Travel Planning: Money

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After stumbling upon a blog post about saving for travel on one of my favorite sites: herpackinglist.com, I decided to write about how we do just that, save. I’ve had quite a shocking number of people actually be surprised that we were going to be taking two weeks off and crossing the pond to Italy. I heard, “How can you afford that?”, “Isn’t it so expensive?”, “I have too many bills to pay to take a vacation.” Well, we saved money, plain and simple. I wanted to travel by any means possible.

Turns out, ‘any means’ was actually quite easy to come by. I own a small pet grooming salon, Woofus Pet Spa. I get cash tips from some of my clients and Marcus and I decided to take those tips and stockpile them until we had enough for a trip. We’ve been saving tips, birthday money, Christmas money, basically anything not in cash flow. Since early 2013, I have amassed almost $3000. We will be flying coach, sleeping in hostels and basically be budget travelling. With the $4000 I plan to have saved for this trip, we won’t be staying in luxurious hotels or taking cabs around Rome, but we will be able to see more of the city, lay our heads on a bed in a hostel, and hopefully be able to live a little more like a local and less like a tourist for two weeks.

6881485010_da66a9b933We are also planning a family vacation with my side including my parents and siblings. We decided to each put away $100 at Christmas and $50 each on everyone’s birthday. It comes out to $500 a year, or about $10 a week per person. Now $500 might seem high to some people, but think about it. $10 a week is two drinks at Starbucks, one movie ticket or two extra value meals at McDonald’s. If we can spend money on those things, why not save it to visit Greece or Turkey?

One of my biggest breakthroughs personally was getting my unnecessary spending under control. To accomplish this, I had a sit-down with myself and started thinking about what I really wanted. Did I want more stuff, or did I want more memories, more stamps in my passport and more living in my life? Truth is, stuff was the least of the things I wanted. Now when I go shopping I ask myself what is more important and what will make me happiest. Will those shoes make me happy for more than a few days or would that $50 be better spent on admission to see a museum in Paris or take a gondola ride in Venice? Most times I chose to not buy whatever I’m thinking about.

We have a separate bank account that I monitor frequently so I can track our progress. It’s 6793826885_d3b6befb99been rewarding for me to see how quickly savings can grow if you just let it!

I also have plans to get a travel credit card, which we will get shortly before buying our plane tickets. Most cards give you 50,000+ points if you spend so much on the card within the first few months. We then hope to start moving all of our daily spending to the credit card and will pay off the bill each month. This will help accrue points quickly which can then be used for airfare. Pretty easy way to simplify spending and get a nice perk out of it at the same time. It’s just very important to pay off the balance in full each month or the benefits could be useless. This might help us get a free $1000 plane ticket in a few years, which is pretty cool, and gives us more money to spend on our actual trip!

Do you have any interesting ways for us to save more money? Is there a method you use to save for something special? Let us know!

Photo Sources: epSos.de, Tax Credits, 401(k) 2012

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3 Replies to “Travel Planning: Money”

  1. I’d just add that those credit cards can be free money if you do it right. Like you said, pay it off every month. Then just route your normal spending from debit cards and any auto-payments you have through the credit card. Because you pay it off every month, you don’t actually spend any more money than you did before, AND you get the rewards the card offers. It can be a win-win. So long as you don’t carry a balance.

    • Very good points! There are a lot of good websites out there dedicated to showing you how to use your credit card points to get free travel and basically earn rewards for consolidating your spending.

  2. Pingback: Travel Planning: The Budget - Tripping on Cobblestones

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