It's no surprise that we are taking our long trip soon. We also have a few other trips planned, including St. Thomas (we are there now!), Las Vegas (for my bachelorette party), and we need to plan our honeymoon as well.
Wow, that sounds like a lot of traveling for the next 6 months.
A question that I am often asked is how all of this is even possible.
Surprisingly we do a lot of our traveling for fairly cheap and our travel plans for the next 6 months won't absolutely kill our budget. Of course none of it is absolutely free, but it's pretty much as cheap as I will ever be able to get it. And, I'm of course perfectly fine with that.
It's also very nice that we can travel and I am able to work from wherever. Being able just to open up my laptop and still make a living is a huge positive of what I do.
St. Thomas December 2013.
Yes, I do realize that this is not 2014, but it is something that I haven't talked about much.
We are in St. Thomas right now. I have been to this same resort three times now, and I LOVE it every time. Some of you are probably wondering why I have been going here so often. Well, I am getting a really good deal.
I did some blog management for this resort, and in exchange I received a significant discount on my stays. I'm definitely a frugal traveler to St. Thomas.
I get comped all-inclusive rooms when we visit, which is super nice since this resort is amazing! Not having to pay for the room, food, activities, or alcohol means that we save a lot of money.
Paired with our extremely cheap airfare (explained below), a trip to St. Thomas costs us less than $500 for the both of us (and that is with us doing excursions and everything as well).
St. Thomas is also a fairly quick flight from our home. We can get to St. Thomas by about 1:30 p.m. from St. Louis (that would be 11:30 a.m. CST), and be at the hotel by 3 p.m.
So, visiting St. Thomas is an easy trip, and it is absolutely beautiful.
Our trip to Asia.
For our trip to Asia, I have been researching various hotels like crazy, and I have been able to score some awesome deals by asking hotels if they offer any media or blogger discounts.
And guess what? Many of them do! I have been able to get some nice discounts that will save us a good amount of money.
We also plan on staying in some Airbnb homes while in Indonesia, and these are surprisingly extremely cheap.
I have seen some homes on there for as low as $4 per night! We won't be staying in that one though because I need reliable internet so that I can still work, but I have found some extremely awesome places for around $30 to $50 per night (these even include breakfast!). Indonesia seems to be very cheap no matter where you stay.
We are spending a good deal on our flights, but much cheaper than most would probably pay.
I wish I would have had enough saved in travel rewards points to pay for the all of the flights, but I am using all of my points to get me and my friends to Las Vegas for free. That's 100,000 points right there, and well, I haven't applied for enough credit cards recently to do more than that!
We will be flying to China from Chicago using my dad's airline benefits that I inherited. We will most likely get to fly first class there and I believe it will cost around $300 for each of us. Definitely not bad for first class from here to China!
All of the flights within Asia will be covered entirely by us though because the airline he worked for does not have flights to the cities that we are going to. Then we will be flying home from Seoul and that will be on my dad's tickets again for around $300 each. And hopefully we get on first class for that as well!
Our itinerary for our Asia trip is:
- Phuket (we will be visiting various cities in Thailand though)
- Bali (we will be visiting various cities in Indonesia though)
The total for all of our airfare? Around $3,000.
AHH that is a lot.
If we were flying to just one city, not taking one-way trips, and spending all of our time in one city, then it would be much, much different. However, we are traveling to four countries which means that our costs will of course be much higher.
Since I am not used to paying for airfare because I always get tickets from my dad's benefits, it is hard for me to let go of cash to pay for airfare. I have been stalking prices like crazy and I have planned our trip so that we can save the most money.
Here are my tips to save on airfare:
- Be flexible with your dates. I know that sometimes this can be hard. However, if you switch your traveling dates by just one of two days, you may find that you can save hundreds of dollars.
- Search around. You may start your search on the big travel sites, but in the end you may want to also compare these prices by going on the actual airline's website to see what they offer. Many times I have noticed that it is actually cheaper to do it this way.
- Determine where you will travel to by what flights are the most affordable. We knew where we wanted to go, but how did we know in what order we would travel? Well, we searched around on different dates for different places to see what was cheapest. We figure we wanted to go to all of these places, so traveling in January or February didn't really make a huge difference.
- Clear your cache. Airlines have been known to save your searches and thereby raising the prices when you search again.
- Save up rewards points. This is definitely a good way to save on airfare. You can get trips for free if you spend enough on cards and save enough rewards points! Do you use credit cards? Why or why not?
For our Asia trip, I am going to estimate that the total cost (airfare, hotels, food, etc.) will be around $10,000 for two months for the two of us altogether. Definitely not bad at all for a 2 month vacation. However, the amount does scare me a little bit.
I just have to keep thinking to myself “this is a ONCE IN A LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY MICHELLE.”
Since we are going on a fairly long trip right before our wedding, we are thinking about doing something more low-key for our honeymoon. We also want a place where we can bring our dogs and a place that also has a beach (similar to our Gulf Shores trip that we recently took).
Asking someone to take our dogs after we just had someone watch our dogs for two months just doesn't seem right to me, and plus I want to spend more time with my fur-children anyways!
We have been thinking about taking a trip to Myrtle Beach right after the wedding. It's a place that we have never been to, and we always like going to new places and beach towns! Have you ever been? If so, tell me all about it!
We do want to find affordable accommodation in Myrtle Beach, and like usual we will be researching like crazy in order to get the best deal. There are always cheap hotels out there that are a great value, which is what we will be looking for like usual, even though it will be our honeymoon.
On the other hand, we are also thinking about taking a vacation to possible a mountain town with a beautiful lake. We are just not sure where. Any ideas?
How do you try to save money when you are on vacation?
What are your travel plans for 2014?
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