Cheap Travel Options
I reached financial independence by following three guiding principles. The first principle, sensible spending, is the foundation for how I reached FI, as it enabled the other two – active saving and sound investing. And since reaching FI several years ago, we’ve enjoyed the “riches” of cheap travel options. We spend way less on travel now than we ever did – and it’s not all related to points and miles. Here are just a few strategies we’re using to travel on the cheap as FI’ers.
My family and I focus on traveling during low periods, in multiple senses of the word. With our flexible schedules, we shape many regional and long-distance trips to cheaper times of the year. On solo trips, I may travel within the conventional Monday-Friday work week, when prices on certain flights, hotels, or destinations are lower. We avoid trips around major holidays, a period when rates are often jacked up as high as travelers’ stress levels.
Of course, “go when it’s cheap” isn’t always a practical option, but we try to leverage our flexibility as much as we can.
A Destination Is Now Home
Before relocating, we spent much of our time traveling along the East Coast, about four hours away from our home. We consumed plenty of time, points, miles, and some cash on these trips. After careful consideration, we opted to move to this location. This travel destination is now where we reside, one where we don’t need to commit such significant vacation resources as before. But simply moving to a vacation destination can be tremendously shortsighted. Watch out for the pitfalls and consider the big picture.
A More Fulfilling Everyday Life
Since reaching FI and relocating, my family and I probably take fewer “big” vacations than before. Several reasons exist for this, some which may be in my subconscious. I do know that I feel less of a need to “get away” or “escape” from the stress, hustle, and bustle of everyday life. That’s probably because we’re enjoying our day to day home life more and don’t feel a need to run away from it.
Perhaps this one goes hand in hand with the previous. We’ve found short trips are more often scratching our travel itches nowadays. Since we know we can easily take another trip, we don’t try to shove too much into any one instance. If we truly missed those experiences, we’ll make the effort to return. If not, it probably wasn’t that big a deal to us, anyway. That’s how we rationalize it, at least.
More Time to Strategize
Since reaching FI, I’ve been able to commit more time to the points, miles, and travel hacking hobby. Otherwise, there’s no way I’d have the time to be so up to speed on certain complexities of our silly game. To be fair, I still try to keep certain maddening tasks simple. But there’s much to our hobby I enjoy exploring, and those aspects save us money.
You don’t necessarily have to be financially independent to embrace one (or multiple) of these strategies. Perhaps you may not be able to take on certain angles as intensely as I have, but even doing a little of the above could save you a lot. We’ll keep enjoying the cheap travel options FI brings us, and I encourage you to come up with your own, as well. Speaking of, how are you keeping travel cheaper these days?
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