How To Fit Travel Into Your Busy Life

One of my goals for the year is to travel more! It seems like a lofty goal, however, since having a baby, but with a new RV, a boat, and living in a huge tourism destination, I think it’s totally doable with my friend Sarah’s tips below! She blogs over at CuriousSarah.com and shares vacationing tips and ideas for budget travel. Definitely bookmark her page to help plan your next vacation!

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If you’ve ever “liked” a picture of an astounding foreign landscape or searched for low priced airfare, chances are you’ve come across one of those bloggers who travel year-round and “lives a life of travel”. And it goes without saying that at some point in your internet binge, you felt jealous. Right?

“That’s great for them”, you mutter to yourself. “But I’m not going to sell my home and quit my job for the sake of wanderlust”. And I don’t blame you. 

Perhaps you got wrapped up in the rat race; the mortgage, student loans, car payments and maybe baby car seats. Don’t feel bad. If you postponed your dreams in the pursuit of the American dream don’t feel guilty because you love your family, and you’re grateful you have a place to call your own and you needed a car. Millions of people around the world would, and do, sacrifice everything to have that.

My point is that it’s ok if you’re not one of those permanent nomads. Embrace your life and your responsibilities. But find a balance. Maybe you’re not a self-actualized vagabond but everyone needs a vacation at least once a year. With some strategy, planning and a little resourcefulness, you too can recharge in whatever way is most fulfilling to you.

Whenever I have a seemingly huge task ahead, I try to break it down into its elementary parts and take baby steps.  

What do you need to take that vacation? In most cases, it’s just two things.

Time and Money. 

So let’s tackle those two variables one by one. 

Time.

If you’re fortunate enough to have vacation time, even paid vacation time, good for you. Problem solved and you can read the next part. If you’re not one of the lucky ones, here are some suggestions to carve out a week or more of free time. 

-Think differently about your raise/promotion. Huffington Post writer, Wendy Simmons, says that by forgoing a raise that works out to be another $40 per week, opt for another two or three days of (paid) vacation instead. 

-Talk to your boss about working remotely. Businesses all over the country are starting to adopt this trend, even for just a day out of the week. Studies show that employees who work from home are generally happier and up to 13% more productive (according to Nicholas Bloom, Professor of Economics at Stanford University). Tell your boss they can save on office supplies. 

-Plan trips around holidays. Sure, the lines will be longer and everything a bit more crowded but if that’s the only time you can take, go for it.  

Money.

If you feel a bit strapped for cash on a regular basis, it can be difficult to set aside funds for a trip. The good news is that with a little consideration, many of us can find wiggle room in our budgets. 

There are already a ton of posts and articles about ways to save money (my favorite website is The Penny Hoarder so I won’t go into that. However, there are two simple concepts that seem to go untouched in this category. 

-My first and favorite strategy is to take a detailed look at your finances. Look over expenses for one month and study each and every transaction. Then categorize them, even if it means writing it down and color-coding. 

Pay special attention to your fun/entertainment budget. Are there unnecessary recurring purchases like eating out, coffee, beer and so on? For the most part, you can’t do much to lower your electric and Internet bills so don’t worry about that. Focus on the variables over which you have control and work on those. It may take a couple months to see what works. 

If you usually have a Grande Mocha from Starbucks every morning on your way to work, putting that change into savings could give you $1,172 in one year! 

My second strategy is to make a habit of squirreling away money. So many people are discouraged against saving because after all their bills, they only have a small amount left and they figure, “what’s the point?” What’s important isn’t the size of your contribution, what really makes the difference is establishing the habit and letting time work for you. 

If you save just $20 per paycheck (assuming you are paid bi-weekly), you’ll have around $520 at the end of the year. You could have even more if you saved all your change. With just a few simple changes, you can save $1,672 for your yearly vacation. 

“But Sarah,” you ask. How am I supposed to have a vacation for $1,672?

If you travel hack using credit card miles (like The Points Guy), you can earn a free or cheap flight. Using this method, I have flown to Mexico for $27 and Spain for $5.50. In a nutshell, find a credit card that offers you rewards for things you’d buy anyway. You could use your rewards for airfare, hotels, and sometimes a credit on your statement. 

Using AirBnB or any of the various home stay websites out there, you could get a week in a private apartment for $100. And you have $1,500 to spend however you please. I’ve used Couchsurfing to stay for free in three countries and I used WorkAway to organize a volunteer stay for about $3 per day (with all the homemade food I could eat). I’ve heard great things about House Sitting websites to which you pay a small annual fee that is less than a quarter of a nice hotel room, and you get more space and a kitchen!

These suggestions might not get you a luxury vacation in those over-water bungalows in Fiji (although you could certainly implement these tips to accomplish that) but all we need is time away in a new place. If it really means that much to you, which it should, make traveling a priority.

And when I say “traveling,” that doesn’t mean you have to get on a plane or cross any borders. There are plenty of adventures to be had in your own backyard.

The Dalai Lama suggests that we go somewhere new once per year. Listen to one of the wisest people on Earth and make travel a priority. And don’t feel guilty if you decide to take your vacation instead of flying back home for Thanksgiving. 

