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(Last Updated On: December 27, 2020)
Afford travel

Summary: How to afford travel, low budget travel tips, free campsites, apps I use, credit card programs and more

Social media paints a picture that I travel frequently, and I do! Not frequently in the way you might think though. Most of the places I travel to are within a 5-hour drive of wherever I’m living. It’s amazing what you can find within a few hours of where you live. Read on for how I afford travel.

I will list some tricks that help me save money for travel. Various apps, airline memberships and credit card programs can really make an impact when trying to save money for/on travel costs.

Qapital1. Qapital.

Qapital is a free app that links with your bank accounts and tricks you into saving money! You can create your own rules to achieve certain money goals. Any time I cave and get Thai takeout from down the street, it automatically takes $10 out of my account and puts it into my travel fund. I also have automatic deposits set up and round ups (rounds up purchases and takes the extra change and puts it towards goals).

Get a whopping $5 using my referral link HERE.

2. Hopper.

Hopper is a free app that analyzes flight prices daily to predict the best time to buy and can save you up to 40% on flights at times. This is extremely helpful when planning a trip when you are flexible with dates, as you can also analyze entire months to see what week will be a better deal.

Hopper3. Airline Memberships.

I sign up for the free memberships with every airline I fly. I keep a Google sheets document going of all of my membership usernames and passwords to ensure that I will be able to find it easily when booking.

I have racked up flight points on many different airlines that I have been able to use. I personally think that people using only one airline because of a rewards program they are part of, ends up costing them more. When I travel, I often use different airlines to book one-way arriving and departing flights rather than booking round trip flights through the same airline. This has saved me hundreds of dollars.

4. Credit card!

Having a credit card with a travel rewards program in place is SO important. I opened an account with Chase and got the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card. After spending a certain amount in the first 3 months (literally just put my rent on it and I met the amount) and they gave me $625 of travel money that I used to book my Thailand plane tickets.

Did you also know that the Chase Sapphire Preferred card has built in travel insurance?? I get 2 points for ever $1 spent on travel and dining costs. I sound like an ad, but I just am really happy with this card. I feel super legit using it too haha.

They do have a referral program, so if you feel inclined to apply, help a girl out and use my link: HERE

mountain girl
Picture by Disa Wold

5. Find Travel that is Free!!

On my recent Utah trip, the only thing we had to pay for after arriving was food, a rental car, and gas. We found Bureau of Land Management sites to camp at that are FREE.

I have also slept in my car at trail-heads in Washington, Oregon and California and choose to spend most of my summer weekends outside within a few hours of where I live. Backpacking, camping on forest roads/BLM, and sleeping in your car are all FREE. This allows me to save money for winter trips. I frequently reference Free Campsites and base a trip around free camping when on a budget.

If you are comfortable networking on social media or Bumble BFF, it is pretty easy to find like-minded people that generously offer their couch or budget recommendations and will share in an adventure with you! Most of my travel has been with friends and splitting gas significantly reduces costs. Read my post on how to connect with others in a new city HERE.

Bonus Tip to Afford Travel!

Something I quickly learned after reviewing my credit card statement after trips is how much I spend eating out! Even just cutting down on one meal a day that you get out at a restaurant will save you some major cash.

I always keep a supply of on-the-go breakfast foods and will usually pack sandwich supplies for lunch. My travel this year has been fully remote away from facilities so I pack all of my meals (whether it’s dehydrated, freeze-dried food, or stir fry supplies with my camp stove) and it has saved so much money for me.

Planning to have a few alcoholic beverages while you travel? Pack them yourself. Bring a box of wine or a flask of your favorite liquor. I guarantee it will be more expensive on the road.

Final Thoughts…

It is rare that I have a free weekend without any plans. Planning is important. If you don’t plan for a trip, life pretty much always gets in the way and can ruin potential adventures. Do I find joy in waking up earlier on the weekends than I do during the week? No. Is it worth it? Yes.

It’s flattering when people say “OMG I’m so jealous of your life. Do you even work?”, but the hustle behind this travel is REAL. It often results in chronic lack of sleep and really long drives. Especially when I was working my 9-5 and could only get out on the weekends. If you want to travel more, there is really no excuse if you have a plan that is within your budget! Start planning an adventure!

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