Traveling on a Budget
Adventure is out there! (but it sure can be EXPENSIVE). Zach and I have been dreaming of taking a trip to Europe for so long, and in just a few days, we'll finally be jetting off on a trip we thought we'd never be able to afford. We've learned travel doesn't have to be completely out of reach. There are plenty of money-saving hacks we've used to afford this vacay, and today we're sharing them with you!
Tip #1: Download the Hopper App
One of my friends recommended this to us, and it’s blown our minds! Hopper predicts prices and helps you book your flights at the most affordable times. You just plug in the city you want to travel to and the app will show you a calendar of the next few months with selections of when you can get the most affordable tickets. This is perfect if you’re flexible on your dates. But, you can also “watch” flights. Go ahead and select the specific days you want to fly, and the app will shoot you a notification as flight prices vary in the coming weeks. For example, it might say something like “Your flight to Denver, CO is currently $___. We predict prices will drop in a few weeks. Keep waiting.” OR you can get the golden notification that finally says, “Your flight to Denver, CO is currently $___. This is the lowest price we predict. Book now.”
We seriously regret not using this app for our last couple of trips because for our upcoming trip, we were watching flights for a few months, and we were able to see some seriously good deals pop up around Christmas.
You can totally just go ahead and book the tickets directly through the app too, which makes it very simple. But to get even more bang for our buck, we went through Chase Bank, which leads us to…
Tip #2: Sign up for the Chase Sapphire Credit Card
With this credit card, you automatically earn 60,000 points which amounts to $750 toward travel if you spend $4,000 in the first three months. That can possibly sound like a lot to spend, but we just started switching over to using the credit card for all our purchases instead of our debit card and paying it back immediately from our bank account.
As with any credit card, be wise with it. Pay it off in time so you never have to pay interest. I log into our Chase account and pay off the credit card every 2-3 days. We basically just treat it like it’s our bank account instead of a credit line. Credit card swipes, we pay it back. We don’t like leaving it in debt.
There is a $95 annual fee, but because you get that $750 toward travel in those first few months, it totally pays itself off. Plus, you just keep accumulating points each time you use it and getting cash back even after that first $750 they give you. And, you get 2x the points any time you use your card on travel and dining. I really do think your cash back will outweigh the $95 each year.
Once we knew the dates flights were the cheapest based on the Hopper app, we logged into the Rewards Center of the Chase Sapphire Card and we booked the flights using our points (which covered a large chunk of our trip).
To learn more or sign up for the card click here.
Tip #3: Be willing to go cheap on your AirBnB.
You’ll be surprised with how many affordable places you can find to stay in Europe.
Here’s what we’re doing:
We booked a little AirBnB that’s just outside of London, and we opted for the “Private Room” in a home option. We were a bit concerned about how awkward it might be to stay in someone’s home, with them still there. But, we actually managed to find one in which the room is more like a guest home in their backyard. It has its own separate entrance and everything. It’s a very modest space, nothing super luxe, but it has a small kitchen and they’re providing some breakfast essentials so that will save us from spending more $$ on eating out at least for one meal each day. The best of all is that we got it for about $60 a night.
That gave us some more wiggle room when we were booking a place to stay in Paris. For Paris, we’re going with a full apartment instead of just the private room. There are lots of AirBnB options in Paris for about $100 per night (which is honestly more affordable than most U.S. hotels). Our specific BnB is just a few steps from a market, so we’re looking forward to checking that out and bringing back some items to cook a few meals in-house.
If you want any specific links to the places we’re staying, shoot me a DM and I’d be happy to share after we return.
Tip #4: Watch lots of travel vlogs.
Zach and I have inhaled hundreds of travel vlogs on YouTube at this point, but I do think they’ve been really helpful. It’s nice to hear from people that have already visited the places you want to see because many times they’ll share what’s worth seeing and what’s not. I think it can help you plan your trip better and save you from wasting money on things that are not important to you.
Tip #5: GO FOR IT.
At the end of they day, traveling is still going to cost you a chunk of change. Zach and I knew we had to make some sacrifices to be able to do this. We sat down and discussed, “Okay, so would we rather continue saving this to buy a house sooner, or do we use it for travel instead?” Ultimately, for us, it really feels like a great time to go out on a travel adventure. Yes, that means we’ll have to wait a little longer to get some of the other things we want, but that’s okay. I don’t know how soon we’ll be able to afford another international trip, but I’m really glad we’re taking this one now.
Thanks for reading today and happy adventuring friends!!!
With so much love,