How can you afford to travel?

You may be thinking it too.  I’ve been asked that question a dozen or so times in the past month.  I took a dream solo holiday for 12 days to Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and the United Kingdom for less than $1000.00.  It only took a little patience, flexibility, and resourcefulness.


Here’s what I did to get on that plane:

  1. FIVE DOLLAR JAR
    I don’t spend $5 bills.  They all go into my “holiday” jar.  Once I save $500 I allow myself to start planning.  I already have a few places in mind. Planning takes a few months. I stated saving in October of 2015 and was ready to book something by March 2016.  By the time I actually leave I usually have a few hundred more for spending. 
  2. ALERTS
    I set alerts on no less than 10 travel sites for where I wanted to go.
  3. AirBNB & HOSTELWORLD
    I searched AirBNB and HostelWorld. I love AirBNB but traveling solo made me think differently.  I wanted to meet people and Hostels provide a lot of socialization.  I also felt safer staying in a room of strangers than staying by myself.
  4. FLEXIBLE DATES
    I had an open schedule.  Weekdays are cheaper than weekends to travel.  45 days out can also be as cheap as 14.  My daughter had an unexpected event and I had to cancel my original dates with a $75 change fee.  I couldn’t believe that the new travel dates two weeks out were actually cheaper than the original price booked six weeks in advance.
  5. THINK ABOUT DIFFERENT VACATION SPOTS
    I wanted to see the world and discover new places.  I didn’t need to stay in the most expensive places or cities.  Clearly, there are exotic or popular spots that cost more due to tourist inflation. I also don’t need 5 star anymore. I want a clean space but plan on spending as little time in the room as possible. I’m traveling to see the world.

I found a flight to Norway for $138 and my ticket home from Stockholm was $98. I flew roundtrip for less than it would cost me to go visit my sister in Ohio. I stayed in Hostels or with friends for between $24-65 a night. I took flights between countries for $39, $24, and $9. 

Once I arrived, I went to a market to buy food for breakfast and snacks. I ate early in my room or lobby while hanging out, ate out for brunch nearly every day, ate a snack or two and then only had 2 sit down dinners when I wasn’t picnicing with the food I bought at the store in a park or on the go. I saw nearly everything the city had to offer for free. I paid for two admissions, chose them wisely and was very happy with my choices.

    *It’s not always easy to scour through websites for months but it’s worth it. For Christmas I promised my girls we’d go to Florida this year. I also told them I wouldn’t fly there for more than $250 per person. I was beginning to think I wouldn’t be able to find anything even near that price. But I finally found a deal for $126 there and $98 home on different airlines. I’ve been looking since December. Last week I found an amazing AirBnb home 2 miles from Universal Studios for $50 a night with full access to a kitchen, minutes from a bus stop, and a pool and hot tub.  We can’t wait.

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