Please enjoy this guest post from Kali at Common Sense Millennial.
For almost as long as I can remember, I have dreamed of traveling the world and visiting the places I had previously only read about in books. My dream life would involve me living and working overseas, moving every year to a fresh location. I’ve always been fascinated by the UK and Ireland in particular, and I’m pretty convinced I should have been born a Scot. It was only by some sort of mix-up that I ended up being American instead. But I also have a strong wish to go to South America, to India, to Korea – I think if I was anywhere abroad, I’d be happy.
The only thing that has ever held me back from making the dream of travel a reality is money. While one part of me has terrible case of wanderlust, the other half is extremely practical. I felt like I had to save up for so many other things – retirement, an emergency fund, home repairs, etc – before I could go off and have my fun.
Well, I’ve finally checked off all the boxes on my financial to-do list and managed to increase my income to the point where I can continue to contribute to things like retirement and a travel fund. So next year, I’ll finally be able to do more than dream: I’m currently planning a spring trip to Ireland and Scotland! I’m absolutely thrilled to finally have the opportunity to fly across an ocean, but even this momentous occasion couldn’t make me abandon the frugal ways that got me into the position of being able to afford such a trip. Here is how I plan to save on overseas travel:
I plan to save money on my plane tickets by being flexible with the exact dates of my travel. I’m willing to go anywhere from late March to early May and ultimately, the cheapest ticket will decide my exact dates for me. I’m also being flexible on my destination. When I searched for tickets, I researched the prices from Atlanta to a variety of locations in Ireland and Scotland. The best deal seemed to be to fly into Dublin (to fly between Ireland and Scotland once I’m there is only about $150), so the rest of the trip can be planned around the fact that I need to fly into and out of Dublin at the beginning and end of my trip. I’m also researching my prices using various sites, including Kayak, Skyscanner, and CheapoAir.
I’ll save money on food by eating very simply for breakfast and lunch. A banana and a handful of other fruit or granola will be a great way to start the day; a sandwich for lunch should keep me going until dinner. I also want to look for accommodations that provide a kitchen (such as hostels) so that I can prepare my own meals from food brought at the grocery store.
Again, I plan to stay in hostels for at least a few nights to keep costs low. I’m also searching for rooms to rent on AirBnB.com; in some of the cities I’ll visit, like Dublin and Edinburgh, renting a room in an apartment from a local works out to be far cheaper than renting a hotel room. I’m looking for functionality, not luxury. There are whole countries out there waiting for me to explore them, so I won’t be hanging out in my room too much.
I’m saving on souvenirs by not buying any at all. I plan to take home only the ticket stubs I might end up with, the pictures I took, and the great memories I am sure to make on the trip. I don’t have much need for more stuff, and I would rather save the money I could spend on souvenirs and instead purchase an experience (like a castle tour or museum visit).
I couldn’t be more excited about my upcoming trip to some of the places I have been dreaming about seeing in person for years. But it’s worth the time and effort to research and find the best deals available. I want to have an exciting, fun, and fulfilling trip – but I also want to have enough money left over to do it again and again every year!
Are there any experienced travelers out there who can think of more ways to save money while on a big overseas trip?
About the Author: Kali blogs about common-sense financial advice at Common Sense Millennial. She’s passionate about personal finance and finding new ways to live well on less. Currently, she is pursuing the ultimate dream of writing for a living and moving abroad. You can connect with her by tweeting @CSMillennial.