How DO They Afford Travel?

Not too long ago, my husband wondered how my parents were able to afford some of the travel they have been doing in recent years.

Part of the secret is that my mom started a career as a teach in her 50s, after all the kids left, and that little bit of extra income helped out a lot. The other reason that they can afford travel is due to the fact that they know a few travel hacks that benefit them.

One of the cool things about travel is that it can be more affordable that you expect. If you want to make it happen, even on a limited budget, it’s possible. This is something I discovered earlier this year in my quest to have an awesome spring break with my son. You really can save 50 percent — or more — off the “sticker price” of travel.

Saving Money on Travel

My parents and I employ mostly conventional tactics in our efforts to save money on travel. We do things like look for discounts, book travel at the best times, and use our credit card and loyalty reward points.

However, there are other ways to save as well. I have friends who look for travel on sites like Airbnb, as well as who look on sites that hook you up with people willing to let you couch surf. I also have friends who have taken advantage of programs that allow you to do work in exchange for room and board. You work a few hours a day, and you don’t have to worry about your maintenance costs. This works well if you plan to go to another country and stay in one place for a few weeks.

If you are willing to think outside the box, and once you decide that you don’t need some of the trappings of travel that make it a little more comfortable, you might find that you really can afford to do more travel than you expected (although the situation might be different if you have kids).

The Dark Side: What If You Really Can’t Afford the Travel?

Of course, the other side to the coin is that you might be going into debt in order to enjoy your fabulous vacations. I know that some of the people my husband wonders about go on vacation because they put the money on a credit card, or because they got a cash-out refinance for their home. When my husband wonders how they “afford” to travel, I point out the truth: They can’t actually afford it.

While traveling can provide rich experiences that can add to your life, it’s important to carefully consider the true cost. If you are going into debt for travel, you might be putting your financial future at risk. Remember to add the cost of interest to your calculations, and then consider making a plan to save up, or looking for less expensive alternatives.

I love travel and think it’s worthwhile, but I also think that it shouldn’t come at the expense of your financial freedom.

About the Author

Miranda writes about financial topics for several web sites. Her blog is Planting Money Seeds, and her book, Confessions of a Professional Blogger, is available on Amazon.