The question I’ve probably gotten asked the most in the last few years is, “Emily, how do you travel so much?” This is one of those questions with a hidden implication. What their question usually means is, “Emily, how can I travel more?” Oh, glad you asked!
Now, I am not cool in any sort of way. This just happens to be a question I get asked quite a bit (assuming that I do a little more traveling than the average person, and people take notice). Some years I travel more than others, and hopefully my blog will take off in time and travel will become even more feasible. That being said, this post is for every day people who think they can’t get out of the country once a year. Who maybe take small trips here and there but nothing major. I am not a professional blogger extraordinaire (yet) who travels stylishly for a living (IF ONLY), but I do know how to make travel attainable.
Here are some simple things you can do to ensure you take more trips.
1. Set Traveling as a Goal
This may sound crazy. I mean if you asked someone what their goals are for 2016, you wouldn’t expect them to say ‘to travel more’ and you might actually hate them if they did. However as with anything in life, if you want to accomplish it, you set a goal to do it. Make traveling a goal just like going to the gym or eating healthy. What this does is help you maximize the travel opportunities you take. A weekend trip may say, “ehhhh too short, and I have a deadline Monday.” But if it’s on your goal list to travel more, then a weekend trip becomes a step toward your goal, and a goal met is a step towards traveling more. Yay! See how that works? Make it a goal or you won’t do it.
2. Save Up
This one is a no brainer. If you want to travel, you have to spend some kind of money. There are ways in which you can significantly lower your costs though, but that’s for another blog! I went over lowering your cost of airfare in 5 Steps to Researching Your Way to Cheaper Airfare. Saving up can be incredibly easy if you try a few money challenges. My favorite one is the 52 Week Challenge. Save 1$ the first week, $2 the second week, $3 the third week, and so on! That’s $25 dollars the 25th week and $52 the 52nd week (you get the idea). Over a year you’ll have accumulated over $1,300! That’s enough for a plane ticket to Moscow or Dublin right now. For more money saving challenges, check out this article on Mint Notion. She has listed lots of awesome challenges!
3. Use Your Resources
This one won’t be fun if you’re not a people person, but it’s also a good way to get involved and put yourself out there. Before I plan a trip I always think “who do I know that lives in X?” If you know someone, awesome! Contact them and see if they wouldn’t mind putting you up for a week. I remember having a Russian language teacher who said I could stay with her and her son if I ever visited Russia. In Hawaii, my boyfriend and I met a couple from Portugal who we exchanged emails with who also offered to put us up if we ever came again. So make opportunities for yourself and don’t be shy.
It’s also a good idea to reach out to your closest friends to see if anyone wants to split a trip with you. Have no friends? You can utilize sites like TravBuddy and Workaway. Workaway is neat because you get to stay places for free in exchange for work. Really hate people? Try a luxury hostel where you can have your own (nice) bedroom and still save tons of money. See, I got you covered.
4. Get a Miles Card
Miles cards can be very rewarding if used the right way. When you sign up most companies will give you bonus miles right off the bat. When you do take trips you’ll also get things like priority boarding and a free checked bag. Do your research and find out which card best suits your lifestyle and spending habits. I always say, if you’re going to spend money anyway, as might as well rack up some miles in the process! Make sure if you’re making a big purchase that you check before hand to see if you can get miles from it. And lastly, I recommend going with an airline company that’s more versatile like a United or British Airways. If you go with an airline like Alaskan or Southwest, their routes are going to be more limited. So again, choose which card is best for the traveling you want to do.
5. Cut Down Spending Money on Material Things
Let’s face it you don’t really need that new Calvin Klein coat, Chloé handbag, or Choo shoes. You also don’t need those eight cute tops from Forever 21 that will probably fall apart after three washes. Studies show that buying experiences make us happier in the long run. Material things give us a temporary feeling of satisfaction, while we feel more satisfaction and happiness in the trips we take and the experiences we have for much longer. If you like to shop and don’t fancy going cold turkey, try going every other pay day without shopping (yes ladies, this includes online). The pay day you go without shopping you can then put the money you would have spent aside in a travel fund. Other tips include brining your lunch to work or brining your coffee from home. These expenses can really add up. Plus your waistline might also thank you. Two for one!
6. Be on the Lookout For Deals
When you keep your eyes open you can find amazing travel deals. Make sure you’re signed up for all the discount trip sites like Expedia, Groupon, and Trip Advisor. It pays to follow airline companies on Facebook and Twitter where they share a lot of their deals and promos to their followers first. Signing up for sites like Airfare Watchdog if you already have a destination in mind will help you snag your ticket when it’s at its best price! And you can’t forget Black Friday. Airlines and travel companies are doing lots of deals on Black Friday and I saw some really good ones this year!
7. Go in the Offseason
This is probably one of the biggest variables in why I am able to travel more. I travel when other people don’t want to. Spend a Christmas in Moscow and freeze your butt off, it will still be beautiful (think ice skating in Red Square). Or hit up Thailand just before the winter months when the prices skyrocket. Want to go to Spain or Portugal? Go in September just after the tourist season and still get great weather at half the cost. In order to do this you must keep an open mind and positive outlook. I know it seems more fun to be somewhere when everyone else is, and while you may not get the best weather, it is what you make it. I truly believe that!
How do you plan to travel more this year? Or what’s the biggest thing that prevents you from doing so? Comment below to start a conversation. I love reading your travel stories and answering questions!