A few years ago, I thought have to be rich in order to afford travel. I thought people who can afford plane tickets and stay in hotels are the ones with a lot of money. As the years went by, I realized how huge this misconception was. While I need to have a certain amount of money in the bank, I don’t have to be swimming in dollars if I wanted to afford travel. I realized that with the right kind of planning, most people can travel out of country once or even twice a year.
Saving for travel
The key to saving up for travel is to make it part of your savings plan. Research the destination you want to go to and note down how much the flights are, how much the accommodations are, how much does a typical meal cost, how much does in land transportation cost, and how much do the activities you want to do cost. I know that’s a lot to research, but it pays to know.
Once you know what the cost are you now have an average estimate for the trip. Write that down somewhere and for every pay cheque you receive, allocate a certain amount or a certain percentage of your money to fund your trip. Track your progress, it helps keep you motivated and you can clearly see how far you’ve gotten with your savings.
Booking a flight
I admit, flights are my biggest spend when I travel. But flights (especially business class seats), nowadays, are attainable. For quite awhile now, business class flights to Europe have been increasingly affordable. Just last September, USD $1400 flights to Europe deals were posted all over frequent flyer blogs on the internet. And I’ve seen these fares for about two years now, and they are getting cheaper. Here are a few more examples:
Another thing to remember when booking flights is to know when the best time is to book them. For domestic travel, book at least 2 months in advance. For international travel, book at least 4 months in advance. The far out you book your flights for travel, the higher the chances of getting fares that are affordable.
Also, departing on a Tuesday or a Wednesday would lower the cost of the flight. And try to include a weekend on your travel dates, it might also lower the cost.
Get free flights or free upgrades through frequent flyer miles
Most frequent flyer miles in North America have gone revenue based, so you might be wondering if there is still value with frequent flyer miles. And to that I say, yes! Alaska Mileage Plan, which in my opinion is the most valuable miles within North America, still hasn’t gone revenue based yet. On top of that, they usually run promotions all throughout the year to purchase miles with 20-40% bonus.
Also, Alaska Airlines are partnered with unique airlines, which I would gladly fly with in a heartbeat. So if your destination is in Asia, I recommend buying miles through one of their promotions and using the miles you purchased to fly business class. It would be much affordable rather than buying business class tickets. They also allow one stopover (of more than 24 hours), which translates to another destination to visit. Score!
But if you are loyal to the big three airline alliances, namely Star Alliance, One World, and Sky Team, then register for other mileage plans within those alliances that haven’t gone revenue based. For Star Alliance, I suggest checking out ANA Mileage Club. For One World, look at British Airways Avios. And for Sky Team, check out KLM Flying Blue or Korean Air Skypass.
Make travelling your full time job
Another way to afford how to travel is to make travel your 9-to-5 job. Airlines are continually expanding to new routes nowadays in order to meet the travel demands of consumers. Which translates to more job openings within the travel industry.
Make the most out of this opportunity by applying for flight attendant jobs. Flight attendants may work long hours, but they have long stopovers too. The flight attendants that I’m acquainted with make use of their long stopovers to explore and travel the current destination they are in. To say that their Instagram feeds are wanderlust-inducing is an understatement.
Another way to make travelling your full time job is to be a travel blogger. Bloggers earn through a lot of means; they come up with very creative ways to earn money. Earning money by being a travel blogger could be from affiliate sales, or actual product sales, or some service you might offer, or through brand ambassadorship. The list could go on and on, check out this list compiled by Travel Freedom Podcast:
So there you have it, a list on how people can afford travel. Always remember that you don’t have to go far away from home to experience other culture. For those of us in North America, try going to Central America. It won’t burn a hole in your pocket, I promise!