At 23 years old, I never really felt truly like an adult. Sure, I have a full-time job, pay (pretty much) all my own bills, and make my own doctors appointments. But, I still often feel like I'm just a confused kid trying to figure everything out.
That is until I planned my first vacation. Nothing makes me feel more like a full grown person like planning where I want to go, finding the best deal, and paying for it myself!
This August, I planned and paid for a trip to Vegas with my boyfriend. I've already got out next trip in January to Phoenix locked and loaded!
I think that one of the biggest reasons that most people, especially those my age don't travel more is money. That's definitely a big burden for me as well. But, as someone who makes less than $20,000 a year, I can tell you that traveling does not have to break the bank.
Both week long trips I've planned across the country, have cost me less than $800 for two people! Could you spare $400 for a great vacation? Here are some tips on saving money for travel.
1. Sign up for email lists.
I know that email clutter is never fun, but when it comes to having the vacation of your dreams, you can manage. I'm signed up on Frontier Airlines, Spirit, Expedia, Tripadvisor, basically anything that offers great travel deals. You know before anyone else when there is a deal! I booked our Pheonix flight during their $29 flight weekend that I only saw through an email! Talk about cheap!
2. Air BNB.
Hotels can definitely cut right through your budget. So, I'm glad that I discovered Air BNB, which is a website where people rent out their rooms and homes. It may sound strange. but the places for the same price in the area were nicer than most hotels and included more (ex. a kitchen, more rooms/beds, a host to show us around, etc.) This is my first time using it, but our room looks beautiful so I recommend!
3. Split costs with a SO/friend.
Nothing is cheaper than flying with a friend! Splitting the costs gives you double the fun for half the price! But seriously, travel with someone so you can split hotel costs or food costs. Plus, you have a travel companion for adventures.
4. Plan ahead of time.
Give yourself plenty of time before your trip to scan the web for deals. I usually beginning planning a trip 3 or 4 months before. The more time means less stress and you can think about your options before deciding.
5. Bundle your trip.
I strongly believe that my Vegas trip was so cheap because we bundled our flight and hotel on Spirit.com (plus they had a really good Vegas deal). Most airlines bundle hotel and you can save big! Also, sights like Expedia offer deals for bundling. On top of that, you can knock out all the travel details in one click!
6. Have flexible destinations.
I've noticed that travel sites have deals for certain places. So, if you're planning on going on vacation, it helps to be flexible on where you want to travel. We didn't plan to go to Vegas but I saw a 45% off deal on Spirit Airlines and had to take it! Of course, the trip was a blast and cheap too!
7. Bring snacks.
The best part about planes is that you can bring your own food! Pack some travel snacks to keep you from ordering overprices ones on airplanes. You can also bring travel sized liquids (we had a blast with travel sized liquor and just ordered a sprite on the plane, much cheaper than an actual drink!). Plus, anything you have leftover can be used while on the trip to save on food!
8. Don't pack more than you need.
Pack the essentials and travel light. Most budget airlines charge you for bags and have weight limits. For our Vegas trip, we have two 40 pound bags and didn't need everything we took. For phoenix, we are flying Frontier and they allow 50-pound bags, so we are just bringing one bag for the both of us to cut down costs. Also, don't underestimate the free personal bag! As long as it fits under your seat, you can put as much as you need in it!
9. Fly on weekdays.
I've noticed that the old flying myth of traveling Mondays and Tuesdays is pretty true. I tend to find better deals when I fly out on these days. Being flexible with your travel dates also makes vacations cheaper to book.
10. Don't book right away.
Look for deals! Always shop around. Use Google flights to compare prices! I usually shop around a couple months before deciding because you never know how things will change from week to week. I try multiple different sites to ensure that I'm getting the best bang for my buck. Definitely look before you book!
Uber was an invention created by geniuses. Renting a car for travel is too expensive. When we travel, Uber is our main way to get around. With a car, you have to pay for parking and gas and go through a long process. With Uber, you can go from place to place for cheap and see the sites while you ride. In Vegas, a lot of Uber drivers had information about places to visit while we're here. I highly recommend it when traveling.