Budget tips and ideas for travel and more

Fit*Life*Travel

Are you one of those people who sit and dream about visiting a beautiful paradise with sandy beaches, sparkling blue waters, and plush palm trees? Well, I am definitely one of those people. But these types of dreams are on the minds of many people in the world today. You may be thinking that in today's high inflationary world, it might be impossible to travel yet alone make ends meet.

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But life shouldn't be just about making ends meet. We all deserve to have a happy and fulfilling life with activities that bring us joy! And travel is one of these desires for not only myself, but millions of others as well.

My desire for traveling to see other places began at a young age. By the age of 17, my travel dreams came true! My first ever airline flights took me to the beautiful states of California, Hawaii, and Florida. Then a short time later, I joined the military. While serving, I was able to see the world and did some incredible traveling to places I never even knew existed.

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While traveling on and off outside of serving in the military, I have been asked by friends this question: “It must be expensive to do all that traveling, how do you afford it?” My reply is the same every time; “No, not really. It just takes some planning and a little bit of budgeting.” So, take out your pen and paper, and take notes if you would like. Let’s begin.

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Planning

In order to successfully travel and be able to have the other things in life that you desire, you must form a plan. One of the first things to do in planning is determine where you desire to go. The most important question to ask yourself is; can I afford to take this trip? The next critical question to ask yourself is; how much is my overhead? (How much do I spend monthly/annually). One of the goals for me in this case is that I always try to keep my expenses low. The other considerations when planning for travel are transportation, lodging, activities, and other various items.

  • Travel
  • Destination
  • Cost
  • Transportation
  • Lodging
  • Activities

A. Travel: One of my passions is traveling, but you can apply any goal or topic to this. Of course you can apply other items such as the following; depending upon your situation.

  1. Need for a new Vehicle
  2. Wanting to upgrade to a larger Home
  3. Wanting your kids to attend good schools

B. Destination: Decide the place where you want to travel to. I am always looking for a stunning coastline with ocean views, mountains, adventure and hiking trails. So, I enjoy places like tropical islands, national parks, and challenging hiking adventures. These are the things I am passionate for and work to achieve them.

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C. The cost of airline travel is still reasonably affordable if you are willing to be flexible. Here are a few tips to consider for airline or other transportation for traveling to your destination.

  1. Consider taking a route with 2 or more stops.
  2. Flying on Wednesdays or Saturdays may be lower price options.
  3. Low cost airlines including Allegiant Air or Ryan Air are great, but the airport may be located out of your region.
  4. You can also get free points or miles enough for a round trip ticket when you sign up for credit card offers.
  5. Car rentals might be similar to airline reservations when reserving early and for longer duration; you might find lower costs.
  6. Sometimes, you can get better deals when booking in a bundle.
  7. Keep in mind also, that travel doesn't always mean at the cost of flying. Road trips can be just as enjoyable and significantly less cost.
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D. Transportation is usually essential when visiting a new place. You most likely do not plan to travel somewhere and just sit in the hotel room. Car rentals can be expensive as well, but you can sometimes get a lower cost if you reserve it early.

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  1. Remember to check with your auto insurance company to see if they offer deals for car rentals.
  2. Choose the economy car option for the lowest price. Sometimes, you may get a surprise and the rental company only has larger SUVs or sedans left. (But then the gas price may add expense to your final bill).

E. Lodging is one of the biggest expenses you can incur. Especially in places like Hawaii. As a youth, I chose places where I knew people who lived there. My first trip to California entailed visiting relatives. Additionally, one of our trips to Maui, Hawaii, we had a more enjoyable time staying in a condo; which was lower cost than a hotel, at that time. You might also consider the following:

  1. Stay with relatives or friends
  2. Hostel
  3. Hotel
  • You can also earn points and benefits by becoming a member of a hotel chain. For example, we belong to Choice Hotels. And occasionally, they will run promotions where they offer one free night stay.

F. Activities: When you arrive at your destination, you are ready to enjoy it! Depending upon where you go, you will need to choose or decide what activities you enjoy and the things you are interested in experiencing. Be sure to consider cost when deciding what to do for recreation.

