Summary: Really make your goal to travel, and you will find the money. I offer some specific tips as well.
Two Principles for Paying for International Trips
After we got home from our first trip, my daughter said to me, “When I get more money, I want to travel.”
I told her, “No. That’s the wrong way to think about it. Decide to travel, and you will find the money.” You either tell money where to go, or it will tell you where to go, as the old saying goes.
Sure enough, four months later, my daughter went to Colombia for the first time. You find ways to do it.
There are always numerous ways to save money. You can eat out less. You get a cheaper phone plan. You can choose a cheaper phone. You can work extra hours. You start to see these things when you have a goal.
Principle #1 for paying for international trips: Really make it your goal to travel, and the money will start to appear.
Sometimes opportunities and money just fall into your lap. You get a bonus or a refund that you did not expect. You receive a gift. You get an inheritance check.
Now, sometimes you need that money for expenses, but other times you do not. You can use that money to do something memorable.
That’s what we decided to do with the Covid checks we received. We have a lot of kids, so the checks were large. We did not need the money to pay our bills, so we decided that rather than simply frittering it away on this and that, we would do something big. We would give two more of our daughters the opportunity to visit Egypt.
The only hiccup was that in the midst of the ten trips, I also had to pay for two weddings. This might have stopped the travel, but we received inheritance money that enabled us to pay for these weddings, travel to Colombia, and get a new heating and air conditioning unit as well.
Principle #2: Set aside extra money that you receive and don’t need for bills for bigger extras, like travel.
Six Tips for Paying for International Trips
But what if we don’t have a pandemic, and what if you don’t get an inheritance? How do you do it? Here are a few tips.
1. Use credit card points. One way I got extra money was getting new credit cards. I have never had an issue with credit card debt. I have always looked at them as a tool. One way you can use this tool is to get rewards. This is extra money you can put towards travel. When I purchased the tickets for Scotland, I got an American Express card that nearly cut the already cheap cost of the tickets in half.
2. Keep your travel time flexible. We went to Egypt in September and took two of our daughters out of school for two weeks to do it. We got round trip plane tickets for $600. This would not have been possible if we had gone during typical school breaks.
3. Visit cheaper countries. If you travel to northern Europe, it will be expensive. If you go to Japan, it will be more expensive. If you travel to Southern Europe, it will be cheaper. If you go south of Europe, to Africa, it will be cheaper still. If you visit America or Canada, prices will be higher. If you visit Latin America, you can find cheaper prices. Cheaper trips=more trips.
4. Plan your own trip. If you do the research, you can find cheaper ways of taking a trip. Using a travel agent or company can help you, but it will cost. On the other hand, if you are visiting a place that is less secure or where you don’t know the language, the extra cost may be worth it.
5. Don’t eat out all the time. Visiting a supermarket in a foreign country is a fun and interesting experience. You can learn a lot about the culture. You can interact with the locals. After eating out a whole week in Madrid, the supermarket down the street opened up. It had been closed for remodeling. I purchased many of the items I had purchased in restaurants for half the price, and it was all very good! However, visiting restaurants is part of the experience of travel, so I did not have buyer’s remorse for doing it.
6. Stay with people. If you know someone in a foreign country, see if you can stay with them. This may provide free lodging and meals. Just be sure to invite them and be willing to return the favor! We stayed with missionaries connected with our church when we went to Spain. They had a whole basement available for visitors, and it was free!
In sum, I learned that you don’t wait until you have money to travel. You make the decision, and the money takes care of itself. Your ingenuity will find a way.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post. Are there ways that you have found to save money on international travel? I’d love to read them in the comments below. Pleas share your experience. If you liked this post, you can read more like it by subscribing to this blog below. I would also appreciate a shout out on social media. I hope to see you hear again.