My husband, Alex, and I recently sold everything (house, cars, furniture), quit our jobs, and set out from Seattle to travel the world full time. We saved up a bit of money and didn’t plan on working abroad so we had to learn how to travel smart and not overpay. It seems like everything associated with tourism always comes at a high price, so we had to find ways to avoid the tourist traps.
Here are our top three tips for saving money as a full-time traveler:
Travel reward credit card
This one is huge for us. Get a credit card that will give you points or money back for the money you spend on travel. You will be spending this money anyway, so why not get some kickback? Our number one rule with credit cards is to pay it off completely at every statement so that we don’t get into debt for “points.” We can use these points for flights, hotels, cars, and activities. We use the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, so the following details relate to that, but many other companies offer similar programs. Our program gets us three points for every dollar spent for travel, car rentals, and restaurants; everything else is one point per dollar. Since we’re traveling full time, we rack up points fast because that’s all we spend our money on. With this credit card, we also get a lounge pass that gives us access to over 950 lounges worldwide. This Priority Pass is over $100 per person if you were to purchase it for a year subscription. Since most lounges serve food and drinks, you save a lot of money at airports as well.
Compare all travel websites before booking your hotel
We always check Expedia, Priceline, Hotel Tonight, and Booking.com before we book our hotel. Each company is allotted a certain amount of rooms so they can price them however they want. For example, when we were in Slovenia we found a hotel we wanted to stay at; on Expedia it was going for $471 but when we checked Priceline it was only $90. No site is consistently cheapest, so it’s a good idea to check them all each time. Also, in most cases you can get a better price by calling the hotel directly and asking for a deal—more often than not, they will give you one.
Search flights through Google Flights
Google Flights lets you see which day is the cheapest to fly, how much it is to fly from your city to any destination around the world, and connects you to the company that is offering the deal. Even if we’re using the points we accumulate with our credit card, we always check Google Flights first to check which day is better to fly and it’s usually less points to fly on that day too. Sometimes it can be a difference of hundreds of dollars between the days. It has saved us lots of money—thank you Google.
Traveling can be intimidating and we know not everyone can do it full time, but we hope these tips will help you travel more for less and see the beautiful world that we live in.
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