I get asked a lot about how I am able to travel with JustaBXgirl regularly. It’s usually a two-part question. On one hand, people want to know how I handle traveling as a solo parent. And on the other hand, people want to know how I can afford it. This post is to talk a bit about the second question because while I can definitely come up with tips on the first, the true answer is because I don’t have any other option! I can easily though share some of the ways that I make it happen financially.
I have shared before and will share again that I did not get on a plane until I was twenty-one. I knew from way before I had JustaBXgirl that my child would be traveling from early on. Travel for me has been a priority for my entire adult life. I don’t know anything that feels as full of freedom and privilege as traveling does. Simply deciding that I want to see a place in the world and actually getting there means more than I can ever truly express. What I can express is that I want each and every person in this world to feel that feeling that I do. What I don’t want though is for traveling to become a rob Peter to pay Paul experience. For those unfamiliar with the reference, what I mean is, I don’t want you to spend money that belongs to something else on travel.
Personally, I would never spend my rent or utilities money on travel because that wouldn’t feel good. I would never plan more trips than I can budget for because that would take away the freedom and leave me chained to debt. I don’t want that for you and I don’t want that for me. That’s why I am here to share some of what works for me when it comes to planning and saving for trips. Using these techniques, I am usually able to take about three trips a year with JustaBXgirl not counting local trips to places like Long Island, Pennsylvania and, Philadelphia.
Tip #1 – Off-Season Travel – Everyone wants to travel holiday weekends and school breaks. Not me! Those are the times where everywhere you would want to go are extra crowded and extra expensive. I don’t like crowds and I don’t like paying extra so off-season is my preferred travel time. You can save hundreds of dollars by traveling to popular destinations off-season or even picking a lesser desired locale of you can only travel during high seasons.
Tip #2 – $1 & $5 Bills – You will be shocked and amazed at how much you can save by putting away every $1 and $5 bill that crosses your path. Depending on the month this can save me close to $100 or more dollars. This is a great way to save even if you’re not trying to go on a trip. I actually used the money I had saved this way to pay for car repairs recently.
Tip #3 – Miles Credit Card – I love JetBlue. I have a JetBlue credit card because they are my preferred airline for traveling domestically and to the Caribbean. I can’t wait until they fly internationally. For now, though I use my JetBlue card for my everyday purchases so that I earn miles for everything. Then I use my miles to book flights for at least one of those annual vacations. Using the card means I earn miles with Jetblue even when I travel on other airlines because I have used my card to pay for those flights! Who’s your favorite airline? There’s a good chance that they too have a card. Now, remember what I said earlier about not going into debt over vacations. It is very easy to lose track of how much you spend on your credit cards so please do not charge a gazillion dollars just to earn points. Have a plan on how to pay off whatever you charge. I can give you tips if you need them.
Tip #4 – 52 Week Savings Plan – I’m sure you have heard of this savings plan. You save $1 the first week of the month, then $2 the second week and so on until the last week of the month when you save $52. All in all, this saves you about $1300. You can do the math to see the exact number. There are ways to manipulate this savings plan to make it work better for you. You can save a different amount each week, you can do this plan for every member of your family. Some people say it’s easier to do it by saving the $52 the first week and working your way down.
Let me know which tip you think will work best for your family? Leave a comment to tell me and share where you guys will be going.