Last week on Facebook, Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat. Pray. Love. fame, and more recently the author of Big Magic, an inspiring book for creative souls posted a thought-provoking piece on how little we need to give up in terms of every day luxuries in order to fulfil our travel dreams.
Liz’s argument goes something like this – if we are prepared to give up the little things then big adventure is within easy reach. So many of us say we can’t afford to travel and yet annually spend the equivalent of multiple flights on lunches, coffees and drinks.
Occasionally, we’re asked how we manage to afford to travel to France as often as we do. Not often mind you, but every now and then someone will ask the question.
And we are never offended by the question because the answer is so, so simple.
We save. We consciously save for travel
Now, Scott and I are lucky in that we both have well paying jobs which definitely go a long way towards helping us achieve our savings goals. But we also have a few other tips that help us cater for our trips which we are more than happy to share.
- Several years ago when Scott and I set the intention to travel to France at least once every year. we also set up separate, specific travel savings accounts. We have a Flights/Ground Travel Account, an Accommodation/Food Account and a Shopping Account (that’s mainly for me). Every week, a small, regular amount gets deposited into each account directly from our salaries. Depending on our circumstances these amounts vary – sometimes the amounts are as little as $20 per week. But because we prioritise our travel, there is always something hitting those accounts weekly – even when we don’t have a trip planned. Having the cash saved means we can take advantage of good flight and accommodation deals when they come up without having to hammer our credit cards!
- We take advantage of frequent flyer schemes and points in order to lower the amount we have to spend on flights. Our credit cards collect points towards travel and we also try to fly with the same airline as much as possible in order to maximise the points we collect. We even choose to shop for groceries where frequent flyer points will be generated.
- We book early. We book our flights months ahead wherever possible (sometimes up to 10 months out) but we also book our train travel early too, to make the most of cheap fares. Most European trains can be booked three months before you travel, and the prices are cheaper the earlier you book.
- I always keep Euro notes in my purse. They remind me not to overspend while I am at home so I will have more funds to put towards our trips.
Like everything, what you focus on grows. While it sometimes seems that it will take forever to save enough for a trip when you first start putting something away, it is amazing how quickly you can build up both cash and points when you commit to prioritising your travel every week of the year.
Do you have any favourite holiday savings tips? I’d love for you to share them in the comments below.
Until next time – au revoir.