I get asked this question all the time. Since Sam just finished medical school and has a few more years of residency to go, we have been traveling on a budget for years. BUT, this doesn't mean our trips have to suffer. We've done everything from camping on the beach in Hawaii to staying in luxurious five star resorts. Use the three strategies below to get started.
1. Apply for a credit card that rewards your spending habits.
2. Prioritize what is most important to you.
3. Do your research.
Apply for a credit card that rewards your spending habits.
If you don't already have a credit card that you put the majority of your purchases on, I recommend applying for one. While I don't advocate for charging more on your card than you can pay off, you can start earning money towards your next vacation now without having to set aside part of your paycheck by charging your daily purchases to your card.
My personal favorite rewards card is the Chase Sapphire Reserve. I could go on and on about the benefits of this card, but my favorites are a $300 travel credit, 3X points on travel and dining, 50% more value for your points when you redeem them for travel, a Priority Pass to airport lounges, and free global entry/TSA pre-check. Not only can you redeem points to travel for free, but you can travel in style and more conveniently.
The annual fee of $450 may seem like a lot at first glance, but once you do the math on how much you get it for, it starts to make sense. If traveling more is one of your goals this year, this card is for you. We recently traveled to Greece for less than the cost of a local beach trip by using our Chase rewards points.
Prioritize what is most important to you.
Our priortities change with every vacation. We tend to alternate trips geared towards adventure/exploration and ones for much needed R&R. Do you care most about where you stay? Or are you looking for more experiences on your trip? When thinking about your next vacation, decide on your main goal early on in the planning process.
An easy way to save money is to keep an open mind about your accommodations. We've stayed at Air Bnb's all over the world and have had amazing experiences. These are typically less expensive than comparable hotels and often allow you to be more immersed in the local culture. Check out our apartment in Tulum, Mexico here.
If you are planning to sit on the beach and sip cocktails, consider an all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic. This is a great way to get the best bang for your buck. We've been a couple times and are looking forward to our next visit.
Do your research.
It probably isn't a surprise that traveling on a budget requires lots of time and planning. For every trip we go on, I spend countless hours researching where to stay, what to do, where to eat, flights plans, etc. It helps that I really enjoy it!
For more travel inspiration, visit sanaratravels.com/blog.