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Sarah is a writer loving life in the Pacific Northwest. When she’s not reading to her baby in Spanish, running her husky or drinking wine with her husby, she’s either hiking, writing or reading about budget travel. She has also been known to practice calligraphy with her morning coffee from time to time. For more details on how to fit a vacation into your busy life, or what it’s like to get tattooed in Thailand, visit CuriousSarah.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

So will you be using these tips for travel? Where are ya headed for your next vacation?! I’m hoping for a camping trip to the Keys or the Ocala National Forest..sometime before it gets WAY to hot in Florida!

43 comments

    1. Thanks Kathryn! Definitely just excuses..if you want something bad enough, you’ll find the ways to do it!

    2. I’m so glad you found this post helpful, Kathryn. No one would blame you for not traveling with a busy life but it feels so good to work hard for something and then get it!

  1. These are such great tips! My friend just started a new job and works remotely because she wanted to travel more! So far she loves it!

    1. That’s so exciting! Hoping to travel more this year too!!

  2. I like your ideas to save money on travel. I like using home stay websites to book an entire place with a kitchen so you can cook your own meals on vacation! That saves a ton of cash.

    1. We love staying in places with kitchens so we can bring our own food! Helps save money, and helps me to stay on track with eating!

  3. These are really great tips! I think it’s important to get away every year. We need to recharge in order to perform better in life. These days you can really find lots of ways to save and still have fun on the cheap!

    1. Thanks Joscelyn! I think so too! This year has to be our year for a getaway…we need it!!

    2. I just read that trips are “happiness anchors” for children. Just one more reason to make it happen.

  4. I’m a travel blogger and I must say your tips are spot on! You shared a lot of great resources. I love penny hoarder! They are awesome, they provide such useful budgeting tips. I’m so impressed by your $27 Mexico flight! Cheers to that… sorry for all the exclamation points lol reading budget travel posts gets me really excited!

    1. Thanks Jewels! It was a fun collaboration post with Sarah! I’m excited to share her tips! 🙂

    2. It means so much that you agree with this advice, especially being a travel blogger. Glad I didn’t miss anything! What’s your site?

  5. I loved this! The hubby and I are getting itchy to travel and this just sealed the deal!

    1. So fun Kim! Where are ya headed??!

  6. So, so true! I definitely need to work on fitting travel into my life more…there are so many places I want to visit and see in my lifetime, not to mention the fact that taking a break is always good for our mental and physical health!

    1. So true Katie!! I am in serious need of a trip!

  7. I always tell people all my money goes to traveling. I definitely need to research more about ways to cut costs using points but to me the experience is worth every penny spent. Love jetsetting!

    1. For sure Liz! All this travel talk has got my itching to get away!!

  8. In most EU countries, we get at least 21 paid work days leave, which means a month per year. I know that in other countries the paid leave is just 10 working days or so and I struggle with the 21 days. I admire those who manage to survive with only 10 days leave.

    1. Wow, that’s so much time off! I don’t work currently, but you’re lucky if you get a week’s paid vacation!

  9. I”ve traveled to London and Paris on less than $2,00. You just have to be creative!

    1. Wow, that’s so awesome! Definitely!

  10. So inspiring, I love your outlook on life! I live in Florida too – Tampa 🙂 This post was the final push I needed to hit send, confirming that I’ll be attending a yoga retreat to Greece this summer 🙂

    1. Thanks so much Lauren! That’s awesome! I’m around the Lakeland area and visit Tampa all the time! Wow, that is too cool. Sounds like such an amazing trip!

  11. Great tips! I’m quite lucky with the amount of paid vacation I get each year. The problem is that we’re so busy that I rarely find time to use that vacation time!

    1. Glad you like them Erin! That’s so true..hopefully you’ll get to use some this year!!

  12. Great tips, Sarah!! I LOVE travelling, and I hope to be able to do more of it once my husband is out of college. It’s expensive, but priceless when it comes to the memories and experiences you keep for the rest of your life.

    1. Glad you liked it Rebecca! Definitely priceless for the memories!!

    2. That’s very admirable that you’re being supportive of your husband through his collage. Him being in college and you going on trips together are both investments in your future and your relationship. Keep up the good work. (And maybe surprise him with a trip as a graduation present!)

  13. Great post! You have valid points, and frankly it all starts to add up quick once you start making a few adjustments here and there and soon enough, you’ll be booking that amazing vacation.

    My husband and I utilize our three pay cheque months and save that hunk of money and voila, there’s all of our scuba diving paid for and then some, little things like that.

    Have a lovely weekend 🙂

    1. Lindsay, that sounds great! Glad you enjoyed this post! Same to you!!

    2. That’s great you’re saving systematically! That’s the key: Just doing it regularly. Whether it’s a whole paycheck or just 10%, it’s amazing how it can all add up. Good for you for scuba diving!

  14. I realised that flying from London to South East Asia is even worth it if you only have 5 days off. Friday night till next weekend’s Sunday night is good enough to venture out on a long-haul 🙂

    1. Depending on where you’re traveling I think you definitely need a good chunk of time to visit..especially if there’s a time difference!

  15. Great post! So inspiring. I need to set aside workout times when I travel so I stick to it!

    1. Thanks Annie! That can definitely be tough, but I like to fit workouts into what I’m doing while traveling..exploring by foot is the best way to see things and get a workout in!

  16. Working out can be really challenging when traveling. When my routine is disturbed, everything goes out the window. At least there’s always walking and sometimes, if you have internet, Pilates videos on YouTube

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