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traveling on a budget

Travel

5 Things We Don’t Buy, So We Can Travel MORE

We’ve got Champagne travel dreams on a Miller Lite budget…anyone else?

As small business owners, for years now, we’ve been scheming and dreaming of how to travel on a budget…well, because budget is all we got.

But we are determined to not let our finances limit the amount we can adventure- and we want the same for you! Traveling on a budget IS possible, if you’re willing to make some sacrifices in other areas that aren’t as important to you.

Over the years we’ve definitely adopted some minimal living ways, so that we can spend our money on what really brings us LIFE. So here’s a few minimal living ideas for you- 5 things you might consider cutting out of your budget, so that you can travel MORE.

traveling on a budget

1. NEW CLOTHES ON THE REGULAR

Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to get that new pair of New Balance sneakers I’ve been eying. And although I do love clothes and definitely have an appreciation for timeless, quality fashion…I definitely don’t love those sneakers more than a really good, soul-filling adventure.

So buying brand new clothes, just out of want not need, on a monthly basis is just not something we’ve made room for in our budget. Now don’t get me wrong, we definitely buy clothes here and there as needed. But when we do, we definitely stick to places where we can get the most bang for our buck or with the less is more approach (buying one really high quality shirt instead of 4 I like that were a fourth of the price)

What about the kids though you ask? Our go-to is resale shops! If you haven’t utilized these more- it’s a MUST in minimal living 101. The incredible barley-worn steals you can find there for less than $5 is unreal. And let’s be honest the kids grow out of clothes so fast, it makes me feel a lot better than I didn’t spend $50 on that new dress they will only wear 5 months.

So yes, although those swipe-ups are reallllyyy tempting, I know if I want to actually have the money to take all those trips I am dreaming about, I’ve got to keep my eye on the prize!

minimal living

2. THE LATEST TECHNOLOGY/ELECTRONICS

To be honest, this one isn’t too hard for us. We’ve never been “gadget people”, so choosing to not buy the latest iPhone or snag that new Frame TV I’ve been eyeing for a while now isn’t incredibly painful.

We’ve had the same TV since we were gifted it for our wedding present over 10 years ago! It’s still working totally fine and we know all those technology upgrades just add up over time. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it right?!

If you do need to make a larger electronics purchase- our go-to’s are always, always FB Marketplace and Ebay. Why pay full price when you can get (sometimes even a brand new item) for 30% less or more. Every.dollar.counts. (at least in our world it does) and living minimally in this area really allows us to experience more, which is just the sweet nectar of life is it not?!

Traveling on a budget is absolutely possible- you’ve just got to put your money where your mouth is. Literally 🙂

traveling on a budget

3. EXTRA TOYS FOR THE KIDS

Nope, nope, nope….get it out of my house. Extra toys = extra clutter and more cleaning for Mom. We really do not purchase any additional toys, other than the very intentional gifts we choose for our girls on Christmas and their Birthdays. (and goodness knows the grandparents have this one covered for us and then some)

Less is so so much more.

We find in times that we are traveling and have only packed a small handful of toys, the kids always, always find a way to entertain themselves. And if anything it forces them to get more creative with the few toys they do have!

These are purchases we can easily forgo so that instead of that brand new Barbie dream house (and all the other endless list of toys they’d love), we can gift them a trip to a new National Park over their Fall Break or another epic month-long summer trip overseas.

When they are going off to college I am banking on them remembering that incredible beach town we stayed at on the Italian coast or that hike to the waterfall in the Smoky Mountains far more than a toy that probably will get donated in a years time anyway.

Investing in experience with our kids is our number one priority and we make sure our budget reflects that.

less is more

4. NEW CARS

I know we’ll have some mixed opinions here. But for us, because of our limited budget, we just don’t have room for regular adventures to new places AND hefty monthly car payments.

So our strategy has always been – buy older, solid cars and own them outright.

No we’re not getting the latest 2021 Toyota 4Runner (although that sounds fabulous)…but we are doing our research, and finding a reliable 2009 4Runner with some miles on that is still in great working condition so we can own it in full.

For us, minimal living is all about having only what we need, and getting rid of everything we don’t. So why not completely cut out those monthly car payments (if you’re able of course) so those funds can go directly to regular, life-giving trips as a family that really fill your cup for years to come. We will never ever let traveling on a budget, or lack there of, be our excuse not not traveling.

5. ALCOHOL WHILE OUT

Ok no one enjoys a margarita on the patio in peak early summer days more than me….but we try not to make buying drinks while out part of our regular routine. We all know how quickly that adds up and boom two Gin&Tonics later and you’ve doubled your dinner bill.

We do love eating out, visiting new restaurants, tryiiinnnggg to have a regular date night – so we have prioritized that in our budget. But we do feel like when not traveling alcohol is something we can easily (and far more economically) enjoy at home.

All the little sacrifices really do add up…traveling on a budget isn’t easy, but it’s always, always 100% worth it.

traveling on a budget

6. GIFTS FOR EACH OTHER

Alright, no no we’re not heartless spouses who hate each other. We just REALLY love traveling together. It is truly, truly our happiest place. We are our best selves when adventuring side by side…so we try to do so every chance time and budget allows.

And one way budget allows, is by not buying each other gifts for every single holiday (Valentine’s, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas…goodness it all adds up right?!).

Other than birthdays, we kind of have a standing rule that no gifts are expected. It totally takes the pressure off on both parities, and we both take so much more joy in knowing that money not spent is going towards our next getaway together.

Now 10 years and 2 (almost three!) kids later and living on a little more than a teacher’s salary we’ve been able to go just Luke and I to the California Coast, Vail, Napa, Santa Fe, Boston, New York, tons of local Texas weekends away and so many more – all because we prioritized EXPERIENCE together at the top of our budget.

I mean, there is NO greater gift in our books.

Living minimally in these ways allows us to traveling on a budget….but we’re TRAVELING! And you really can’t put a price on the value that adds to you and your kid’s lives!

Travel

Italy: 1 Month for $1k

“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!

Currently, Scott’s Cheap Flights caters to international travel, however weekly we see deals come through for Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean. Their website advertises they hope to add domestic options soon.

 

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. 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.

SperlongaItaly_RomeBeach2

We have both the Southwest Chase and the Barclays Arrival credit cards. Many times when signing up, you receive a large amount of points (40,000+) for spending $1000 in the first three months…that alone pays for one airline ticket. The Southwest Card we use for domestic flights, and the Arrival 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?

SperlongaItaly_RomeBeach3

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 plan on doing this for every trip in the future, wether 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? Get 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!