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Vacation like a travel blogger without breaking the budget
You’re probably sitting at your desk right now thinking, “I need a vacation!” Of course, that thought is immediately followed by a series of reasons why you can’t just pack up and go. Maybe this isn’t the right time to be away from the office or you’re worried that a vacation could make a serious dent in your savings.
That’s not the case for the Ejmont family. In June 2015, they overhauled their busy lifestyle to make travel an essential part of it. They turned vacationing into a full-time gig by launching the travel blog “Wanderlust Storytellers.” Along the way, they learned a thing or two about traveling efficiently that could help you plan for your next getaway and stay within budget on your trip. This year, we are lucky enough to have them as a part of our brand ambassador program, in which they share their financial experiences to their followers.
Money-saving tips before you go
1. Skip the hotels.
Wanderlust Storytellers: “We typically stay in apartments booked through home-sharing programs, like Airbnb, as they are much cheaper than hotels. They also generally have a fully operational kitchen so that we can cook and prepare our own meals rather than eat out all the time.”
2. Sign up for loyalty programs. All of them.
WS: “We signed up for as many loyalty programs as we can. They are typically free so what do you have to lose.”
3. Don’t be afraid to book first and pay later.
WS: “We tend to purchase the tickets when the prices are more affordable or when there are some amazing deals available. We often book those on credit cards so we don’t miss a great fare, and just work really hard to pay off the debt quickly. We hate having debt, and so having the pressure to repay it works better for us than having to save for a trip.”
How to save during your vacation
4. Exchange some currency, but not all of it.
WS: “We only exchange enough currency to last us for the first week. After that we will simply withdraw money in the local currency from the ATMs.”
5. Leave your cash in your room.
WS: “We only take what we need for the day and leave the rest in the safe at the apartment or hotel.”
6. Do as locals do.
WS: “We love asking our taxi driver or someone on the streets about where they recommend we should eat. Touristy restaurants never have the best food and tend to be overpriced.
“We also tend to buy food from local supermarkets in order to make our own breakfasts. For lunch we normally stick to street food as it is so much cheaper and at night we will treat ourselves to a proper sit-down meal in a restaurant.”
7. Find the free stuff.
WS: “We find free walking tours in major destinations, and book tours with less-expensive local guides rather than big companies.”
Budgeting after you’re back
8. Penny-pinching to pay down your trip quickly.
WS: “Once we return from a trip it only takes us a few months to repay the trip. During those few months we typically live on a pretty tight budget, so that every spare dollar can go towards repaying our debt.
“The quickest way for us to save money is by simply cutting down on the number of lunches and coffee-dates we have with friends and family. You can catch up with friends and not spend any $$$ — think about catching up at the beach, a picnic, going for a hike with them, etc.
“We also got rid of unused subscriptions at home. Try to live a more minimalistic lifestyle at home, really question whether you are buying something new because you need it, or simply because you want it.”