HOW TO EASILY FUND YOUR TRAVELS

Whenever women speak about travel, invariably the subject turns to money. She often shares how she may want to travel but funds hold her back from going. Does that sound like you?

Extreme situations will cause financial struggles, but a mind shift can reduce that.

When I say there are unbelievably easy ways to fund your travel—I mean it. In fact, it comes down to two simple things.

Ready?

  1. Don’t buy stuff!
  2. Buy stuff!

It’s that simple.

Now you may be thinking that not buying stuff or buying stuff is “just dumb.”

You may also believe that I'm contradicting my advice. How can I tell you to not buy stuff, and follow it with the admonition to buy stuff? But it's not a contradiction. So hear me out. You may learn some simple things you can do that will help you get what you really want—in this case, travel!

Let’s start out with something simple. 

Don’t Buy Stuff!

In this case when I’m speaking about “stuff” I’m simplifying what I mean. But it's simple.

Don’t spend more money than you need to on anything.

This includes where you live, what you drive, what you wear, where you go and what you do. Why spend hundreds or thousands when you can get the same thing for less? Or even for free?

Invest in yourself!

But for now, let’s discuss your month-to-month expenses.

Feel like you already have a handle on your budget? Skip down to Buy Stuff.

Want to learn more about some simple budgeting tips? Keep reading.

Consider your personality.

Do you buy stuff you want or only what you need? This isn't saying that you can’t enjoy life while you count pennies. You may find the "putting life on hold" sentiment from some get-out-of-debt proponents. Yet, a healthy balance in life is critical.

The more debt, the less freedom.

Getting out of debt is important. But if you are not allowing for any experiences or desires, it defeats the purpose of living. You can live life to the full without becoming a miser.

Once you start looking into ways to “not buy stuff” you will begin to see areas where you can save money. You'll also see ways to make extra income without changing your current circumstances. However, the goal of this exercise is not to simply save money. The goal is to live well. 

For the 69.9 percent of you that work outside the home, let’s look at the area around your salary. Don't work outside of the home? This information will assist you to show your partner or spouse how to save money. That way you can enjoy travel as a couple or family.

Whether you make $37,000 a year, $70,000 a year or $130,000 a year makes no difference when it comes to travel.

More Money Nitty-Gritty

  • 35% fixed expenses
  • 25% variable expenses
  • 20% education or retirement
  • 10% savings
  • 10% travel fund

Mileage bonuses.

Only sign up for a card when it offers a good mileage bonus. Often this will be somewhere around 30,000-40,000 bonus miles or more. You will then be required to spend $2000 to $4000 dollars over three months. Now you may be thinking that you don’t buy that much stuff or spend that amount in three months. But you may be surprised. Let’s say that the credit card has a $3000 purchase agreement. This means you will have to use the card to spend $3000 within 90 days to qualify for the bonus. That equates to $1000 a month. Do you spend $1000 a month for rent, utilities, transportation, food, or other bills? Now in most cases, you won’t be able to use your credit card for certain expenses. This is where you need to get creative.

Your housing is often your biggest expense. Luckily, you can pay your rent or mortgage by using your credit card. The first thing you’ll want to do is find out if your landlord will accept a credit card. Mortgage companies will not. If she will, then you will pay a minimal charge by the landlord or credit card company. This amount should be five percent or less.

If you find you're unable to pay with a credit card, you can consider option B. Sites such asPlastiq, Radpad or Tio are some sources to research if you need help to achieve the needed spending amount.

Each of these services as well as others, charge a fee. On a regular basis, you would not want to use these services. But if itnets you a round-trip ticket, it may be an option for the specified bonus period. If possible, use it only one month to meet the amount required. It should definitely not be used more than three times! If needed, do your research and check out the reviews to see what service to use.

Now you must have discipline. If you have any doubt that you wouldn’t pay the credit card, set up a payment schedule with your bank or credit union. This puts it out of your hands and you don’t end up charging up a credit card. Remember the credit card is only the vehicle to get the miles—not to use as extra cash.

