People always ask me how do I get to travel so much and the truth is, I never really thought about the answer to that question…until now. In the past 2 years, the opportunities for travel that have been afforded to me have been amazing. I’ve traveled to numerous states in the US, across time zones and continents and even managed to go south of the border (that is, south of my home country of the Bahamas). Sure, I know what you’re saying; I must be rich or work for an airline company. The answer is no and I WISH! But there is no secret to how I’m able to travel so much. What I’ve done is figured out a way to travel while at the same time being cost effective.
Here are a few ways, based on my experiences, of how to travel frequently while cutting cost at the same time:
1. PLAN AHEAD: this is perhaps the base of traveling frequently and cheaper. For me, there are 4 times per year when I’m sure to go on trips abroad. Anything else is random (not so much planning). But I find that when you plan ahead, you are in a better financial position. You will have a clearer idea of exactly what you’re up against and how you can reasonably expect to reach your destination.
2. SAVE SAVE SAVE: if you know it’s winter 2012 and you wanna take a trip in the spring of 2013, don’t wait until then to attempt to make the necessary provisions; this is assuming you’re not rich and on a budget like me. Each month, put something aside and make small sacrifices in an effort to get as much money as you may need for your trip. This all comes back to planning ahead.
3. Join travel sites: I found this to be one of the easiest ways to assist in deciding your destination. When you join travel sites such as Orbtiz, Kayak, Hotwire & Expedia (just to name a few), you subscribe to their mailing list. When there are travel deals you get first privileges sent directly to you (via email) rather than having to go and look for them. Perhaps there are cities or airlines that interest you. By joining these sites, you create a profile which outlines special travel preferences, therefore narrowing your search and your likes.
4. Couch surf: SAY WHAT?!?! No no no, I’m not saying show up on someone’s doorstep and ask them to stay on their couch for a while. But a good way to find accommodations at your destination is to join web sites that offer you the option of staying at private residences for a much cheaper rate. A popular site (that I personally use) is airbnb.com. What this site does is provides a listing of hundreds of vacancies for short term stay for a fraction of the cost of a hotel. You just select your city, input your dates and let them (airbnb) take it from there. There are hundreds of thousands of listings worldwide; it’s completely easy to set up a profile; and100% safe because they do verifications on each profile (including yours). And did I mention it’s CHEAP I stayed at an apartment complex in New York for 7 days and paid less than $250, whereas staying in a hotel would’ve been $259 A NIGHT. So it’s a win!
5. Become a rewards member of each airline you fly. Ever heard the term “membership has its privileges”? Well it does, especially for airline companies. Joining is easy and free and by joining, every time you fly you get points or rewards. Airlines such as JetBlue offer a rewards program called “True Blue” and the rewards and ways to earn points are endless! These rewards can range from free flights to flight coupons and even early boarding (priority access) and who doesn’t want that?
These are my top 5 ways for traveling frequently while protecting your wallet. Of course these are not guaranteed to work for everyone. You can always marry a millionaire and not pay a dime to fly around the world (a guy can dream right), but until that happens, feel free to use my tips and tricks!