A common question I am often posed with is HOW DO YOU VACATION SO MUCH?!?!?I wish I had one simple answer for this, I don’t. What I do have is a list of requirements and habits you can obtain/create that will get you to a point where you CAN travel, and travel to YOUR standard. Another common question I get as well is HOW DO YOU PLAN your vacations?!?!? I’ll explain this in detail in a future blog post……….
Requirements to travel:
Obviously, if you don’t already have luggage, this is a requirement. When you are just starting your wanderlust adventures any ole luggage will do. Start economically when you pick out your first set. Work your way up to a premium brand set. I say this because until you have travelled multiple trips and multiple means, you will not truly know what you really need nor want in a set. To be clear as well, when I say means, I’m referring to flights, cruises and road trips. See below what we have found works for us:
Hard top suitcase over Fabric. Don’t get be wrong, our first set was fabric and lasted us a good 4 years at a rate of 3 trips per year; however let’s just say the last few trips my anxiety level was heightened as I feared a massive tare coming. I found that the fabric suitcases had a tendency wear more especially on the ends. Additionally our largest piece somehow had a zipper get stuck causing the front pocket to completely rip…. Thankfully nothing was inside this compartment when this happened. However after this tear it rendered the suitcase useless.
If you can, get a good brand. Why? The zippers. I found that the lesser/cheaper the brand the quicker the zipper was.
In my opinion as well, DON’T go too fancy on the brand. The crew that tosses your luggage around like a frisbee is not going to take it easy because it’s a Louis….
Charging capabilities? Some might find this as a need for a suitcase or carryon. *NOTE.. I did read somewhere that there are airlines that prohibit charging stations built into the suitcase. Make sure you check with your carrier in the event you have one!
Passports~ even if you do not plan on going international immediately, go head and plan on getting them. They are good for 10 years for adults and 5 years for kids. They are also guaranteed TSA accepted for identification.
Gear~ another no brainer… if going to the Caribbean you will need bathing suits, if you are going someplace cold you will need a jacket, plan on hiking? you need shoes for that… I could honestly go on and on, but you get my drift.
The most important requirement? DISCIPLINE. Traveling costs money, saving money requires discipline. Do you work? Traveling requires time off… discipline is managing your PTO wisely…. Organized traveling takes planning, planning requires research another discipline. A good traveler never flies by the seat of their pants. Want to see it all? Discipline, stick to a schedule. Want to eat at that posh restaurant that nearly every blogger has been to? Discipline, plan ahead and book that reservation before it’s gobbled up.
COOK! Stop eating out. Not many people realize the amount of money that is spent on eating out. Not only do you not know exactly what you are putting into your body, you are grossly overspending money that could certainly be put to use elsewhere. This includes lunch. Leftovers are not bad, stop throwing your money away.
Get organized with your meal planning, and prepping. Far to much food is discarded due to going bad or not being used at all. Let’s be real, how many of you have thrown away an entire bag of pre-washed salad mix? I know I have. When you take the time to actually plan your meals for the week you buy ONLY what is needed. Seriously, too many of us randomly hit the grocery store and just buy buy buy… with no plan of action. Which not only leads to a gigantic over buy, but you end up also back at the store getting additional items when you actually determine WHAT’s for dinner..
Get smart with your shopping. Brand name is not always better and buying bulk is more cost effective if done correctly. I am a proud Costco Executive member. My family certainly puts this to good use. The next time you are in your convenient supermarket take a gander at their per pound meat prices, now compare them to Costco; it’s a no brainer. Of course, unless you consume a TON of tomatoes… I’d steer clear of the produce. Stick with the local farmer’s markets for that. Local farmer’s markets tend to be much cheaper when goods are in season and paid for in cash. Back to my comment that “brand is not always better”, this is true in MOST circumstances. I cannot rant and rave enough about Kirkland toilet paper, paper towels and gallon water. I find the rolls are fuller, more absorbent; and not to mention a TON cheaper. Another tip, do not buy toiletries at the grocery store. I find these items to be super marked up. Stick to Walmart, Walgreens and even Bed Bath and Beyond (I’m an admitted hoarder of the 20% off coupons).
Save. I cannot stress this enough. There are even cool tools out there to HELP you do this. Some banks offer savings accounts that round up all your debit spendings to the nearest dollar and the change moves over automatically to said savings account. There are also several other investment companies that can do this for you as well. Below are ones that we use:
Plan. You cannot get anywhere without a plan. Many do not realize but planning a vacation somewhere you have never been takes time, patience and of course finances. We tend to plan our vacations at least a year in advance. Example it is October 2018 and we have already planned 2019’s trips and are looking into 2020. Our plane tickets are already purchased for the 1st 2 trips, we’ve put down our down payment for our cruise and hotels are all ready booked and deposits paid. When you plan ahead you can work towards paying off your trip well in advance of the actual departure. If you want to be organized this is the only way to go. I’ll do a future post on how we pick research and pick destinations along with how we go about booking etc.
And lastly. Probably the hardest concept, living small. There was a time in our life when we wanted a huge house, with the yard and the pool. We did obtain the house etc, however as they say “sometimes life throws you curve balls”, or in our instance a mortgage meltdown. My husband and I are both in the real estate industry. I like to think that taking a step back taught us the value of living and seeing the world vs. larger possessions. We decided that our next home we would opt for a townhome, after all there are just three of us, and forego the large utility bill, lawn mowing bill and not to mention larger mortgage payments, taxes, I could go on. Another part of living small is our vehicles, yes a brand new luxury car is obtainable. Practical for what we love to do which is travel, no. We buy used cars. Insurance is less and you can really get an amazing deal if you shop around.
I hope I’ve given you some ideas on how to start working towards obtaining your travel dreams. I’m of course always interested in hearing how you save for your trips.
In my next few posts I’ll be highlighting some of my favorite cities, perhaps I’ll highlight one you would like to visit.