  1. Do your research. Pick a card that meets your needs and financial credit situation.
  2. Consider any annual fee. Some cards charge an annual fee. Does the annual fee provide a benefit worth as much or more than the fee? If not, look for a card with no annual fee.
  3. Pick the best sign-up bonus. A higher bonus offer (50,000 or more) is worth considering if the spending requirement is compatible with your budget. More common is the 30,000-40,000 bonus offers. Offers in the 20,000 range are best avoided unless you are starting to build your credit.
  4. Use your credit card to pay for high-cost items. If you're able, use the card for rent, car payments, insurance, etc. to achieve the bonus.
  5. Pay in full. Every time you use your card, make a payment to cover the amount. Don’t wait and pay once a month. Pay in full whenever you have the funds.

Having a travel credit card also helps with keeping costs under control and added perks.

  • Do your research.
  • Pick a large bonus and perk card.
  • Use your card to meet the requirement.
  • Grab the bonus.
  • Pay off the card.
  • Travel more. Travel well!

What if you don’t have an airline credit card or a travel credit card? You can still get miles through a regular credit card or debit card. You may not acquire miles as fast but they can still add up quickly.

There are three major airlines in the United States followed by regional airlines.

They are:

  • American Airlines
  • Delta
  • United
  • Alaskan Airlines/Virgin America
  • Frontier
  • JetBlue
  • Skywest
  • Southwest

American, Delta, and United all have shopping portals that earn you mileage points.

American has the AAdvantageeshopping mall

Delta has Skymiles shopping.

United provides its customers with MileagePlusX

These are all great sites to use for online shopping. While you can access any of these sites on your smartphone or portable electronic device, United wins for the access category. You pull up the site and it shows the stores and restaurants close to you.

Here’s how to quickly add miles through purchases.

  1. Sign up! Always get frequent flier accounts with any airline you fly.
  2. Focus. Determine where you want to fly. Once you have your route figured out, you can get to work. Put all your efforts into getting miles for airlines and partners that work that route.
  3. Combine. If you have an airline credit card, use it for your purchases as you can easily double or triple your miles. Use your card and then turn promptly pay it with the money you would have used for your purchases.
  4. Buy. For eating out, grabbing a coffee, or shopping, use your United MileagePlusX phone app. This app indicates the stores around you that partner with United. Choose an amount and download the gift card to your phone. You can get 1-5 miles depending on the establishment. No credit card required. You can also connect it to your debit card.
  5. Connect. Use your current or new airline credit card with other airline services. Don’t have a United credit card, connect your American, Delta or rewards card to your MileagePlusX account. You’ll receive miles on both accounts. While in most cases you want to put all your miles onto one account, you may use different carriers and flights to save money or use miles.
  6. Purchase. Buy miles or ask for miles as gifts. In most cases, save your miles to use on longer flights to international destinations. If you are close to an upgrade or meeting the miles you need, it may be worth purchasing the extra miles to meet the award threshold.
  7. Multiply. If you can justify an upgrade, you will earn more miles when you fly. Use an airline or travel card to multiply your miles.

Besides acquiring miles you can also receive cash back or rewards through shopping portals. You won’t get rich through these portals but they add up.

  • eBates is a cashback website. Install the application on your computer and debates will let you know how much cash back you can expect to receive. They also provide coupons if any are available for the store or item you are purchasing.
  • Shopathome is another site that provides cashback and coupons.
  • Survey sites such asSwagbucks provide you with gift cards, cash or product. This type of site tends to take up a lot of time for the effort so you’d need to consider what your time is worth. If it nets you some travel cash or a gift card you can use for that piece of luggage you want, it may be worth the effort.

Traveling is much more than crossing off a checklist of sites.

Yes, you’ll want to see the places you’ve dreamed about. However taking a different track may help you to experience more. If you’re willing to do some work, it may provide you some of the best experiences and memories of your trip. The sharing exchange is a great way to enjoy global travels and lessen expenses.

This goes back to not buying stuff. Why spend money on accommodations when you can stay somewhere for no money out of pocket?

Here are a few ways to get free accommodations:

Volunteer Work

Work is as broad as the world. Would you enjoy helping with a harvest? Using your carpentry or painting skills? Performing some cleaning or child care, etc. The host will let you know what they offer—be it a bedroom in their home toa space all your own. It may include all meals, one meal or none. Work can be a few hours every day or a full day’s work and days off to go explore.

