Traveling is one of the biggest lifestyle expenses. However, traveling often is a priority of mine and I make it a personal goal to travel out of the country at least once a year. In this post, I will share tips that I personally use to help budget and save for trips.
(I make a very humble salary, pay loans and rent so don’t think you need to be balling to travel. It just takes discipline, saving tricks and personal passion for travel for this to work.)
I’ve been out of school for 2 years now, I have found ways to travel to 1-3 countries in a year. In 2018, I went to the UK , Italy, Miami and Ghana. In 2019, I went to Mexico and currently I am saving for my next trip for my 25th birthday in 2020. (Shoutout to anyone turning 25 in 2020!) Check out some of the things I things I do to help save money and travel more often.
1. Setting Financial Travel Goals with Mint App
In order to save, you need to know how much you want to save. I use the Mint App to calculate how much money I need for my flight, hotel, food, and excursions. It’s a lot easier to use this app than self calculating because it leaves little room for errors. For instance, I went to Ghana in December 2018. I knew my flight ticket would cost around $1200 if I bought my ticket around July. I created a goal to save $1300 almost 5-6 months before I planned to buy my ticket.
2.Saving 6 months to a year in advance/ Drag out your savings
I normally do this type of saving with trips I know will be over $1000. So lets say, for example, it’s October 2019 and you would like to visit Tanzania by September 2020. You should start saving towards buying your ticket and purchase it no later than April (also check to see when flights to Tananza will be cheapest). After April, you can start saving towards hotel, food and extra spending money. Doing this helps expenses not seem entirely overwhelming and won’t take a heavy hit to your paycheck.
3. Open A Travel Savings Bank Account
My favorite bank right now is Ally Bank. Their interest rate starts at 1.25% so you literally make money just from saving with their bank. I opened an account with them in 2018 and iIe gained $35 from doing absolutely nothing but keeping my savings in their account. I also have Bank of America savings account but the interest is about .1% so I’ve only received about 50 cents from saving my money there. Mind you, I’ve been with Bank of America since I was 16!
4. Using a travel rewards credit card
I currently have a Capital One Venture credit card that I’ve had since senior year of college. What I appreciate about this card is that every time I spend money, I get travel points that can be applied to any airline, hotel, or car rental company of my choice. I tend to buy large transactions with this card so I can get more travel points. I.E. I bought a $1200 ticket to Ghana with my credit card (I paid it off literary minutes later with the money I saved) and I got points equivalent to 120 dollars.
If you mostly travel with one specific airline company, then you should look into getting their credit card. They normally give way more travel points than getting a regular credit card with travel reward points. However, you can only get points for that airline and its partners.
5. Sky Scanner
I love this website soooooo much! I stopped using Google Flights and Kayak all together because this website is soo elite. It gives you the lowest ticket rates and also lets you know the trends of the flight costs. Once, it told me to purchase my ticket to Miami that day because prices would increase the next day. (Sooo elite!)
6.Research, Research, Research
I cannot stress this enough but please do your research to any countries/cities you are planning to visit. You should look for:
- A)The peak and off peak times for traveling to your destination
- B) Costs of food and gifts as a tourist
- C) Cost of transportation
- D) Safety
Good Luck on saving and traveling!
Ermida K. , Founder of Being Black In