“How can you go on so many holidays?” is without a doubt the question I get asked the most. Despite people’s speculation, I do have a job and sadly I don’t have a tree which grows money. What I do have is some tips which and tricks which I live by which might be able to help you have more holidays, here they are:
1. Use your time wisely.
Generally speaking, most Australians have 4 weeks annual leave a year and I am no different. To make sure I use this time effectively, I don’t take any other annual leave days off during the year. A day here and there adds up and eats away into those precious 20 days before you know it. There are also lots of public holidays to make the most of, use them wisely.
2. Be loyal
You might be tempted to get the cheapest air fare every time, but I think it is always worth it to spend a bit extra and start to reap the benefits of an airline’s loyalty program. Over time you will accumulate points and this can result in cheap flights, accommodation and those lounges which are god sent during long haul flights. My boyfriend and I just managed to book around the world flights on points for our upcoming honeymoon – goes to show that being loyal definitely has its benefits.
I am sure you have heard the term “you can do anything you put your mind to” – and in this circumstance, its true. I love to travel and that is why I prioritise it and put my mind to making sure it happens. Would I love a fortnightly manicure, nice clothes and getting a cab home from work each night? Of course. But I would prefer to sit on the loser cruiser (bus) in looking like a battler instead if it means I get a great holiday.
4. Watch the dollar
If you’re travelling abroad keep your eye on what the currency exchange is doing and if you see a dip in the value of the currency of your destination, buy up! The best way to do this is by loading cash onto a Commonwealth Bank prepaid travel card. These also mean you don’t have to pay lots of fees you get stung with while making purchases or transactions while you travel.
5. Speed tourism.
My boyfriend Andy introduced me to this concept and it is genius. Before meeting him I liked to save and save and save until I could afford to have month long holidays, travelling at a leisurely pace with many lazy days. This method is often expensive, inefficient (especially as work responsibilities grow as you get older) and usually less productive (I believe that the more time you have, the less you do with it).
On the other hand, speed tourism is the opposite. You’re on the ground for less time reducing accommodation costs, the limited time means you see more in each day and the constant state of motion means you are working off all that holiday eating. My first experience of this was our 4 day trip to Japan where we travelled to 3 different cities and saw and did it all including ceremonies in Kyoto, Sumo in Nagoya and Harajuku in Toyko. Speed tourism requires organisation, a healthy level of impatience and a “you can sleep when you’re dead” mentality.
This one should seem fairly obvious but the people that seem to ask me how I can afford travel the most are the ones who seem to spend the most feverously. The simple way of explaining how to do this is to stop stupid spending. Easier said than done right? Well, many years ago a good friend of mine introduced me to the world of spreadsheets and budgets.
Before you get bored and stop reading, hear me out…. Once I started to track every dollar I spent I started to save a lot of money. Once you see how much money a month you spend on coffee, clothes, golf, beer or online poker or whatever it is that floats your boat, it can be alarming to see the lump sum. $50 here and there a few times a week makes up for thousands of dollars a year. So, by setting a realistic annual budget and having transparency on what you’re spending, you’re immediately more conscious of every swipe of my credit card. I have dubbed myself the savings nazi and attribute this attitude and commitment to many nice holidays. If you want a copy of my budget template, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send it your way.
7. Be willing to slum it.
The old adage says, life isn’t about the destination it is about the journey. Sometimes the worst experiences end up being the best stories and memories when travelling. If you know you only need a place to crash, or you know you will barely be in your room book a crappy hotel, motel or hostel. The savings will allow you to either have a longer holiday or splurge on accommodation for nights or destinations that are worth it.
8. Book as early as possible.
Booking accommodation and flights at the last minute is not only a gamble when it comes to availability; it is also a sure-fire way to burn cash unnecessarily. If you’re certain you’re going on holiday, don’t waste time and book ASAP.