Travel Talk: Traveling on a Budget
I remember watching Mary Kate and Ashley movies as a little girl and wishing I lived that life. They were preteens and jet setting around the globe causing mischief wherever their feet touched. I wanted to be this adventurous and care free but I didn’t know many people who had ever made their way out of the country. It was hard enough meeting people from my hometown and surrounding area who had dared to ditch our area code which was a task in itself.
Over the past 14 months, I have talked about my international travel which originally started with a cruise to the Bahamas with my linesisters. These three days sailing the sea, dancing on the deck, ordering BLT’s to our room, taking shots at Senor Frogs, and jet skiing was my first taste of what the world had to offer. I have since had my passport stamped for Ghana, Turkey, Martinique, Antigua, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom. For the longest time, I assumed that traveling was a luxury only afforded to the wealthy and privileged which is not always the case.
I’ve decided to add a travel series, Travel Talk, to the blog for those interested in my own travel and those breathing life into their own travel aspirations. This will include posts on lessons learned, people I’ve met, food I’ve ate, adventures I’ve taken, and deals that have made it all possible. I’ll also add a deal of the day in case you’re feeling adventurous and can’t wait any longer to book that dream flight! I’m hopeful that these posts will inspire you to take those next steps to escape your comfort zone and venture into the unknown.
Aya’s Top Five Travel Tips for the Young and Fundless
Start Saving for Your Passport
It took over a year for me to finally use my passport once purchasing it. Many think that a passport is a huge financial investment but all is possible with budgeting and a few sacrifices. This easy passport wizard will ensure that you get this right the first time. A lot of the deals I see are only valid but for so long which means you need to be able to fly within the next few months. Have passport, will travel. Simple as that.
Book for Price Not Location
It is completely okay to have a wish list of your favorite places to visit but you have to be willing to widen your view. I had never heard of Martinique before we(my girls) found a deal one snowy January day last year. Fast-forward a month later and we are laying on an island in the French West Indies eating the local fish and chilling by the ocean. My mind and wallet is open to all locations not those most known. My favorite websites are Thrifty Traveler and Secret Flying which keep me in the know about all the best deals domestically and internationally.
Book First, Ask Questions Later
I consider myself one of the most indecisive people ever which is really contradicting when it comes to impulse travel decisions. Last year I stumbled upon an *amazing deal to Brazil which included a stopover in Europe for less than $300. The one drawback was that the ticket didn’t have a return ticket which left a bit of planning to be done. My best friend and I booked the ticket through Priceline which gives you up to 24 hours to cancel your ticket with no questions asked. This quick buy lead us to a quick but invigorating tour of Madid and London. *Glitch fares can be caused for various reason and aren’t always honored by the airline. It is important to wait a few weeks to ensure your ticket has been verified and all money has been cleared before moving forward with your planning.
Never Check Your Luggage
There are some cases where I assume checking your luggage is an unavoidable part of life. Most international flights allow you one free checked bag but if you decide to do some hopping around once there then you could rack up pretty hefty fees. Even my trip to Madrid and London was all confined to my small carryon and even allowed me to bring back a few goodies that I scored. I would also recommend mastering the art of packing which will provide you with much more room in your bag. Not only does this cut down on fees but your wait time. It always seems as if my luggage is the last to come out so these gives me more time to do other things…like get my passport stamped!
Do Your Homework
Traveling can be expensive but don’t be in a rush to do everything at once or to follow the status quo. Research things you can do on your own like top museums or famous restaurants which gives you the freedom to choose your itinerary. Scope out different lodging options to see what is most affordable and the safest. I’m a fan of Air BnB mainly because of the price and the experiences it has provided me. My host in Antigua cooked a traditional island breakfast where we sat on our balcony and she gave us the history of her beloved home. My host in Madrid shared his gazpacho with us and provided a full rundown(map included) of all the must see places while visiting. Only one of my trips has included an itinerary which provided great structure but ditching the traditional path allows for flexibility and an adventure created to fit your needs.