Do you dream of travel, but think it’s just not in your financial realm of possibility? We have a few ideas that make travel more accessible than you think! Would you believe that we’ve had multiple ocean view accommodations for only $35 USD/night or that we’ve found a way to have the cost of our flights almost entirely covered? We love travel and have no plans of slowing down as our family grows, so here are a few ways we have found that we can travel without going into debt for it.
1. Prioritize where you spend your money
There is no right or way to spend your money. Everyone’s financial circumstances are different. Not everything that we do will work for you and your family, but we want to share the ideas and beliefs that we have in our family that place traveling as our number one priority. We live in California. It is insanely expensive to live here. Not only is our real estate incredibly high, so are our taxes. Not just our income taxes, but our car registration, our gasoline, our property and sales tax. If you live here, you do not have much money left over after you pay your bills, so prioritizing your disposable income is paramount. We are not millionaires. We aren’t trust fund kids. We are real, normal every day Americans who need to budget and plan if we want to stretch our dollars.
Our family mantra is “collect memories, not things.” The emphasis is on family. We are united in this effort. If one of us collects memories and the other collects things, we aren’t gong to make much impact and we should find another mantra. We don’t care about status or having nice things. We don’t have tattoos. We don’t drink. We drive two Kia cars. We don’t buy expensive clothes or jewelry. Our kids also have very modest wardrobes. Our idea of a date is getting a $5 California burrito and eating it at the beach. We rarely eat out. Chelsea gets her purses at sample sales for about $10. We have a small and old house that we work on ourselves. We don’t go out much. We are pretty simple people who live well within our means. To many people, this is boring. We don’t have cool tattoos or luxurious cars or fancy meals…and we are okay with that. Why do we live the way we do? Because we want to see the world, and given our circumstances, we cannot afford to do all of the aforementioned things and have money to buy four plane tickets and jet set.
2. Be flexible on WHEN you travel
If you are trying to travel in peak summer or around Christmas, you will have a very hard time finding travel deals. Traveling at off-season, is your key to saving big time. Sometimes, it is cheaper to leave a day or two or a week or two before or after what you were hoping. Using low fare calendars that sites like Kayak and Google Flights have, will allow you to see how much you can save by adjusting your desired travel dates just slightly. We have saved hundreds of dollars per ticket by just booking whenever it is cheap.
3. Be flexible on WHERE you travel
We want to see so many places in the world. There is at least one country on every continent that we are constantly looking at prices. When we find good deals, we book tickets. Maybe we wanted to go to Portugal but South Africa popped up on our radar for a steal of a deal. Portugal isn’t going anywhere. We can go later.
4. Stay at AirBnBs if you are a family
Hotels are great, but they’re expensive. AirBnBs are less expensive and typically have kitchens and much more room. We typically prefer these to hotels, as they are more affordable and allow us to save money by cooking our own meals. Having a separate room from the kids is nice too!
5. Rent out your house on AirBnB for extra cash while you are away
We just started doing this last year and, it of course comes with risk, but the cost of our flights and/or accommodations were completely covered by this added income. Everyone has treated our house with respect and so far, so good.