The hardest thing we have had to give up while tackling our debt has been traveling. We used to go on long, elaborate (and expensive) trips before realizing....shizzzz, we REALLY should be wiser about this. However, there are times when you HAVE to travel or times when you need to get away for a bit. While you're on your way to debt freedom, you really should't be going on elaborate, expensive trips so here's what we do to cut back on expenses while traveling..
1 // PACK. YOUR. FOOD.
NUMBER ONE TIP, PEOPLE. PACK YOUR FREAKING FOOD. When we travel for less than a week, we try to always pack breakfasts, lunches and snacks for the trip. Works like a charm. We usually do oatmeal (all you need is hot water, which you can get anywhere, or you can use the coffee maker in your hotel room- just don't use coffee!) or protein bars for breakfast, pre-made PB&Js + apples + pretzels for lunches and then we usually pack snacks like chips, popcorn, apples, trail mix, etc. to snack on.
P.S. YOU CAN FLY WITH A BAG FULL OF FOOD. That's what we did when we went to Chicago. We packed all of our food, put it in a reusable bag and let it be one of our carryons (Plus, it's one less thing to carry when you fly home...) Word to the wise- make sure that you pre-open your chip + popcorn bags because the air pressure in the sky can make them fill up with air and pop...
2 // Use Public Transportation
In the past, we have usually opted to rent a car because B LOVES to drive and it is his favorite way to see a city. However, public transportation is far less expensive and will help you see the city like a local. While we were in Chicago, we use the "L" and the buses to get everywhere and our 3-day passes were only $20 each, with a $5 credit. Make sure you look up what public transportation is available before you travel and price out how much a pass is going to be and if it will take you where you need to go. Much cheaper than an Uber or rental car!
3 // Bring a water bottle
This sounds trivial, but you would be surprised how much money you waste on stupid, little things like sodas, waters, coffee, etc. It's tempting to run to Starbucks while traveling or quenching your thirst with a cold, bottle of water while walking around a hot city but if you bring your own reusable water bottle, your money is going to stay put and you'll be able to fill up at most places, including Starbucks! Most places nowadays have the water bottle filling stations so it makes filling up your bottle super easy.
4 // Don't overpay for a place to stay
Be smart about your accommodations because this can eat up a huge part of your budget. You can check out places like Airbnb, but make sure you are actually paying less than a hotel, because sometimes they can be just as expensive. I like to use apps like Hotels.com and Hotel Tonight to score hotel deals. We got an amazing $400 hotel room our last night in Chicago when our flight was cancelled for $181 on Hotel Tonight!
P.S. If you're down, camping is usually always your cheapest option if that's available to you! Hostels are great options for citites, too!
5 // Have a budget
This is the MOST important. You should have a budget at home, so you should have a budget while traveling, too. You need to set an overall number that you are willing to spend on the trip and then you need to break it down into categories like accommodations, transportation (don't forget things like parking and gas if you're driving!), food, entertainment, etc. Then, you need to figure out how much you can spend per day. Base your travel plans around that! And then...TRACK EVERYTHING YOU SPEND! I like to use the EveryDollar App to track my expenses!
6 // Find free things to do
What is better for your budget than spending NO MONEY? There are free things to do EVERYWHERE- you just need to do a little research. Base your plans around free parks, concerts, events, museums, etc. You would be surprised at how much there is to do that is free in cities. If you're exploring somewhere more rural, look for amazing nature to explore. Nothing is better than the great outdoors...and getting that awesome Instagram pic.