I haven’t been everywhere but it’s on my list.
– Susan Sontag
Travel for less and experience more!
Is it possible to travel with a first class mindset on a coach budget? From going broke during a trip to staying at a 5 star hotel in Dubai with 1st class service on a coach budget, it’s safe to say that I have figured out some tips and tricks that crack the code of spending less and living more during your travels. The following tips that I will share with you are based on my own experiences. These following tips have worked for me and I hope it will be beneficial for you to know and to implement on your next travels!
After traveling alone for over 10 years, I would still consider myself to be a bit premature when it comes to traveling. This is due to the fact that every time I travel I am constantly learning something new, as the rules and regulations are different depending on the destination and are constantly changing.
However, one thing that must stay consistent when planning your next trip is the “trip planning structure.” Once you have developed a travel foundation the structure will come into place, making the rest of the trip preparation a breeze. There will be merely tweaking here and there from travel to travels.
Why should you develop a trip planning structure? It is very time-consuming. Sometimes going the easy way out, booking tickets and hotels, all in one go without using the planning structure can lead to overspending and/or unseen hiccups during the trip. After reading an article on an exploratory study of vacation stress (Crotts, J. C., & Zehrer, A. (2012). Tourism Analysis, 17, 547-552, I learned that the top three most traveling stress factors are the trip planning, traveling to the destination and the actual stay at the destination.
With my set travel planning structure, I have implemented these three stress factors to alleviate and prevent stress during or after the travels. If I were you I will get my notepad and writing utensil prepared!
Start by creating your Travel Planning Structure:
This is very similar to goal setting; I took the concept of creating a vision board, setting realistic goals, adding millstones and deadlines and recording the progress throughout to track actions and make sure it’s effective, or to improve and change what ever is needed to make sure the overall objective gets completed. In this case, the objective is to travel to any desired destination hassle and stress free!
Step 1: Create an E-vision board or draw it out. Where do you plan on traveling to? What date? How long? What are some travel inspirations (this can help when creating an itinerary when planning on what to do in the city, site seeing, tours etc.)?
Step 2: Write down minimum three short term and long term goals. What to you want to accomplish before the trip? (Budget wise, savings, complete job duties etc., this way you won’t be thinking about during your travels.) Write down minimum of three long-term goals. What do you want out of this trip (local interaction, strictly isolation, shopping etc. this will help structure your daily endeavors.)
Step 3: Make sure to create milestones. Since the goals have already been determined, you have an idea how much you would like to spend which this leads to knowing how much savings must be in the account prior to traveling. Here is where the actions and deadlines come into play. In order to save money some action plans need to be created depending on the individual and their casual spending.
An example on creating this milestone can be done by: Save a total of $$ for flight and hotel booking by (DATE), execution plan: Must pre-cook meals for week, make coffee at home and transfer 1% of biweekly paycheck into “Travel” savings account.
Step 4: Once the vision board is created, goals are set and action plans with deadlines are conducted, it’s time to execute and record the progress. Now it’s planning and preparation time!
Plan, Prepare & Prosper
Set a budget
Before any planning or preparation for the trip to take place, setting a budget is a GREAT starting point. This will help with knowing what to look for when booking or paying for flights, hotels, excursions and restaurants, or evening knowing how much cash you should have during the trip. Starting with a budget will not only help you find exactly what you are looking for in your price range, but also help you be in control of your spending before your trip. This can prevent any additional stress keeping you from falling into any surprises during any stage of your traveling.
Setting a budget in any occasion is ideal and quite vital. Having a budget in mind also gives you an idea on the next important point on how much money to save up for the particular trip.
Start saving money:
Don’t make the mistake in buying airfare tickets, booking hotels with the reserve now pay later option and leave without having a set travel budget in place. Before purchasing or booking anything make sure to have money saved for the trip. This includes, spending money, emergency money and money that will be used as cash at the destination.
– Open a new “Savings account and title it “Travel”: instead of coffee that week, make coffee at home or take it to go and set that money aside in your savings, anything that you spend on a monthly basis, if it’s a “want,” throw it into the savings. Also, every time your paycheck comes around, put a small percentage of that money into your savings account. Before you know it, it’ll start accumulating rapidly, and you’ll have travel money to save, spend and splurge! Here is a spreadsheet that can help you with tracking your savings, Savings Goal Sheet.
Make an account with a Travel Fare Aggregator (low-costs travel websites):
Making an account with these travel websites allows you to book any flights, hotels or even sometimes tour excursions at a lower price while collecting sometime of loyalty points, these can be used towards future transactions. These include, Expedia.com, Hotels.com, Hotwire.com, and Booking.com etc.
I personally have been a fan of Expedia.com (Not an AD) for the past 3 years and after so many transactions, I have become a VIP member. What that means is, I receive the best discounts on luxury options when booking a hotel with upgrades at no extra charge. I was able to stay at a 5 star hotel in Dubai on a 3 star hotel budget and got an upgrade to a room with a view with no extra charge, just for being part of their VIP program! Travel smarter not harder.
