Being a frequent traveler means that I am bombarded with tons of frequently asked questions. Whether it be from close friends, family or strangers. There always seems to be a sense of admiration and mystery between those who travel often and those who do not. I thought it would be a good idea to do a series of blogs answering the most frequent questions I am asked by everyone in regards to my travel adventures. These questions are probably what draws most people to blogs and other travel related forums. I have realized that, I haven’t really shared much of my travel inside scoop with you and your probably wondering when, or have already said forget this blog. I hope it’s the latter and your still there waiting on me to share.
Now most travelers are not going to give away all their secrets and honestly it’s not because they don’t want you to get a piece of the deal too, however what happens when secrets are shared is that the secret is exposed and dried up. It’s not really for lack of wanting to share, but more so protecting the loop holes so they do not close permanently, by those who are inexperienced in handling them. My best advice to those who are interested in getting on the frequent traveler train is to align yourself with a travel group or forum or blog. They will share with you much of what they do and how they get greats deals. OK! enough of my rambling on… back to the reason at hand. I’m asked many questions, so I will answer them one at a time, so I am not overwhelming you with information or ideas.. here we go
This is probably the number one question anyone who has more than 2 travel photos posted on their Facebook or Instagram per year is asked. How can you afford to travel so much? Followed by comments like, you must make a lot of money, I have bills, I have fill in the blank.. the list goes on and on…throw in some judging and side eyes and you get the picture.
Answer: The best answer I can give to this question is I am able to afford traveling so much because it’s a priority to me, much like whatever it is you believe is an essential part of your monthly bills are to you. That includes expenses such as rent, food, utilities children, school… you get the drift. You will never be able to afford to travel the way I do if you do not hold traveling as a high priority in your life. Many of you see travel as a luxury, a reward only tapped into when you have earned it. For me traveling is an essential part of who I am and how I learn and grow in the world. Traveling is as important to me as education because it is a form of education to me. Yes it’s fun but I truly believe that traveling the world is the best way to break down barriers, cure ignorance and be connected to the global community.
The financial aspect of travel is probably the most important piece you are interested in but to me its really not the most crucial part of frequent travel.. shocking .. I know! Here is how I approach it. I have a separate bank account for travel. I transfer a set amount or an amount I can afford to each pay period. That account is used for all things travel related and if its empty I don’t travel. If it’s low I don’t travel until its replenished. You have to make a conscious effort to set aside money for travel and in order to do so I find that creating a separate account works best.. that’s it .. that’s my secret! just messing, read on for what i view as the most essential aspects.
Now, if you do not hold traveling to the same standards as I do, traveling will always be something far fetched for you and it shouldn’t be. Additionally, I am able to travel so much because like anything else I buy, I like a bargain. I love deals and I make it my business to know about all things travel, which includes budget traveling. Yes, there are times when I don’t mind splurging on a vacation, again this goes back to my initial statement, traveling is a priority to me,like any other expense I have. But what many of you may not believe or comprehend is that, traveling is really not as expensive as you may think. Not quite the epiphany answer you thought you were going to get right? Traveling is really a personal thing and how you view it will make all the difference in how much you do it.
Yes there are deals out there but not the kind of deals most people think, like for instance it’s not like Macy’s where there is a 50 percent off coupon sent to your house every week, and no matter who you know that works for an airline they cannot get you a discount. They simply get you a pass to travel standby, but in no way shape or form can they affect the price of a regular ticket. See, to be a true traveler, it takes research and education. Unfortunately most people don’t have the patience or the desire it takes to learn the necessary information, thus leaving them to believe that traveling is a luxury not for the common man.
Deals come in various forms such as airline glitches.. yes a glitch meaning an error. Technology is a gift and a curse for airlines. Sometimes in rear occurrences a glitch allows a blessing of a cheap airfare to travelers.. That’s more advanced and would have to be discussed in another blog. Then there is simply seasons.. !! what? the season you say? Yes.. you know winter fall spring etc.. Much like your wardrobe travel is dictated by season. Every destination has a high and low season.. if your becoming a smart traveler this is where you make the connection to, little money means you travel in the low season( hope you caught that nugget). The biggest tip for travel is you cannot, I repeat, you cannot book a flight based on set dates and expect the best deal. You must be flexible, find the deal first then plan the travel around it. Yes there are times when I want to go to a specific place at a specific time, however if the price is right I’m always willing to change my dates and destination.
The average person who plans a vacation is too committed to their dates and destination to ever really find a deal. Let go of those dates, be flexible in your destination and you will find traveling a cheaper experience. Lastly, research. On average when I am going somewhere I compare at least 5 different websites for prices. Just because you saw a flight for 400 dollars on Expedia doesn’t mean you can’t find a cheaper deal on Travelocity. You cannot buy the first ticket you see without comparing different outlets.
You must search and compare and manipulate your dates.I buy the cheapest ticket right away, airline tickets don’t ever get cheaper, they always go up so try to lock in the price you see as soon as possible, if you do not have much time for planning. You should always buy tickets at least 14 days in advance for the best price, and even that is cutting it close if you’re not an expert at finding deals.
Not quite the insight you were hoping I’m sure, but what I’m trying to drive home to you is that traveling is not a luxury and anyone can afford it according to their own budgets however it takes research, patience and flexibility.Yes, you must come up with a financial plan for doing so like opening a separate account, or hiding 5 dollars a week under the mattress.. you get my point the idea here is not to get caught up in the financial tactics of travel, but to open your mind to resources and education, that allows traveling to be just as cheap as that pair of shoes you caught on discount or that black Friday TV you camped out for.. same concept.In order to indulge in and frequently partake in travel your mentality about travel has to change and that is the key to affording travel! Trust me it didn’t all click for me overnight either, but one day it did and I became a smart traveler!