc.
20. Latch on to loyalty. Being regular drinkers of Diet Coke and Powerade (for workout sessions), we enter our Coke codes online and regularly score free movies tickets so we can treat ourselves to a movie at a theater occasionally. Other companies and products that you are loyal to might have similar programs that reward you. Look for them.
19. Free food. Speaking of loyalty programs, you can score free meals at fast-casual restaurants like Subway, Qdoba, Moe's Southwest Grill and dozens of others by signing up for their frequent-diner clubs and using their swipe cards or punch cards.
18. Share alike. Dining out with a loved one? Do you like the same beverages? Are they fountain drinks with free refills? Pay for one cup instead of two.
17. Waste not! While we're talking about meals away from home (we prefer healthy fast-casual fare when we go out, with a coupon and loyalty card, of course), make sure you take home any leftovers that you can later re-purpose into a meal or snack.
16. Do without. I mentioned my wardrobe. We don't go shopping as a recreational activity, and I only buy clothing, shoes and other items when I truly need them. I have more than I need after years of accumulation via birthday and Christmas gifts. I also look around the home, even after years of frugal living, and see things that I just don't use anymore.
15. New options. The sharing economy has given rise to money-saving options. Try Uber for transportation instead of a traditional taxi or Airbnb instead of a motel or hotel stay. These services can help save a bundle!
14. Yours to take. Hotels provide complimentary toiletries for you during your stay. Often the soaps, lotions and shampoos are quite good products, too. Grab those little bottles and take them home. I have a nice collection and will never have to buy soap, lotion or body wash again.
13. Bike to work. If at all possible where you live and work, consider hopping on your bike for your daily commute. You'll save on gas, keep miles off the vehicle and love the health benefits. Mrs. In The Loop looks forward to her daily two-mile ride to work when the weather cooperates.
12. Hair care. I am bald. Well, I long ago began balding, and now my hairstyle is a simple clean-shaven style. You know, like Mr. Clean. I maintain it myself. No problem. Others don't get off so easily, but if you can cut back on the cuts and styles at upscale salons, you'll have more money for travel.
11. Batch cooking. We eat out a few times a week, but as I listed here, we search out deals and opt for places that don't ring up huge tabs for our meals. But our typical meal plan involves preparing dishes at home. Pack your lunches and cook up your own dinners. This represents a huuuuge savings. Also, you can easily make this a social activity by hosting friends for meals in which everyone brings a dish to pass. Leftovers from crock pot cuisine or casseroles can set you up for a week's worth of meals.
10. Tax time. If your taxes are not at all complicated, do them yourself. Keep decent financial records throughout the year and use any of the number of reputable online tax software packages available for free.
9. De-consumerize celebrations. Can you get your family to agree to low-key holiday and birthday celebrations? You know, by only giving one present that would really be needed or utilized. Our families a few years ago decided to draw names so that each person only buys one gift for one other person.
8. Lights out! If you're not using them, turn them off. Same goes for unplugging appliances that are used infrequently. Don't let those electric vampires suck at your savings.
7. Dial it down. Set your home's thermostat at a reasonable temperature. Add a few layers to keep warm when it's chilly season. Remember to turn down the temp when you're away from home and before climbing under the covers at night, too.
6. Care for that car. Change the oil, rotate the tires and get new tires at appropriate intervals for your vehicle. The long-term cost savings add up when your car is reliable and long-lasting because of proper maintenance.
5. Pack snacks. Instead of getting caught hungry during your travels and being trapped into making desperation purchases at overpriced airport shops or eateries, pack fresh fruit, almonds, sandwiches, etc., to take along with you.
4. Insurance check-up. Check at least every other year with your insurance carriers to see whether they can lower your premiums. Shop around for better pricing from competitors and be ready to switch if your company balks at giving you a rate you deserve.
3. Reward yourself. You're using credit cards, right? Everyone has at least one or two these days. Make sure you are getting the full benefits of your purchases by signing up for cards that give you perks. Our Delta Skymiles American Express cards accumulate points for free flights, allow us to check a bag free and entitle us to economy-plus seating (more leg room) as well as early boarding. Our Starwood American Express cards pile up points that can be redeemed for free hotel stays or flights. We have enjoyed free week-long vacations with these benefits.
2. Carry on. You can save big money by avoiding the checked-bag fees on flights if you can limit your luggage to carry-on only. I know this can be nearly impossible for some trips, but it really makes you evaluate every item you are sticking into your bag. This way, you also travel more efficiently and don't face delays waiting to get your bags at your destination (if they don't get lost).
1. Monitor pricing, be flexible on flights. Airfare often is the biggest expense in travel. So, we try to be as flexible as possible. If we see a price we like, we consider pouncing on it and planning an impromptu trip. If we know we have an upcoming trip locked in to a certain date, we monitor pricing for months in advance to get the best price possible.
I want to be clear. These daily sacrifices add up over time. It's not like we don't have any money in the bank and are scrimping and saving so that we can go to a beach resort or on a cruise. I think that would be irresponsible. A solid emergency fund is essential. You should have savings that can cover your expenses for at least one year if you suddenly had no income. We prefer a much larger buffer than that, so we built one up while we worked other jobs long before working full time as travelers. Consider emergency medical expenses, too.
If you have children, you have even more to think about as far as long-term costs.
You begin to realize that making priorities for your expenditures is vital if you want to travel more.
If you haven't already, start now! You won't regret it. What extra tips or tricks do you have to save for travel? Help everybody out by commenting below.
Thanks for reading, and happy travels!