I often get asked, “Cait, how do you afford/find the time to travel so much?”
I can’t blame people for asking. I’m just a regular girl. I don’t get paid to travel the world. I work a nine-to-five job, blog on the side and I’m only given 2-weeks vacation from my job (Yup, two weeks!) Yet somehow, I manage to go on at least four trips a year. At least.
For everyone who scrolls through Instagram gazing at stunning travel photos and start questioning their purpose in life, I’m about to school you on how you go more places in 2018. Read my tips below:
Get Another Source Of Income
This might be a no-brainer, but you would seriously be surprised at how many people upright refuse this imperative suggestion. When I wasn’t making enough money to support my wanderlust lifestyle, I started serving part-time. I got a serving job close to my place of work and headed to the restaurant after work and start working again! I would also sacrifice my weekends to serve and I honestly didn’t mind the work – it was basically getting paid to socialize. But I still made time for friends by booking weekends off ahead of time. I added a lot of money to my average income and made travel a priority. Now that I’m happy with my salary, I freelance on the side to add a little extra cushion in there for flights or unpaid vacation time. You need to be willing to make sacrifices to be a wanderlust.
Make The Most Of Long Weekends
Two-weeks vacation is not exactly a luxury, but it’s better than nothing. If you have minimal vacation time like me, you can focus your short-haul travels (travel time that is less than 5 hours) over a long weekend and save your long hauls for your vacation days. I assure you it can be done. I’ve gone to Seattle, New York, Kelowna, Banff, Portland and Nashville over a long weekend and I was able to do everything I wanted without taking off additional days. If you have an agreement with your employer, you can also use a sick day towards your long weekend travels for some extra time. This is a great tactic if your flight is over 5 hours – but I recommend discussing it with your employer before you attempt it.
Make Hopper Your New Best Friend
There are TONS of flight apps out there that watch flight deals and prices for you. I use Hopper for all my short haul flights. I’ll admit that some of these flights aren’t necessarily the best (you’ll learn to welcome layovers with loving arms), but they are cheap. I’ve scored a flight to Kelowna with no connections for $598 on Hopper over Labour Day weekend! Set up all the short-haul flights you’re thinking of going on on your watch list well in advance, and once Hopper alerts you to a good deal, book it!
Start Making Connections With New People When You Travel
Naturally, I’m a social butterfly. It’s easy for me to connect with new people and make friends. When I travel I make such an effort to meet new people and I can genuinely say I am so thankful for some of the friendships I’ve made around the world. One of the perks of building these friendships is a cheaper travel bill. If you’re not paying for a hotel that will shave off a major chunk of your budget. For example, I met a few girls from Brussels when I was backpacking in Europe over 10 years ago and they visited myself and my friend in Canada last summer. They ended up staying with my parents for a few nights in Prince Edward County and my friend Cristina in Ottawa. This can really help you save money, and more often than not people are willing to let you stay with them and join you on your travels.
If you’re not one of those amazing people who threw caution to the wind and sold everything they had to travel full-time, you have to do a little more legwork. This means planning ahead. While a small percentage of my travel is on a whim, most of it planned months in advance. I know which long weekends I want to use for travel and where I’m going, what things I want to do while I’m there so I can make the most of my time and booking flights are ALWAYS done in advanced. As much as I love free-spirited vacations where you just get there and do everything on a whim if I want to make the most of my travel budget for the year, everything needs to be planned.