Boston Day Book author Natalie Kurtzman loves to travel. Here are some of her recommendations on how she travels the world and stays within her budget.
I love to travel. It is one of my favorite hobbies and ways to spend money. I have always preferred adventure and experiences over tangible things. However, as I have moved into my 30s, life comes with more expenses. As a mom, there are daycare costs and other child-related costs. As a home-owner, we have our mortgage, utility bills, and home repairs (some planned and others not!). My husband and I are both self-employed, so we pay out-of-pocket for health insurance and other business needs that really add up. At the end of the day, there aren’t many pennies left for seeing the world. So how do we make it work? Here are a few travel tips that have helped us save money (and see more places) over the years.
Budget for Globetrotting
- Instead of coming up with money all at once for a trip, put $100 each month into a vacation savings account. The more you can save, the faster it will add up. When it comes time to plan a trip, you’ll have a stash of money to pay for it.
- Do your research. Many hotel websites like hotels.com or even the hotel’s own website will offer special deals, especially as it relates to weeknight stays or off-season travel. Look ahead of time so you know how to get the best deal for your trip.
Use a Credit Card with Rewards
- We use our credit card for daily purchases, which really add up. Before you know it, you’ll have enough points to use towards a flight, hotel, or maybe even a whole vacation!
- These credit cards often offer a big sign-on point bonus.
- We have flown to Japan, Australia, and France on points. Taxes can be expensive, so it’s important to choose an airline that has low fees and taxes.
Be Flexible with Your Dates and Flight Criteria
- Take advantage of off-season rates.
- Use Google Flights or Kayak Explore to search a large time-frame. Kayak Explore even allows you to put in your origin and will show a world map with various destinations and price-points. You can add other filters like month of travel, length of trip, and cost.
- Try to go during the week if you can. You’ll save on flights and often hotels.
- Use low-cost carriers (but be sure to factor in baggage costs).
- If you are using hotel points, certain brands will often throw you a free night. Take advantage of those perks!
- Now that we explore the world with a child, we often look at staying at Airbnb’s. This can sometimes be a less expensive option than staying at a hotel, and you can also save on meal costs if you have access to a kitchen.
- We don’t always have breakfast included, so I like to travel with oatmeal packets (just add hot water) and granola bars.
- If you’re traveling internationally, be sure to check out which banks your home bank has relationships with. We’ve been able to save on ATM fees by choosing banks that our home bank prefers.
- Use a credit card (since you will get extra bonus points for using on travel-related costs) that has zero international fees.
- If you are planning to use your phone, set this up ahead of time with your carrier so you don’t incur crazy charges.
- Plan out how you are going to get around at your destination. We love using public transportation where it makes sense, and this can really save a lot of money over time.
This world has so much to offer, and although traveling can feel daunting—especially on a budget—it doesn’t have to be! If you save accordingly throughout the year and make your money work for you, you’ll end up having a wonderful trip that won’t break the bank.
Photo Cred: Elizabeth LaDuca Photography
Natalie is an editor of the popular lifestyle blog The Boston Day Book which she writes with her sister, Laura Chassaigne. They cover topics such as motherhood, travel, art, local events, and city life with kids. She also writes a family travel blog called Wishful Nals. You can follow along with Natalie on Instagram at @bostondaybook and @wishfulnals.
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While Society of Grownups hopes the information is useful, it’s only intended to provide general education. It’s not legal, tax, or investment advice, and may not apply or be useful to your specific financial situation. If you need recommendations geared to your personal financial situation, schedule time with a financial planner professional.