Another one of the more common goals is to travel more. This is a bit more of a positive goal than the last two, and if you take advantage of a few things, it should be a fairly easy one to hit. I travel a lot for business, so I have learned a few tricks over the years to maximize the savings on travel. I will list some of these as well as some websites and tools that I use to get free and reduced travel.
Points, miles, and bonuses
Almost everybody has a frequent consumer program these days, and most of them you can join for free. You need to join all of the ones you can, especially the travel related ones. The airline that is dominant in your location should be the first one you join. You can go to their website and sign up for free, and they will send you your card in the mail. They will also have some type of charge card that will allow you to earn miles on the airline for every dollar you spend. While I don’t advocate credit cards, this can be a pretty quick way to rack up airline miles for a free trip. You also get miles every time you fly on that carrier along with a host of other benefits if you advance in level in their program.
Another program is the American Express membership rewards. The same thing applies, you get a point (or more) for every dollar you spend, and then you can use those points for everything from travel, to gift cards, to actual purchases. They are also good because with their charge cards you are forced to pay your balance off every month.
Hotels also have these programs, and most of the big chains have credit cards associated with them as well. All of these are good to have even if you use them infrequently as long as the points don’t expire.
There are a lot of resources out there on the Internet about living a nomadic lifestyle by going someplace and finding a job there. I have never done this, but given the number of people that are doing it, it seems like a viable option. This type of travel would be more long term, and would be more suited for people without strong ties to their home, but the idea seems like it would be an adventure if nothing else. I will list some resources below for anyone interested in this type of travel.
The old fashioned way
You can also just plain save your money and go on vacation. There are definitely ways to save money here as well. Try to go off-season when you travel and you will likely save a ton off of the high season rates. This might be hard if you have kids, getting them out of school, but if that is an option that your school allows, they will remember it forever! You can also find some pretty cheap vacations out there if you are willing to sit through a sales pitch for a couple hours. Search online for timeshare companies and check out their offers. I have a friend that does this every year to get a cheap trip to Vegas, and he is usually approached while he is there and offered another trip by another company! You have to be strong willed and willing to say no, because they will really put on the pressure. My friend still has never been persuaded. Take a look at my post yesterday here, for some ways to get extra money to finance your vacation, just make sure your debt is paid off first! 🙂
Flyer Talk This site caters to the frequent traveler, but the forums have a lot of great information on how to get the most out of your frequent flyer miles.
Man vs Debt This is a great article on getting the most out of your travel dollar as well as some info on alternative travel.
AONC Chris is the king of travel. His goal is to visit all of the countries in the world, and he has already visited 151!
Location Independent As the name states, a great resource for location independent travel.
Last Minute Travel This is a great budget travel site for finding deals!
Jet Set Life This is a great travel site for those interested in the hippest places to go! The link actually goes to a guest post I wrote for them sometime back.
Points.com This site allows you to swap those frequent consumer points between programs, great if you need a few extra points in one area!
There are a ton of great travel site out there, and I am always on the lookout for the best ones, so if you have any you would like to share, please leave them in the comments!