Itching to travel, aren’t we? Trust me I know the feeling! Sadly, I had to cancel my May travel plans to Europe, but it’s all good. As excited as I was for the trip, I know it is for the best. Since we are stuck home for a bit, I wanted to utilize this to be as productive as possible and hopefully you all are doing the same. Regardless of what your hobbies are, now is also a great time to get your sh*t together. Learn a new skill, read that book you have been meaning to, or think about planning a future trip. We all know travel can be stressful and even more if you are planning your first trip ever! I don’t know how things will look like in the coming months but I know one thing, when we are able to travel again, I would love for you guys to be ready to just go! I am going to be sharing some of my secrets on how to start traveling so we can get you ready for your trip too! Keep on reading as I share some of my best kept secrets on finding those amazing deals on flights and more!
1.Decide that you want to travel
Yea, that’s right. This might seem like the obvious, however, you must take this first in order to turn your dream to travel into a reality. Write it down in your planner or phone or where you take notes. This is an essential step of our how to start traveling guide.
Now remember, you are going to face some challenges along the way but we are going to do our absolute best to stick to the plan. You ask what sort of challenges? Well, some minor things like time off from work, money, none of your friends/family are or want to travel with you, aka life will happen. However, like I said we are going to stay strong and turn YOUR dream of travel into a reality!
2. Get your money straight
My general rule of thumb, no money means no travel. As much as I love traveling, I do not encourage travel on credit. I will always say pay your bills first, then travel but set aside some money to travel.
Having said that, sit down and figure out how much money you can spend on a trip realistically. And be honest about this, it’s your hard earned money and only you know your financial situation best.
How do you figure out a budget to travel? Well, pay your rent first, bills, essentials such as food and start setting aside money for travel. The money you set aside can be $5 or $50, this is where budgeting is subjective. Whatever you do, save up something every paycheck, I promise you it’ll add up quick. When you have a good amount, you can start planning your trip. Just don’t spend this money on a purse or shoes, OK?
How much do you need? Depends where you are going, when you are going, how long you are gone for, who you are going with and what sort of experience you are looking.
Let me explain…let’s say you have successfully saved up $500 for an entire trip, which most likely will be a national trip. Start by checking out low budget airlines such as Spirit and Frontier Airlines. Click here to read a full review on Frontier Airlines. Round trip flights are as low as $60 (yes, really!). Next up hotels, check out sites like HotelTonight.com, they have some amazing deals on good hotels for under $50 per night.
Option 2- Airbnb works great if you are splitting the cost with other people. With a budget of $500, I suggest a weekend trip or a 3 day/2 nights trip. So after your hotel and flights, it should leave you atleast $300 for food and activities! You see how you can actually travel for less?
3. Read up
There is no better time to prep yourself for a future trip than now. And remember this is all part of the plan. Somethings to research about your next international destination are:
- Do you need a passport?
- Are you required to get a visa?
- What’s the currency used? Where will you get it from?
- What languages are spoken there?
- What form of transportation will you use?
- What are the must see and things to do there?
- What and where will you eat?
- Where will you stay at? Hotel? Airbnb? Hostel?
- Lastly, what sort of trip are you looking for?
I can probably add a few more things for you to consider here, however, I think you get the idea.
This is why now is a good time to find answers to these questions, so when the time comes for you to travel, you won’t be stressed! You’ll be equipped with a wealth of knowledge and ready to go!
4. Get your passport ready
Do you know how long it takes to get a passport? (if you don’t have one) Do you know where to get one? Is it expired? Do you need a visa to travel to your international destination? How much does it cost to get one? Before you panic, let me help. Keep in mind, I’m going to focus mostly on US passport holders.
Okay, so if you are traveling within the US mainland, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, or Alaska, you do not need a passport, yes this includes Puerto Rico too! Now if you are planning to travel outside the United States, a passport is required that includes the Bahamas, Mexico, etc. Your U.S. passport will give you access to most countries around the world without the need of a visa for tourism purposes. However, you do need a visa to travel to countries such as India, China, Vietnam, etc. The best place to figure out if a visa is required or not is the said country’s website. Usually under the visa requirements section, this will also include how you can get a visa, if one is required.
If you have yet to get a U.S. passport, then I suggest to get to it now. It will cost you a couple hundred dollars and the process can take a few weeks, so lets start by checking this link. Click here.
5. When to book your flight
Hopefully by now you have an idea of where you want to go. So far we know your budget for the trip, done lots of research, have your passport ready and now you just need that great deal on the flight. I’m about to share my secret on where you can find the best flights, so keep on reading.
Firstly, Google flights will be your best friend. This is where you can search for the cheapest flights by a specific location or plug in dates and see what places you can visit during those dates and also set up price alerts where you get notified via email when fares drop! Other sites that can do similar functions are Skyscanner, Kayak, Scotts Cheap flights (make sure to sign up for their free emails). Lastly, sign up for newsletters for your favorite airlines. You will be the first ones to be notified about the best deals and can stay loyal to the airlines of your preference. This is how I got a round trip to Amsterdam for $365, Puerto Rico for $80, Cancun for $160 and many more.
Let me know if you have more questions about finding the best deals in the comments below. I’ll be happy to share my thoughts.
Lastly, don’t forget to have fun! Before and during your trip. The whole point of your traveling is to make lifelong memories, so relax and have fun! It’s going to be okay if you didn’t get to see every single museum in Rome or get a pic at every instagrammable spots in Paris. What will matter is your experience and how you felt during your trip.