Didn’t win the lottery. No rich benefactor. My travel is self-funded.
Simply put, I’d rather travel than buy stuff. I’ve matured out of my Prada, Jimmy Choo and Marc Jacobs phase. Money buys needs. The rest is saved for travel. Working six days a week for at least 18 weeks of the year also puts money in the travel piggy bank.
I travel a lot. But mine is NOT high end travel.
Here’s how I do it:
- Air miles. I’m always on the lookout for ways to accumulate more points. I have two Aeroplan credit cards. Just recently, I redeemed 60k points for business class airfare for a trip to Roatan in March 2015. I’ve got tens of thousands more that will cover my trip to Malaysia in 2015 (in economy).
- I also travel on airlines that will convert their points to Aeroplan miles, such as United and Avianca. Even if it means having to make connections and take a few more hours to get to my destination.
- I don’t like it but I will overnight in an airport if my flight gets in late and the connection leaves early the next morning. No money spent on a hotel room for just a few hours of use.
- I used points to fund airfare for my recent trip to Roatan. Splurged and upgraded to business class for about $300 CDN. With in-flight meals and access to the United Club (food, beverages, place to relax) during layovers, it was well worth it.
- When I have to pay for flights, I book really early – 6-8 months in advance when the seats are really cheap.
- Accommodation. When I was a news reporter for the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) I stayed in a lot of dumps in remote areas. Consequently, I can tolerate two or three star rooms, especially if I’m scuba diving most days and only use them for sleeping. My Roatan room, in a building next door to the dive shop, was $35 USD a night. Got minimal housekeeping while I was there, but so what? It had a fridge, microwave and TV. The bed was fine. The price was right. The location was perfect. I’ll stay there again. I also try to stay at a hotel that has a free airport shuttle.
- Other stuff. I try to book accommodation with some meals included. That cuts costs. When I have to pay for meals, I don’t splurge. I allow myself one expensive-ish meal (lobster etc), but the rest of the time is basic eating. I also visit supermarkets to stock up on breakfast foods and snacks. I fill my water bottle at the dive shop. I spend little on booze. I don’t buy souvenirs. I take photos as memories.
My Roatan trip, airfare, accommodation for 13 nights, 31 scuba dives, food, transportation, a night in Houston, Texas, tips and miscellaneous cost about $2700 CDN. About $1200 of that was spent on diving. A pretty cheap trip, if you ask me.
You can travel often and well. I’m off to Puerto Vallarta in the coming days for a week at an all-inclusive resort. Got a great last minute deal. Fall is a cheap time to travel.