How I Travel Without Breaking The Bank

There is a total of 196 countries (or 195 because apparently some countries don’t recognize Taiwan as an official country) in the world, and I plan to see at least 98 of those in my lifetime.

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Destination Fit Trip in Jamaica

Whoa. 98? That’s almost 100! — I know, right? But traveling is one of the many things that brings me great joy and is something I’ve always wanted to be able to do freely.  I’m always asked how I travel so much or find great deals and I’ve been promising to blog about and here it is!

  1. SAVE!

    I’m blessed to have a great job that allows me to be able to save money. Living in an expensive city I had to quickly learn how to make smart financial decisions and I made it a goal to save!

    • How I save: Digit  – a website that automates your saving! I love this app so much because it takes smalls amounts of cash based on your spending habits and saves money for you. Just that simple. You can pause it at any time and withdraw the money when necessary. Digit also gives you updates through text message. AND there’s a no overdraft guarantee! Seriously, try it out!
    • Automatic Payroll – Each pay period I have a small amount taken out of my check and put in a savings account that I hardly ever access. This method is used to build my emergency fund.
    • Weekly Savings – In the beginning of the year, I found a “Save $5,000 in a year” chart that has a weekly amount to set aside. There are plenty of different versions of this AND you don’t have to wait until the new year to start!
    • Mason Jar – I use this method when I want something that isn’t a necessity, doesn’t need to be purchased right away and is usually a bigger purchase. I calculate how many pay periods I have between now and when I want to purchase it by (or deadline/date of event/etc) and divide the total cost by that number. This is the amount that I save each pay period, in cash, in a mason jar. Silly, but effective.
      Ex: Saving $250 for an item that I wanted and had 11 pay periods in between the time I wanted to purchase it. So each check I withdrew $23 to collect in a mason jar.
  1. Take Advantage of Long Weekends

    I don’t like using too much of my Paid Time Off from work so I’ll usually choose a three-day weekend to travel. The best ones to choose are the holidays that fall on a Monday. This way I can take Friday off and travel until Sunday or Monday. Or if the holiday falls on that Friday I’ll usually either fly out Thursday night or take Thursday off as well. I know this method won’t work for everyone, but it’s worked for me not having to use too much of my PTO.

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    Climbing an active Volcano in Guatemala

  1. Forgoing Traditional Hotel

    My preferred method of lodging is Airbnb. I can usually find cheaper rates than the traditional hotel unless there’s a special going on. Airbnb is just renting out someone’s home or room for the duration of your travels. I love this method because it’s cheaper and I get to meet locals of the area and get great advice on what to do while I’m there. Click here to try out Airbnb and save $35 on your first stay!

  1. FLIGHT DEALS!

    The topic I get asked about most! I find my travel deals by visiting Skyscanner, Google Flights, Airfare Watchdog, and Secret Flying. There are TONS of sites out there that you can use to find cheaper flights. Every now and then a price will drop significantly and these sites will alert you either via your social networks or email. You must be willing to take advantage of the “error fares” right away because they are usually gone within several hours. My error fare to Guatemala and Panama only cost me $124 round trip!

  1. Travel Solo

    This, by far, is my favorite way to travel. Traveling alone has SO many perks to name, check out my tips here! For now, traveling solo helps you save money, and time, by being able to keep your itinerary flexible, not having to fork out cash for activities you don’t really care to do and places you don’t really care to eat.

  1. Don’t be a tourist

    “Don’t be a tourist? But, what else am I going there to do?” When I say don’t be a tourist I mean you don’t have to go and do all of the typical tourist things that are over-priced and usually over-crowded. Opt for touring a city on your own or with your group instead of with a guided tour (unless that’s your thing), opt for local Mom and Pop restaurants for authentic cuisine versus ones that cater to American travelers, or stay with a host family instead of a hotel or resort.

  1. RESEARCH!

    Read up on the place you’re going to visit before you get there, even if it’s domestic. This can help you save time and money by already having an idea of what to expect, and what to spend.

  1. TEAM CARRYON!

    I almost NEVER check luggage! Like, ever. It’s a hassle with time AND money. The price of baggage fees for a few of these airlines could easily fund a couple of excursions on your trip. I had to learn to not overpack (I still do even with a carry-on) and to keep travel-sized toiletries on hand or buy travel sized ones when I get to my destination. I mean, how often do you wear EVERY single thing you packed for your trip?

    *Bonus* Credit Card Perks

    I left this as a bonus because it takes discipline to use a credit card responsibly. An upside to using a credit card are the miles, cash back, and points you get when making certain purchases. I ONLY recommend using a credit card if you will be responsible it paying the bill off, credit card debt is no joke!

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    Niagara Falls, Canada side!

    That’s all for now! Want to know something specific? Feel free to contact me directly!

16 Comments

  1. Reply

    Stephanie Moisio

    August 3, 2016

    Love this blog Ashleigh!

    • Reply

      ashvaughn

      August 3, 2016

      Thank you!!!

  2. Reply

    Danika

    November 2, 2016

    I always wondered how folks took advantage of error fares. I need to subscribe for the alerts. Great advice. I’m on it.

  3. Reply

    Anitra Durand Allen

    November 2, 2016

    I can’t break the notion of staying in hotels. I just feel safer in a public lodging venue. Maybe I just need to get over it.

  4. Reply

    MimiCuteLips (@mimicutelips)

    November 2, 2016

    I love the protecting of my credit cards but they are cash rewards. So using them also gives me points I like to use for travel. I’m also notorious for extending a holiday for travel.

  5. Reply

    Carlana Charles

    November 3, 2016

    Great post! I used to wonder how average folks (people without deep pockets) traveled so much and I realize that many travel bloggers set aside money for their travel with a great degree of discipline. They also bargain hunt and they don’t do the regular tourist thing!

  6. Reply

    Tanya Barnett (@RealWifeCoach)

    November 3, 2016

    Great information. I too use Digit to save a few bucks. Thanks for sharing this…

  7. Reply

    marshasassycritic

    November 3, 2016

    These are great tips! I’ve never tried AirBnB. I’ve heard mixed reviews.

  8. Reply

    Daria

    November 3, 2016

    I must subscribe to these alerts! I do take advantage of long weekends but it’s been awhile. I also use credit cards that accumulate points so this helps. I still haven’t been able to forgo traditional hotel stays. I would like to eventually try other ways. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Reply

    Don

    November 3, 2016

    Thank you for educating me. I will give your suggestions a try.

  10. Reply

    Tryphena Wade

    November 3, 2016

    Yes Yes Yes! I love this. I actually have a blog post and podcast episode about my favourite apps for travel. It’s so important to think about and share how we’re able to travel. So many people think it’s impossible but it’s very accessible!

  11. Reply

    Latoya Scott (@lifeandabudget)

    November 3, 2016

    These are some great tips! I love automating my savings to save up for trips. Makes it really easy.

  12. Reply

    Jennifer

    November 4, 2016

    I would love to start saving for a vacation and to travel more with my family. These are really good tips! I especially like your tip to not be a tourist. I think a lot of people do not think about this point because they are focused on all of the tourist attractions.

  13. Reply

    Ty Knighten

    November 4, 2016

    These are all great tips and I am the absolute worse at saving. I have to do better, for sure.
    Thanks for listing sites for flight deals because I most beef need that info in my life!

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