Search for the best transportation methods at the city of destination:
To refrain from spending major money on cab rides, it is important to note that some cities do not use, or allow, Uber. However, most cities provide public transportation or rental car options. It is always good to make sure plan b is taken care of, or what to expect when traveling to a city. (DO YOUR RESEARCH prior to the trip)
If your option is to rent a car, here are some websites or suggestions where to rent a car that work only with reputable suppliers and are trusted:
Doing some Shopping?
I would highly recommend doing any souvenir shopping outside of the airport. However, if there are certain delicacies, food, drinks, etc. that you would like to get from that city, make sure to purchase them in the duty-free area as the prices are better since tax is not included.
*If you do end up purchasing something outside of the airport, ask for tax return receipt, fill it out with information required and hand it in at a global blue tax return station at the airport, to get the taxes spent of your purchases back into your wallet.*
First and foremost make sure to travel with a carry on, trust me ladies, after recently going on a 15 day trip to 9 different cities with only a carry on, it is possible. I am a witness! Traveling with just a carry on will save SOOO much time and money. Of course, for us women it’s easier said than done right?
Why is it a time and money saver?
Traveling with a carry on will save you time by not having to check in a luggage and claim it after landing. It will be a money saver since you won’t have to pay for a checked in luggage, HOWEVER, this will only be valid if you do it the RIGHT way.
How do I manage to pack for so many days with packing so little?
Make sure to not OVERPACK, it you follow my list of what to pack, as far as clothing, it can save you extra space to buy little things here and there during your travels.
KEEP IN MIND: To check the airlines carry-on restrictions, some airlines differ from the others on the total weight, including your carry-on luggage, or personal item like a purse or backpack. It should all equal to or less than the weight suggested.
- Pack one light denim & one dark denim
- Pack one pant, trousers or just another pair of bottoms that can be dressy or casual
- DO pack double amount of underwear (to prepare for amount of walking, activities etc.)
- Socks (do not double pack)
- 2 Belts one of each, dressy & Casual
- Tops (2 dressy & 2 casual)
- Shoes: ONE pair of SNEAKERS, ONE pair of sandals or flats, ONE pair of dress shoes (one of the pairs you will be wearing for travels, it’ll most likely be the sneakers)
Hot tip: Roll your clothes to get the max out of your suitcase/backpack!
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- Travel container for any liquids: Shampoo, Conditioner, body lotion, and facial cleansing products. All travel sized liquid bottles should be 100 ml/100 grams (3.4 oz.) or less and must fit in a Ziploc (plastic bag) with the dimensions of a one liter/quart bag are 24 cm by 22.86 cm (6 in. by 9 in.) or 20 cm by 17.5 cm (8 in.
- Hairbrush (do not pack hairdryer as majority of accommodation places provide one)
- Dry Shampoo
- Travel toothbrush
- Hand Sanitizer
- Makeup (make sure to take makeup essentials, not the whole shebang)
Hot tip: Try keeping your toiletries in a plastic or waterproof bag in case of any leakage.
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Make sure to pack the important travel gear you can’t go without to record your travel story. I recommend taking the rest of the items in a separate backpack or large purse. This will not be an extra charge as 2 items per traveler can be carried by hand without having to check it in.
What to pack in the backpack:
- Universal Power Adapter
- Two sets of headphones
- I-pad, laptop, etc.
Do as the locals do:
When I travel I like to immerse in the culture and the lifestyle of the locals. Doing it like the locals, believe it or not, it will save you a lot of money. When traveling to a place with renowned, pricy tourist attractions, it’s best skipping them altogether. Instead, go to the market, load up on fruits and cheese, and then sit in a sunny spot and people-watch. Not only is the cheaper option going to save you money, but also it is often the most rewarding.
On a personal note, doing as the locals do for me, also means talking to the locals. Getting to know them and where they live. Sometimes this can happen at a restaurant, coffee shop or even on a metro. You never know what friendships you’ll build that will end up lasting a lifetime. Having these type of friendships will really make it feel as if you are immersing in the culture and getting to know that city. They might even give an invite for a home cooked meal, or even offer a place to stay in the future. Connecting with the locals is a great way to really get a feel of the city that is being visited.
I haven’t been everywhere but it’s on my list. This statement couldn’t be any more accurate for me. I have traveled in many different ways, which caused me to spend half of my savings and even end up broke on some of my travels. However, if it weren’t for these experiences, I wouldn’t have the knowledge I am sharing with you today. I plan to continue to travel and keep on learning and grow as the desired traveler I hope to become. Happy travels and please share your feedback with me if you choose to take my recommendations in consideration.
Planning your next travels? Send your info below and I will be more than happy to be your Virtual Travel Guide and help you plan your next travels!