Friday, July 4, 2014

Cutting Costs to Save for Travel

I follow a lot of travelers on social media that just travel full time. Sometimes they write articles on how they are able to afford to do all that traveling without having a job. Thats all well and good but what about those of us that have a job, a house, a family (dogs, kids, whatever)? How are we supposed to travel if we can't just drop everything? Here are some things we do to save:

Every year since we have been married we have taken a vacation; some might even say a fancy-shmancy vacation. In 2010 we went to Key West, Florida; in 2011 we took our first trip to Hawaii Island and then went back in and visited Kauai in 2012. We skipped 2013 because we bought a new house and in 2014 we went on a mini tour of Europe and Chicago.

We don’t travel as much as I'd like to; we're constrained by distance (the US is a big place) and vacation time (on average Americans only get 13 vacation days a year... we get 15).  And we don’t travel as much as my ex-pat bloggers do (those luck ducks)! But I wanted to share a few things that we cut back on so we can save more money and in turn take a fantastic vacation every year.

1 - We use the United MileagePlus credit card with Chase to its fullest. We put everything on it, even the $4.00 convenience store purchases. All of our bills go on this card and we even used it when we bought our new car. Keep in mind that we pay this off at the end of each month, if you aren't paying it off you're actually paying them for your points.

We also just opened our first hotel rewards credit card and are planning on using those points for three free nights in Hawaii next year.
*there is a lot that goes into using these credit cards. Please make sure you read all the fine print. Email me if you want to discuss more.

2 - Speaking of a new car, we just traded our gas guzzling truck (everyone has one in Texas) in for a Toyota Prius V. Now instead of getting 13 mpg we're getting on average 50 mpg! I can see the savings in gas already!

3 - We don’t have cable. Yes, you read that right, we don’t have cable and we haven’t for about two years. We have an over the air antenna that lets us get all of our local channels for free. We do share a Netflix account with another family member.

4 - We just made the jump from AT&T to Ting for our cellular provider. We were paying $140 a month for our two iPhones and their data plans and now we're looking at paying about $80 a month and we still have our iPhones. Click here to make the switch and save $25!.

To save on the vacation itself, be smart, by a bundle from a travel agent (AAA has great deals) or rent a house instead of staying at a hotel. And if you are staying in a house cook your own meals. Pack your lunch for your outings and skip paying 4,00€ for a soda. We always pack our lunch when we're on vacation. Bring an empty, reusable water bottle with you and fill it up as you go instead of buying a new one every time. 

How do you save for travel? 

And Happy 4th of July to my fellow Americans! 

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