Budgeting

I learned many lessons as a kid, and one of the most important one is how to save money. While I was earning money during the summers as a teenager, I allowed myself to purchase a few things. They are nothing extravagant but merely a simple radio, clothing, and some travel. The left over amount I put into my savings account. Here is how I budget for my travel and other things as needed. Budgeting for travel and more of the things or experiences you want in life is two-fold. First thing is to know how much you spend on daily needs and wants. The second is how to save money in your daily life.

I will provide examples and explain how you can apply these two elements to your life. So, to recap; number one, the idea is to know exactly how much you spend monthly or annually and secondly, saving as much money as you can in all aspects of your life.

Itemized list of everyday expenses: a simple guideline.

Create a worksheet/spreadsheet or write down all your expenses and bills that apply to your daily living. You would be surprised at how many folks out there do not have any idea of what they spend every month. You must include everything that you purchase. I will name a few items below to give you an idea. These are the typical necessities that can make up much of the average family budget.

Primary Items and Expenses

Home:

  • Rent or mortgage amount
  • Utilities
  • Water
  • Insurance
  • Taxes
  • Cable or Entertainment

Vehicle

  • Loan payment
  • Insurance
  • Gas
  • Maintenance

Food

  • Groceries
  • Dining Out

Healthcare

The topic of healthcare can vary from person to person. Health insurance has become quite unaffordable these days. So, perhaps you can get creative in your money saving strategies in other categories listed below which may help you in the health insurance costs area.

Money Saving Strategies

Food:

  • Use cash or debit card. (So you actually know what you spent).
  • Follow brands on social media or their websites.
  • Use coupons whenever possible.
  • Buy foods in season for the best deals.
  • Eat lunch at home, or pack a lunch every day.*You will be surprised at how much money this saves.

Car:

  • If possible, pay off your car loan as soon as you can.
  • Do your own maintenance. For example, change oil yourself.
  • Order parts on discount junkyard website or auto part websites.
  • Do your research online to learn about the best prices for filters and oil.

Home:

  • Do your own yard maintenance. Cut your own lawn, trim your shrubs, etc.
  • Pavers: Power wash, sand and seal yourself.
  • Clean your own home.
  • Washing dishes or using dishwasher. Run the dishwasher just once a week.
  • Hang clothes on a rack or outside clothes line and avoid using the dryer.
  • Personal clothing needs. Shop at second hand stores or local boutiques.

Energy:

  • Home: Living in hot climates; keep your blinds closed and windows secure, and use fans.
  • Cold weather: Use extra blankets and wear sweaters, etc. Use the fireplace if you have one.

Insurance: auto, home, health

Research online; ask for any type of discount that might be offered. Ideas: Good driver discount, military discount, homestead, disability, etc.

Activity/Entertainment:

  • Golf: Use Tee time reservations and apply coupons when offered. Choose off days/times or midweek to play.
  • Movies: Choose movies times in the afternoon or matinee times to see the moves.
  • Limit your online or entertainment subscriptions. Determine how much you really use these services.
  • Drop your cable TV service or downgrade to just basic option.
  • Low cost activities include: canoeing, kayaking, relaxing at the beach, hiking, biking.
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Final Thoughts

I hope you will find these tips helpful and practical to apply to your situation. This guideline is only suggestions and ideas. Please add all that would apply to you in your life circumstances. I have been dreaming of traveling and experiencing adventures since I was a youngster. I have lived my dream, and now my goal is to inspire you! I am here to say you can do it too! Go after your travel dreams as well as all the other experiences you want out of life! So, stop sitting there day dreaming about that beautiful tropical paradise; take action and go for it and start planning and budgeting today!

Follow @FitLifeTravel for more tips for travel, adventure, and inspiration. Please stop by FitLifeTravel to read about numerous adventure experiences and other tips!

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Fit* Life* Travel is an adventure lifestyle blog that encompasses living an active lifestyle overall. We hope to inspire you to go outside through our stories of exploration and wander-lusting. Inspiring #Fitness Through #Adventure! We've lived in the most beautiful places in the U.S. from Washington State to California and Florida to Texas. Helping travelers with tips, activities, and unique adventures. We invite you to follow along and join in the Fit Life!

Bradenton, FL
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