10 Ways To Make Travel Happen On Less

Small budget, big travel dreams?  How can you visit the places that you want on your salary?  It’s just not enough.  Well, change your tune, and save your change, because it is possible to make travel happen on less, even if you aren’t a flight attendant!

If you want something in your life, you can figure out how to make it happen.   There is an Italian joke about a poor man who goes to church every day and prays before a statue of a great saint, begging, “Dear saint-please, please, please…make me win the lottery.” This lament goes on for months. Finally the exasperated statue comes to life, looks down at the despondent, pleading man, and says in weary disgust, “My son-please, please, please…buy a ticket.  Remember, you can’t act as an uninvolved participant with what you want in life simply by hoping and praying only.


I had dreamed of visiting Thailand and Vietnam since before I was a flight attendant.


If you want to travel, write down your goal, and rearrange your priorities.  It may not happen in the way that you were imagining, but when you begin to visualize what you want, it’s as if the universe works in harmony to help you actualize those imaginings.  In my personal life, I write down the places that I want to go and the months that I want to visit.  Looking back over my list is a trip in itself!  I am shocked by how ambitious the list was and with how much I actually accomplished of that list.  It happened!

Live your life in a way that makes your dreams a possibility.

Eiffel Tower

I live to see the world:)

This isn’t a post on goal setting or about realizing your dreams, but for me, even though I am a flight attendant, which makes travel easier and cheaper, dreaming and writing down goals has been instrumental.  I’ve learned ways to make travel happen on less, and I’m going to share some tips with you.

10 Ways To Make Travel Happen On Less

    1. Change It In:  What do you do with the 73 cents change that you recieve after paying for lunch?  Many times, I throw it quickly in my purse, adding to the random disaster of my bag.  How much could you save for travel if you threw the change from a day in a jar, saving it for the trip you are dreaming about?  If you are one of those people that find coins annoying, or randomly lose pennies, nickels and dimes, start a piggy bank and save it for travel. 
    2. Make it Business:  You’ve heard about writing expenses off as a business expense.  The Flight Attendant Life is now a legit business entity, complete with a DBA, a bank account, a Hawaii Tax ID number, and IRS tax number.  I’m excited and proud of how this little blog has decided to travel, and now, whenever I travel, I can write off hotels, tours, food, and a lot more, because that’s what The Flight Attendant Life is; my life around the world and all the crazy things I decide to do in that world🙂  I haven’t gotten there yet, but I’m still learning…always learning:)
    3. Go in the off-season:  Off-season can be the best season for travel.  The crowds thin out, and prices decreases.  The weather is something to take into consideration, and some destinations don’t really have off season discounts, so be sure to do you research and have an idea on what to expect.  I personally wouldn’t choose Costa Rica or Roatan in the off-season, due to the rains.  An experience I had of great off season discounts was when my dad and I went to Cat Ba Island, Vietnam.  Our hotel room was only $10 a night, and that same room, is reserved for $60 per night in the high season.  When we were there, it wasn’t a sunny lounge on the beach vacation like it is in the high-season, but I loved the time we spent there.Cat Ba Island
    4. Be a Groupon Groupie:  I am!  Groupon is a deal-of-the-day website that is localized to major markets in the United States and Canada.  I think in the long-run I haven’t saved much money because I end up buying things that aren’t actual necessities in my life, although some, me, would say vital for my survival.  Groupon has really great tour deals, activity discounts, and restaurant coupons.  Since moving to Hawaii, I’ve saved over $50 on a Pearl Harbor/Island tour and gone paddle boarding.  There are always deals happen for surfboard rentals and other fun touristy activities. Paddle Boarding Ala Moana Beach Park
    5. Try Airbnb.com:  Know that there are other accommodation options besides hotels and even hostels to stay while traveling.  Airbnb is a website that lists apartments, flats, and rooms for rent in cities around the world.  It’s nice to use websites like this one because you save money with the room, but also by cooking your own food.  I stayed at an Airbnb found flat in Ljubljana, Slovenia for only $28 per night!! Awesome deal, and added bonus was that the flat’s owner was very cool.  He was a great host when I met him to pick up the key, showing me where to go in the adorable city, scooping me a bowl of ice cream, and taking me out by bicycle to explore!
      Airbnb FlatLjubljana, Slovenia
    6. Be a gourmet suitcase foodie:  Two of my friends went to Norway, and besides being beautiful, the far north Nordic country is also EXPENSIVE.  My friends balanced the decreased their out of pocket traveling expenses by packing their own meals.  Also, many hostels offer a “breakfast,” although it may just be coffee and a few dry pieces of toast, but to a seasoned backpacker, that is a feast.Ginger & Ryan in Norway

Norway Backpacker style

7.  Sublease or “be homeless.”:  For the past two years, in the fall, I’ve taken the entire month, or more off of work just to travel.  One of the ways that I’ve done this financially is by moving out of the place that I was living.  I didn’t see the logic in paying rent if I wasn’t even going to be there, and I needed that money so I could travel.  I don’t want to or can’t move out on a whim like me, another option is to sublease to someone else.

Flight Attendant Packing

Being homeless isn’t always a cakewalk

8.  Latte Factor/Decrease Expenses:  The Latte Factor is an all-inclusive definition for the money you spend on extras, like coffee, alcohol, eating out, or going to the movies.  I don’t want to admit to myself how much Latte Factor has been going on in my life since moving to Waikiki.  Eating out has become a much to expensive hobby and those $5.50 coffee drinks add up.  I was able to afford the level of travel in my life in the past months because I kept my expenses low, ate out less, and didn’t drink (coffee or other).  I need to do some re-shuffling in my life to decrease my personal latte factor.  Figure out what in your life you can change so you can save more money for travel.

9.  Find Good Travel Buddies:  Traveling with other people can significantly decrease your personal expenses by sharing costs of hotels, rental cars, tours, etc.  Or if you are a rock star, find a flight attendant bff and use their flight benes.  Or find someone who works for a global hotel chain, rental car company or something travel related and watch how you will save.  As the saying goes (or used to, cause times of stand-by travel are much different now days), “Date me, fly free.”

Jimmy and I

One of my all-time faves…love this guy:) Best travel buddies ever!

10.  Do Your Research:  For me that means, knowing how to travel like flight attendant’s do, stand-by.  I have spent hours figuring out which routes are more economical and more available.  Certain airports charge more for taxes, like flying to Britain or Canada from the United States.  Fly into a border city, rent a car, and drive.

Here are a couple of links that share some great saving tips

18 Ways to travel free or next to nothing

Budgeting and How To Afford The Travel Life



About the Author Kara

Curious. Bubbly. Creative. Curating a life I don't need an escape from and inspiring you to do the same.

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