Last month, Henry and I spent a week in Hawaii on vacation. I know what you’re thinking and no- we’re not rich. This is the part where I tell you that you don’t need to be making the big bucks to be able to travel and plan trips to incredible places.
People tend to associate trips to Maui with having a lot of money or splurging for honeymoons/weddings, but it’s really not as inaccessible as you might think.
When we were originally throwing around ideas about where to go this year, Hawaii was high on my must-see list. I was taking time off in January, so I wanted to go somewhere warm and tropical to escape the frigid cold. Tickets from our home on the East Coast to California were similarly priced to tickets to Hawaii, and we had already gone to Florida the year before.
We decided to go for it and I swear I haven’t regretted it for even a second.
Here are the five ways we made it work despite being young and on a very tight budget.
Save money throughout the year.
If you want to be a jetsetter on a budget, you have to plan ahead. When you’re shopping for your house or apartment, opt for the cheaper office chair and put the rest of that money into savings. When you get paid, take a small amount of that and tuck it into your bank account for safe keeping.
Henry and I are pretty good about this one because of my naturally cheap nature. I’ll always choose the deal over the nicer, pricier equivalent. We also cut back on small things that we don’t need such as cable or a Hulu subscription. Find any way to cut back your bills and start saving that cash.
AirBnB is your best friend.
Before last month, I had never used AirBnB before. Now, I don’t think I’ll ever use anything else.
AirBnB enabled us to book a gorgeous room right on the ocean for a steal price. If you feel odd about living with strangers, be sure to check their reviews and ratings on the website beforehand. If it’s any consolation, the woman who hosted us turned out to be the sweetest person of all time.
Another great part of AirBnB is that most places allow you access to their kitchen. Set aside a specific amount you want to spend on eating out and stick to that rule. Buy some groceries and eat in a night or two as a cheaper option. Breakfast is especially easy to make at home to keep your spending minimized.
Don’t be afraid of layovers.
One of the reasons we were able to get our flight so cheap was because we opted for a 10 hour layover in Dallas. That’s right, ten hours. Not only that, but it was in the middle of the night when the whole airport was closed. Have you ever been the only two people in a seemingly empty, ghost town airport? It’s really spooky.
We sprawled out on the floor with our luggage and managed to get a few hours of sleep until the hustle and bustle of the airport picked up around 4 a.m.
Another quick tip to lessen the price of your flight: travel with only your carry-on bag. I thought it was impossible to downsize my luggage that much until I did it myself. Pack only your essentials. Not only will you be saving money on not having to check bags, but it makes the whole travel experience so much easier.
Don’t rent a car…
…unless you really need to for the sake of your trip. Skipping the rental car will save you a good chunk of money (especially if you’re under 25- stupid, unfair young driver fee) and you can probably make your vacation work without it anyway.
A few tips for this one: look for a hotel near a bus stop/other public transportation or located right where you want to be situated (like right next to the beach). You can also try researching a tour bus trip that will bring you to all the interesting sights for a fraction of the price.
If all else fails, there’s always Uber.
My last piece of advice is to plan ahead. If you start scheduling and saving for your trip a year before you take it, you’re guaranteed to get the best prices before they sell out. The earlier you begin prepping, the more you’ll be ready when the time comes. Plus, having something to look forward to all year is a great additional perk.