Ever thought of owning a bed and breakfast, here’s your chance to work at one. Ever consider living off-grid or learning about permaculture? Here’s your opportunity. Want to live out a favorite movie fantasy? You may not find love but you can still eat and pray or help remodel a house.

Connect with people seeking helper volunteers:

Help Exchange (HelpX) Forum for people seeking help in exchange for accommodations and meals.

WWOOF is working on organic farms. If you’re physically fit, enjoy getting your hands dirty in the garden, and support permaculture or sustainability, this is a great opportunity. I had a friend who spent a month in Australia with his wife. The only thing they paid was the airfare to and from Australia.

Workaway Connects people looking for workers with individuals who volunteer for work. Lost your job? As crazy as it seems, there’s no better time to travel. It gives you time to refresh and regroup. It adds to your resume and qualifications. Plus, if you take a new job, the chances of getting a vacation in the first six months of a year are slim.

Finally, you may discover a new mindset. You may decide to become a digital nomad, an entrepreneur or a job quilter, pursuing more than one passion and purpose in your life.

Pet Care and House Sitting

Love animals? Pet sitting is an area where people always need help. House/Pet Sitting is my favorite way to extend my travel accommodations budget. Accommodations can be simple to extravagant. Do you want to do quite a bit of exploring? Cats can usually be left alone for longer times. Want to find a place you can edit your fiction masterpiece? A couple of dogs will provide just enough impetus to get outside for breaks. In most cases, the more animals the more work. Rural or farm locations make for great sabbaticals. An urban location provides access to many sites and sounds and more public transportation.

Requisites: You need to love animals if you pet sit. You’ll want to have experience with pets. You’ll also need references. Pet care certification and a criminal background check will help you receive more consideration. You can also apply only for homesits though those may be fewer to find.

Check out these great sites:

Trusted Housesitters (based out of the UK) connects pet owners with travelers who love animals. I’ve found them to be a great source for finding house/pet sits. They offer great customer service.

Nomador (based out of Australia and France) is another quality house-sitting site. While they service all areas, if you’re looking for a stay in the French countryside or New Zealand, you’ll want to check them out.

HouseSittersAmerica (U.S. based) is a smaller site but can get you started withsits in the United States. Want to spend a week or two visiting the museums in D.C. or hitting the beach in California? Check out this site.

MindMyHouse (New Zealand based) is also a family run site that does excellent work of connecting owners to sitters.

HouseSitting Magazine is a digital magazine and online facebook forum for people interested in housesitting the globe. Here you’ll find a wonderful community of like-minded individuals.

Teach English.

TEFL (Teaching English [as a] Foreign Language)

Teaching English involves myriad choices. Some assignments tie you to an actual school or educational institution. Some positions are paid and require certification or a degree. Others are unpaid but provide room and board. Most, if not all, require English as your first language. While other avenues can be from short spans to longer stays, this may be for a school session or a year. If you enjoy teaching or seek to immerse yourself in a culture, this is a great opportunity. Teaching will often pay for your current situation and enough income for future travel.

Shorter teaching assignments are also available.

Diverbo is an opportunity to stay for a week in Germany or Spain speaking English. Accommodations and all meals are provided.

Now that you've discovered some ways to get free accommodations, you may be ready to travel. But you need money to do that. And you can't quit your job. Or can you? Technology has created digital nomads that work across the globe.

Besides not buying stuff, or buying stuff, the next avenue to easily fund your travel is getting people to buy your stuff!

To do that, you’ll want to create revenue-generating streams or as I like to call it—work quilting.

Work Quilting

Quilts are different patterns pieced together to create one bigger pattern. Work quilting is much the same.  Work Quilting is Piecing Together Income Streams around your Passions!

Work quilting is based on two primary avenues—products and services. You can create tangible goods that someone can hold. You may provide an intangible product such as a service or intellectual property. The product or service may equate to educational endeavors or entertainment value. There can also be overlap between providing a service and a product.

Whether you work full-time, part-time or seek to create extra income, work quilting can help you achieve your dreams.

Want to learn more about creating income streams around your passions?

Create a lifestyle where you can work anywhere and travel more!

Have a look at my book: Work Quilting. 

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