When I was in college, I had a chance from my World Civilizations class to study in Zimbabwe. When I mentioned it to my father, his first response was “Why you wanna go there?” That quickly dissuaded me and I held off on the idea that a small town girl could travel beyond where her car could take her.
Thinking I couldn’t afford it or wasn’t ready to see beyond NC, SC, and Virginia, it took years for me to get the urge to travel. However, I made sure that if my son ever had the opportunity to fly or travel, I would never tell him no. At the age of 11, I put him on a flight by himself to go play soccer in Philadelphia. Over the years, he flew by himself wherever opportunity was presented to him.
I eventually caught the flight bug and realized that the peace in the clouds is where I wanted to be, as much as I could.
My vision board for 2016 had 3 International trips listed. My goal was to travel internationally 3 times with a few quick US trips in between. Goals accomplished!
People sometimes ask me about planning my trips. Truthfully, I rarely have a plan. I know that sitting at home closes my mind and leaves me wondering what it’s like outside of my comfort zone. So I travel to learn about others and even more so, to learn about myself.
If you think you can’t travel beyond Myrtle Beach because it’s too expensive, let me help you out.
First of all, get your damn passport! There is nothing like being offered a free trip and not having a passport to travel with. That happened to me once. I was so embarrassed. Don’t get embarrassed. Get your passport and be ready.
Anyway, back to how you can travel on a budget.
There are several websites that offer random travel deals. By now, you should be following most of them. My favorite is https://www.facebook.com/Travelpirates/ Travel Pirates does the work for you by finding discounted flights from nearly every airline and posts them at random. They often post airline and hotel glitches from all over the world. My travels usually start with a flight deal and I “plan” around that.
Online companies like Groupon and Living Social sell travel packages that often times come with flights. While I have never used these options, I know of several people who have used the all inclusive offers they have presented. The packages offer you a chance to just make your purchase and allow them to design your vacation. If you think you can’t do it yourself, allow one of these packages to plan for you.
Join a travel group and jump on an upcoming trip. These groups plan the entire trip for you and allow you to make a deposit and payment plans. So, while you get to see the world with these groups, you also make new friends along the way. Check out the Facebook pages of https://www.facebook.com/blacktravelmovement/ and “Up In the Air Travel Life” to get you motivated for traveling with groups. Both have several upcoming trips planned.
My frugality and glitch watching once got me a round trip, 1st class ticket to New Orleans for $100. Once the ticket was purchased, the plan to attend Essence Festival during the 4th of July was put into place. That ticket normally would have been $400+.
If you think you can’t do it, let me break down my most recent trip to Guadeloupe, a French territory in the West Indies. I saw a deal on Travel Pirates to fly to either Guadeloupe or Martinique. Because I’ve heard of people visiting Martinique but never Guadeloupe, I shared the information with my down for whatever girlfriend and purchased the tickets to Guadeloupe. Round trip for $110, plus taxes. Total, $151 each. That flight is normally around $300 plus the cost of checked baggage which we got for free. Once we purchased the tickets, I went to http://www.booking.com to reserve several hotels, apartments and houses in which I could hold them with my card without making a final decision until closer to the date. Because of this, I was able to watch prices and make adjustments based on that. I went with a cute, little house that cost $293 for the entire stay. Taxi to and from the hotel, $40 each way. City transportation, $5-8 for 2 people each trip, which we only used one day. We spent less than $20 each day for food because it wasn’t expensive. A local cooked for us one day. We tasted rum at several locations which meant we didn’t have to pay for alcohol. So basically, we traveled outside the country for substantially less than $500 each. With $150 spent almost 4 months ahead of the trip.
While some people choose to cruise in order to travel, I have no desire to take a cruise so I can’t provide anything positive or negative about them. They just seem too “touristy” to me and I never want to seem like a tourist. They also seem like you’re around the same type of people. I encourage you to experience different places and people. However, if it helps you go beyond where your car can take you, go!
So, stop saving your vacation days. Live a little. Stop thinking you can’t do it, you can. But first, get your damn passport!