“We can’t travel now, not with the kids at this age”
“We don’t have the money, we could never afford it.”
Sound familiar? We dreamed FOR YEARS of taking anniversary trips to Europe, but to leave the kids for that long? Could we really afford to invest thousands of dollars on just a week or two?
Finally, after way too many hours spent wanderlusting and booking nothing, we said ENOUGH. Europe was going to happen, with kids in tow. Because life is way too short and we didn’t want to wait 10 years to get back there!
It is possible and hopefully we can share with you a bit of our story and the helpful how’s to stop merely Insta-Wasting so much time and start booking, traveling, and if you have children, bringing them into that passion of yours too!
Being self-employed with Wayfaren, we absolutely know we have some of the flexibility others do not, and we do not take that for granted one second. But how we made it possible to spend 1 month in Italy for 1k (not including the cost of food and transportation within the city) can absolutely be applied to anyone, in any stage of life, in any situation.
1. SCOTT’S CHEAP FLIGHTS
Meet your new best friend…your really fun, dangerous best friend.
Scott’s Cheap Flights is a website that finds incredible deals on international flights. When an airline makes a mistake (error in the system, typo, etc) or offers a great sale, Scott finds it and emails you with instructions on how to book- then boom, you go on that trip you have been dreaming about for way less than you ever thought possible.
With Scott’s deal alerts, we ended up getting peak summer season tickets to Europe for $490/each. Normally they are $1000-1200! Yes, three tickets for the price of what would normally be ONE ticket…unreal right?!
To sign up and get the basic alerts is free. Or you can upgrade to the Premium Service (3x the deals sent directly to your inbox) which we would recommend. At $30 annually this more than makes up for itself even if you end up booking just one flight. Ever.
Simply set your departure city/cities and the deal alerts are catered specifically to you, straight to your inbox. Filter out the noise and only get deal alerts departing from your favorite airports, but consider opening your departure city to more than just your hometown. For example, if we were to see a $350 ticket from Denver to Greece, we would jump on that immediately because we know we can find a $100-200 ticket from Dallas (our departure airport) to Denver…or better yet cover the Dallas to Denver loop with points (more on that below).
PRO TIP: Always use an Incognito window when researching flights, that way you know you are getting the absolute lowest price! Airlines, hotels, search engines will adjust prices based on time of day, how many times you’ve viewed certain routes etc…Incognito always!
Know you want to head to Paris sometime in the Fall? Sign up for the alerts and keep you eye peeled on your inbox for notifications to Paris, if you can be a bit flexible on your dates and departures I can guarantee you you will snag a killer deal that will make booking that trip no question! For example, just today I received an email about NY to Paris flight for $270!
2. CREDIT CARD POINTS
We use our credit cards for everything, and I mean everything. Maybe a bit unconventional for some, but when you keep a close tab on your bank account and use the credit card like a debit card, paying it off in full every month, you can rack up points pretty.darn.quickly with those welcome bonuses. And points equal FREE CASH, the only time in the world that money actually does grow on trees.
For our trip to Italy, we ended up redeeming $1980+ in credit cards points! Money we earned simply by using our credit card regularly for all personal and Wayfaren business purchases and snagging a solid welcome bonus.
If you are new to the travel hacking world, we recommend you start HERE with our beginner’s guide to travel hacking for families. Our favorite cards for travel rewards are hands down the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Southwest Rapid Rewards cards. When you sign up for a large credit card, you receive a large amount of points (40,000+) for spending x amount in the first few months of having that card…that alone pays for one international airline ticket. The Southwest Card we use for domestic flights, and the Sapphire we reserve for international redemptions.
Flights, hotels, Airbnb, car rentals…we’ve redeemed our points for nearly everything travel related over the years.
Signing up for travel geared credit cards from the beginning was a priority for us, as we know travel was something we loved and wanted to do more of, but couldn’t quite afford (can I get an Amen?). By using our credit cards like debit cards, paying them off in full each month, we were able to make our travels dreams a reality.
3. AIRBNB (WITH A TWIST)
By now, if you haven’t heard of Airbnb you have been living under one very hard and heavy rock. Far and away our favorite way to travel, especially with kids. A comfortable and familiar home-like setting for little ones, more bang for your buck, the ease of being able to have separate rooms (read: more sleep for all), and what really feels like a more authentic experience in your destination city.
When researching apartments in Italy, even for very cramped accommodation with a poor location in the city, we were STILL looking at $2500-4000 for the month- and that was on the low end!
We knew we didn’t have the cash for that type of investment, yet we also didn’t want to give up on our dream of this Italy trip. So what did we do? We got creative and made it happen. Necessity is the mother of invention, isn’t it?
So, we decided to list our home on Airbnb. A few things fixed around the house, a handful of photos, and two weeks later our house was listed online. (If you are ever in the Dallas area, we would love to have you- book here!)
If we could even cover half of the cost of the apartment in Italy, we knew financially we could make the trip work. Sure enough, someone ended up booking our home for nearly the entire 4 weeks we were in Rome!
- The nitty gritty- our apartment in Rome for 4 weeks was $3418.55
- We made $3322.06 from renting our home on Airbnb while we were gone
Unreal right?! If that’s not magic, I don’t know what is. We were so thankful for that clearly divine provision. And we do this for every trip, whether it be a weekend away or another month abroad. Hosting is not for everyone, but we figured hey, as long as they aren’t sleeping in our sheets and it allows us to spend a month in Italy, I am quite alright with that.
Potentially interested in hosting through Airbnb? Start HERE to get our basics for hosting and set your listing set up today here!
Ready to book an apartment with Airbnb? Use the link here to get $40 off your first reservation!
We are confident and so excited that this could help enable you to stop just dreaming, and start GOING. We know how vital overcoming some of these major travel hurdles are. Feel free to comment below with any further questions, and if you book a trip, we want to hear!