Written by: Taylor Coffman
Traveling on a Budget: how to do more for less!
I asked my friend Taylor, who blogs over at Tay-Coff to Adventure!, if she would write-up an article for all of us interested in traveling, but are not really sure how to do it on a budget. Just in time for holiday travels, Taylor packs this blog post full of tips and tricks from a seasoned traveler, like herself. Grab a notepad and pen, you are going to want to take notes during this post!
Some argue money is best spent on experiences rather than things. When it comes to traveling, those memories truly are priceless. I admittedly travel a lot and it can be expensive, but there are ways to stretch a dollar to help you see the world without seeing your bank balance disappear. Here are some of my favorite ways to curb expenses:
The decision to go to Cancun was for a few reasons, and selling points. First off, we needed a getaway and wanted to make sure the getaway was budget friendly. We decided to do an “All-Inclusive” vacation. We were saving up for a vacation, just unsure of where to go but we knew we wanted something that would fit into what we had already saved. We were looking at very specific price points. We looked through other vacations, like cruises (I love cruises!!) and a few other local vacation spots.
I like to do a search on all those discounted travel websites like Expedia and Groupon, and then I do some price comparisons and research with Airbnb. For the amount of money that we would spend, over the course of a week, it just made sense to do an all-inclusive trip with CheapCaribbean.com. We knew that if we did go with an all-inclusive resort we would have the opportunity to do a timeshare presentation, and if we declined signing up for a timeshare, we would get a *free* gift. Whatever that gift would be and however long it took us to get, we were up for it! The gift turned out to be a complimentary massage!
A note about all-inclusive resorts: mostly everything is included! Starting with the airfare, cost of the hotel, cost of the meals, and sometimes the alcohol. Yes, you read that right! Additionally, the resort we stayed at has amazing WiFi all over! Even when we were on the beach, the WiFi still worked great! Our resort stocked our mini-fridge on the daily! It had things like soda, water bottles, juice, and beer. We did not have to buy any water bottles while we were there! We also were able to order room service at our leisure at no additional charge!
Now, my only drawback with all-inclusive resorts is that the food is not specialty food. I enjoy eating delicious made-for-me meals (and I usually default to a vegetarian-ish type of eating), and all-inclusive resorts usually have buffets as their main dining experience. Thankfully, the resort we opted for did include a dinner at a Teppan Grill -- which was fabulous! There was also a couple other restaurants there and that had delicious dinners! A steak restaurant and Italian restaurant.
However, when it comes to the activities outside of the resort, those will cost a pretty penny! So, be very careful when scheduling your excursions because those will add up very quickly. Pro-tip: Schedule an excursion that goes to more than one place, to get the most bang for your buck!
Importance of Traveling
I know that there are some people out there that would love to go on a vacation, but feel like they are hindered by outside circumstances. Perhaps you feel the cost of the vacation is too much to bear. Perhaps you feel like your work will not let you take a full week vacation off, OR that no one at your workplace should be filling in for you. Perhaps you think it will be challenging to leave your home and pets for the week. My guess is that because of any one of these reasons you have talked yourself out of going on a vacation!
Believe me, the pets will be fine with a family member or close friend watching over your home. It does not hurt to ask, and I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised when they do agree to watch over your home and pets. I would also like to mention how necessary it is for employers to allow you to take your vacation time that you have accrued throughout the year. It is in the best interest of the company as it is for yourself. Read this article if I still have not convinced you.
I've linked some of my favorite travel products, check them out on Amazon!
As you can see I am an advocate of taking vacations. There is nothing better than getting away with your loved ones to reset. You can even use it as a time to come together and set or create goals for the upcoming year or season. Here are a few health benefits that I have found to be true for myself when taking a vacation:
“Let’s Do the Numbers” (said in a very Kay Rissdal way)
Traveling may feel like it can be expensive, but if you save up and plan for it in time by setting small goals for yourself you will find that it is attainable. Since the All-Inclusive resort pretty much included anything we wanted at the hotel, we were very mindful about tipping our servers. (Please be mindful and tip!) So, here’s our detail breakdown of our costs.
So, given our total cost of the trip was about $1,565 each person, if you were to save up for this in one year (with 26 pay periods), that is only about $60 per paycheck! If you have other priorities right now, like paying off debt, that is great! Once you get to a point where you are in charge of your debt, start saving for that much-needed vacation of yours! I also wanted to point out that the highlighted items are frivolous spending. We spent it because we had brought cash with us for that very reason. But, you do not have to opt in to spending this money. In fact, if you take those items away you would only need to save about $50 per paycheck for a year.
Tips For Booking Your Travel
Left: Our itinerary // Right: At Tulum on one of the excursions
My thoughts on numbers, spreadsheets, money, spending, forecasting, budgeting, and everything in between. Read on!
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