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How to Streeettttcccchh Your Travel Dollars

September 30th, 2010 · 5 Brilliant Opinions · Travel Tips

Well the unemployment rate is hovering over 9.5% and many of us are tightening our budgets. But the good news is that over 90% of Americans are working.  In this new “norm”  we can’t become so paralyzed by the economic forecast that we forget to live.  Today, I am sharing some tips on how to stretch your travel budget and see the world!

  • Hello Mudda, Hello Fadda – We save by visiting grandparents, aunts, uncles  and extended family across the US, Europe and the Caribbean.  Big P’s mother lives in  Carriacou, Grenada – a lovely isle in the Grenadines. When we visit, we get her great home cooking and save a lot on accommodations.  If you choose this route, both you and your host will sacrifice some privacy.  Remember to be  a considerate and gracious guest and don’t forget to return the favor.
  • Be Your Own Pilot – If you have a car, use it to drive to great vacation destinations.  Our summer trip this year was to Philly.  I had lived there as a medical fellow in the mid 90s but all my sight seeing consisted of the various ERs and hospital wards at Jefferson Medical Center. This year we got to see the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Liberty Bell, did the double deck bus tour of the city and enjoyed a day at  Sesame Place.
  • Invite a Friend to Come Along –  We did this in Philly  this summer and rented a beautiful townhouse in the Art Museum Area.  There were four adults and five children and our housing costs were under $1000 for four days.  In addition we avoided big restaurant  bills by cooking meals together.  Great websites to search for vacation rental homes  – www.homeaway.com and  www.vrbo.com
  • Travel in the Off-Season –  We rented a mini-mansion in the Outer Banks, NC in late April, 2008.   We enjoyed the solitude of the beautiful beaches and spent $900/week  to stay in a 6 bedroom 7.5 bathroom home with a hot-tub.  It also gave us the opportunity to check out the area  and “test drive” a house – before  splurging on a summer rental in the future.
  • Pay Down Consumer Debt –  I am adamantly against the “buy now – pay later”  vacation mentality.  Pay down your credit cards.  Pay yourself first via automatic savings.  I do this online at  www.ingdirect.com ING also allows you to set up individual savings categories.  That way I can put X amount into my travel fund, Y into a medical expenses fund and Z into my home repairs fund.  It may seem like a lot of micromanaging but it works.  I budget for my travel and stay out of debt.  If you are in debt – don’t fret.  I’ve been there and done that.  Make a plan to rid yourself of debt and stick to it.  Once you pay off your car note – don’t buy a new car.  Funnel that car payment towards your savings account.  I am still driving my 2000 Lexus RX 300.   Would I like a new car? Yep. Do I deserve a new car? Yep.  Do I really need a new car? Not with 60,000 miles on this one I don’t.  Most importantly, I can’t drive to Europe.
  • Lay-A-Way Vacation – I just booked a trip to Tuscany and Florence with my college roomie Sylvia. (Yeah Brown U)  We start our Italian adventure September, 2011.  After paying a $600 deposit I am budgeting $300 a month to pay for my trip.  I just put the money away in my savings account.  Many tour operators and travel agents will charge your credit card a set amount each month that you preauthorize.  If you use your credit card just remember to pay it off in full each month.
  • Say Nada to Prada – As a professional woman, I know its important to look good.  I buy a few solid pieces a year and great accessories.  Shoes and boots are great…but I can’t walk to Italy.
  • Charge It ! – I know I just said you should pay down your consumer debt….but there are some great reward card offers out there.  If you go this route…pay your balance off in full every month. Several years ago, Chase was offering Continental miles with the use of their new debit cards.  We signed up and forgot about it – literally.  While planning our spring break trip to Europe, I was floored by the airfares – $3000 for a family of four to fly to London!  It took me the good part of an hour, but I got our old Chase bank statements out, located our Continental OnePass account numbers, transferred some reward points from American Express and cut that price in half.
  • Scout Out Your Local School or Church Auction – Invariably someone will be donating their cabin, beach house or vacation condo.  Before you start bidding, make sure you know your bottom line.
  • Stop Jonesing –  Keeping up with the Jones can be exhausting.    Stop coveting your neighbor’s car, new kitchen, pristine landscaping and focus on your life, goals and desires.  Stay focused on your blessings!

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5 Comments so far ↓

  • Nicole


  • Shayna N.

    This blog is amazing , and you never cease to amaze me … great job and you gave me alot of great tips as a young gal myself just trying to see the world on my measly earnings

  • Ann

    The world is yours Shayna…you’ve done all the right things…got a great education, took responsibility for your future – enjoy yourself and remember to give back!

  • leanora Nelson

    Luv your blog. Starting a real estate blog.

  • Ann

    Good for you! We will definately talk

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