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Traveling on a Budget AKA How To Vacation on a Dime
Yes, Poor People Can Also Travel for Fun
Vacations and traveling are fun but can get really expensive. Hotels, flights, rental cars-these all add up scarily quickly. So how can you see the world and enjoy your vacations without breaking the bank?
If you don’t have money to spend than you probably feel like you can never go on a vacation. This is especially true if you are living on an income that probably won’t go up any time soon (teacher, rabbis, anyone?). If you live on a budget and don’t foresee your budget being increased any time soon then you may think that you will never be able to go on a real vacation. That can be pretty disheartening. I think we can all use a break in our lives, especially if your day-to-day life is difficult.
The best way to travel on a budget is by utilizing credit cards. There are some who manage to do crazy expensive trips just using credit card points and perks. Check out DansDeals or Million Mile Secrets for advice on how to do that. I am going to focus on some easier and simpler ways to use credit cards for travel.
The concept is simple: open a credit card, spend the minimum spend to receive the sign-up bonus and then open another credit card and do the same thing. DO NOT SPEND MONEY ON A CREDIT CARD THAT YOU CANNOT PAY BACK IMMEDIATELY. The point is not to rack up credit card debt but to put your regular spending on a credit card that will give you the most bang for your buck. I will be talking more about my rules for credit cards in a later post.
My Three Favorite Cards:
- IHG credit card- This card gives a nice sign-up bonus but also gives you 1 free night at any IHG hotel once a year. There is a $49 annual fee but it is worth it for the free night you get! IHG also has 5000 point promotions where you can book rooms at select hotels for 5000 points. This can stretch your points pretty far if you plan correctly! This card also has a low spend required for the sign-up bonus which makes it a pretty sweet card! I love the anniversary nights which gives you a free night every year at basically any one of their hotels, depending on availability. My husband and I have used this to even get away in our own city when we couldn’t afford flights or rental cars. A nice dinner and then a night at a really nice hotel makes a really nice special night away and is a good enough vacation to make you feel recharged and ready to deal with life.
- British Airways Card– This card has an $89 fee but gives you British Avios which can be used on many airlines both domestic and international. I think this card has the most flexibility for international flights which is why I recommend this card.
- Barclays Travel– The Barclay Arrival Plus has a $89 annual fee (waived the first year). This card gives you points back on travel related purchases (besides for the nice sign-up bonus). This card is great if you want to travel on budget carriers because you purchase a ticket and then use the cash back to pay for it.
If you are creative, okay with being limited in your flight and hotel options than you can do some great trips for cheap! There are other credit cards that you can use as well: Jet Blue, Chase Sapphire, Southwest, Hyatt etc. Do some research and figure out which is the best for where you want to travel!