You must think I’m kidding. How can I possibly have a year of saving cash while also enjoying my job and free time as a traveler? It’s one of my biggest goals for the coming year. Alongside my Skillshare class about content organization, I’m working my buns off to maintain an exciting calendar of trips while hopefully ramping up my presence as a travel pro. It’s a thrilling time and I honestly can’t wait to get back into the groove after taking a few weeks off to visit family in Boston, then head to Iceland.
But enough about that. Let’s get back to traveling. For New Year resolutions, do you have knocking a few destinations off your bucket list? How about a vacation with that special someone, or treating your parents to a multi-generational adventure abroad?
Make travel a priority
If I’ve said it once I’ve said it 27 times. I’m happy to help anyone work on their travel and vacation goals, but not if they’re whining about it. I personally sold my car and moved across an ocean to ensure there was accessible destinations to explore easily and affordably. Now you don’t have to do the same of course, but like anything you want in life, there has to be sacrifice in other places. If you track spending, you’d be surprised how quickly little things add up. For instance, by switching to water or drinking just the office coffee, you could pocket $500-$1,000 bucks a year for a flight. Downgrade a cable subscription, cell phone plan or eating out only a once a month. You have to stick to it, but within six months to a year there will be a little nest egg good for an exciting trip.
If you really want to get moving, full lifestyle changes are an option. Some people will take slightly lower paying jobs because bosses encourage taking more vacation time. Others will choose to volunteer for a year to see a new place and help others out. People may put off pets, children or buying a house to be able to take advantage of a flexible schedule. Just like saving for a house, having kiddos or taking on a high-stress job: traveling often is not easy. But if it’s important to you, you make it work.
Get smart about online booking
The final thing is being patient and being smart about booking your accommodations, flights, tours and even meals. To save big bucks it’s not often as simple as booking directly through the hotel’s website. But we live in an age where it’s wonderfully accessible to find amazing deals through tracking apps and on travel sites. My new favorite is Groupon Coupons for discovering travel steals and exclusive digital coupon codes. I use regular Groupon all the time when traveling to a new city to enjoy a discounted dinner or local walking tour. But Groupon has partnered with awesome booking sites such as Cheap-o-air and Travelocity to give those special deals an extra boost. This isn’t just for budget travelers either – many of these sites promote hundreds of dollars off business class flights, spa treatments or five-star resorts as well. If you have a decent allowance for luxury travel, you can use sites like Groupon Coupons for wallet-friendly upgrades and added perks.
Pick up a hobby to support travel habits
Obviously I’ve done more than pick up a hobby, I’ve made traveling my career. But I’m still not full-time on the road like many other inspiring digital nomads. My personal balance of work and play keeps me sane. If you have a few hours a week, it can be a fantastic outlet for fun and for scoring special deals in travel. Yes, starting a travel blog on the side is an option but there’s other less time-consuming options as well. Some people will count airline and hotel points by using certain credit card sign up bonuses to score free travel. Check out The Points Guy for some interesting tactics. Others love pets and offer to housesit and dogsit in new destinations in exchange for free accommodation (or even a little pocket money). Get creative and think outside the box to elevate your travel strategies.
Where do you hope to travel in 2016? How do you save money for traveling? What the best deal you ever found online for a trip?
This post was in partnership with Groupon Coupons. As always, all opinions are my own.