How Do I Get the Money to Travel?: Part II

My last article, How Do I Get Money to Travel?, looked at ways to cut expenses so that the money could be used for other things: travel. We took a look at a few areas that you are probably wasting or overspending in, such as cable, eating out, and banking fees. The idea was to cut costs and put the difference into a savings account earmarked just for travel. I’m making the assumption that you have some source of income.

There’s something that I think should be clarified:

When I travel, I’m not staying at the Ritz-Carlton or the Marriott. I am a budget traveler and while I can give you tips to cut costs, my most expensive vacation to date (10 days in France in 2014) didn’t cost more than $2,500. When we say “Dream Trip”, that is going to mean something different to everyone and every individual needs to clarify what that means to him or her. However, my mindset is that you can visit some very coveted locations without going bankrupt or putting yourself into debt and that is what I want you to keep in mind.

Be honest with yourself and your budget. If you can afford to splurge, more power to you. If not, some sacrifices will need to be made. Again, it’s all about where your priorities lie and only you can answer that.

Let’s look at the main items you’ll be dishing out cash on and think about a few things:


XL Airways. Never heard if it? Neither did I until last year when I flew to Paris using them.

XL Airways. Never heard if it? Neither did I until last year when I flew to Paris using them.

I have never spent more than $888 roundtrip on airfare. This is going to be your biggest cost. Depending on how far you are traveling from home, this will vary greatly. Still, you can and will get a good deal if you know what to look for. Being flexible can save you a ton of money — I should know!

Some considerations:

  • How long are you traveling for?
  • Do you have a set schedule or can you be flexible with your dates?
  • How important is flying with your favorite airline?
  • How much luggage are you planning to bring?
  • Is your heart set on a particular place or can you be creative?


Some people consider the hotel part of the travel experience and spend a considerable amount of time there while others just go there to shower and sleep. A cheap hostel dorm bed with 8 other guys might make sense for you but may be a deal-breaker for someone else. Which are you?

Some considerations:

  • Do you mind sharing a space with others?
  • Are you traveling alone or with someone?
  • Do you mind sharing a space with others?
  • Are you traveling alone or with someone?
  • How much time will you spend at your lodging?
  • To you have to be right in the mix or are you willing to travel a bit?

Food and Drink

Butifarra, tapas sold at Mercado San Miguel in Madrid for just less than $3 Euros.

Some people eat to live, whereas other live to eat. If you are the type of guy or gal who can eat a hot dog or kebab and be good, this is an area where you can potentially save. If you’re a vegetarian, have special dietary requirements, or are just a picky eater, this is going to require more thought, and probably, more money.

Some considerations:

  • How important is food to you?
  • Are you a drinker?
  • Are you willing to try new things?
  • Does your accommodation allow you to prepare your own meals?


The train I took from Paris to Giverny.

Depending on where you’re going, this will matter more or less to you. If you’re staying in a sunny all-inclusive resort, this is not going to be as much a consideration for you. However, if you’re staying in a large city, or better yet, city-hopping, this is going to cost you a lot more.

Some considerations:

  • How do you plan on getting around town?
  • Are you staying somewhere that is centrally located or a distance from what you want to see?
  • Are you planning to stay in one place or are you looking to visit multiple cities?


Ok, fine — I gave in and bought one in Munich to take home to New York.

Do you really need that I Love NY t-shirt. Do your family members? (Do any of us?) Especially if you’re visiting a heavily touristed locale, it can be easy to be tempted into loosening your purse strings in the name of memories. I recently saw a bunch of American teenage girls in the Swarovski shop at Barcelona airport picking out crystal bangles to the tune of 79 Euros (about $84 USD.) Little did they know that they could buy the same bracelet for $15 cheaper at JFK…

Some considerations:

  • Can you get it or something similar at home?
  • Are you only buying it to have something to prove you went there or is it something you genuinely want?
  • Can you get a better deal for it elsewhere?


If you are from Japan or Scandinavia, then congrats, because the exchange rates are weighed heavily in your favor at current time. If not, this is something that you may need to consider when making plans. You may find out the way I did that the “lobster” that costs $21USD in Copenhagen that seems like a good deal is actually the size of a large shrimp and feel ripped off (true story.)

Some considerations:

  • How much, if any, does your bank charge you to take out cash internationally (remember, you are not only using another bank’s ATM, but also paying a small commission to convert your currency to theirs)?
  • Have you done research on the cost of travel in your desired vacation spot?
  • Do you plan to use traveler’s checks and exchange your money or strictly withdraw money from ATMS?

Think about what is most important to you and make make notes for each of these questions. This is where the fun starts! We’ll be putting these considerations into context and get you thinking about ways that you can potentially save in each of these categories. Stay tuned!