Travel can be expensive, especially when going to international destinations. Being prepared financially in order to afford travel goes a long way to enjoy beautiful travel experiences. These days there are many ways to save for travel, from travel credit cards to airline loyalty programs. Taking the time to understand all the available ways to save for travel will go a long way in helping you plan your travel. Read on about my favorite ways to save for travel.
In order to save the most money when traveling, you need time to plan properly. Saving for travel takes not only logistics planning like what to see or where to stay, but also planning how to pay and finance your travel. Yes, you can save money on plane tickets, hotel stays and food, but if you start planning your travel a year in advance you can save a lot of money and fund all your travel dreams. Let’s take a look at my favorite ways to save for travel.
1. Travel Credit Card Rewards
My favorite way to save for travel is to signup for a great travel credit card. Getting a great travel credit card well before your travel date will ensure that you have time to fulfill all the spending requirements for getting the big initial travel rewards bonus. Great travel credit cards attract new customers by offering hefty travel rewards bonus.
My favorite travel rewards credit card is Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card. I love this card for a few main reasons, that offset the $95 annual fee: the largest signup bonus (60,000 points equivalent to $750 in travel dollars), good rewards earning plan, no foreign transaction fee.
In addition, Chase Sapphire Preferred has one of the easiest way to use your rewards points. What do I mean? Well, when you’re ready to buy airline tickets or book hotels, just go on the Chase travel rewards site and book what you need and when it comes time to pay just apply your travel rewards to the purchase which simply reduces your balance accordingly. If you don’t have enough rewards points, simply complete the balance with your own money. It’s that simple.
My experience with the Chase Sapphire Preferred travel credit card. Over the years, I have purchased 2 round trip airline tickets from Los Angeles to Europe plus 3 custom round trip tickets from Los Angeles to Virginia and return from New York. The prices I got through the Chase travel website were absolutely great. So great, that I didn’t find anything cheaper. Just a great experience.
Drawbacks of travel credit cards. The only major drawback is that all good travel credit cards come with about $100 annual fee which is usually waived the first year. Some travel credit cards also make it pretty difficult to redeem all the rewards accumulated.
Read More: Top 3 Travel Credit Cards
2. Airline Loyalty Programs
Flying over Pisa, Italy
My second favorite way to save for travel is to use my airline loyalty program. While I’m not tied to any airline when I fly, I do tend to favor the airlines where I already use their loyalty program. If you can stick with one airline alliance (i.e. Sky Team or Star Alliance) when you fly then you can accumulate miles that can be redeemed for actual flights. While this process is more complicated when you are at the point when you want to redeem your loyalty miles, you can still save a lot of money.
In recent years, most large airline loyalty programs (Delta’s Sky Miles and United’s Mileage Plus) have become a lot more flexible. what do I mean?
Well, these loyalty programs only used to allow you to purchase tickets only if you had enough miles accumulated. As a result, you could not pay partially for your flights with your loyalty miles even if you were really close. These days however, things have changed and you can apply your loyalty miles balance towards your ticket purchase and then add your own money to make up the difference.
However, the best way to use airline loyalty miles to save for travel, is to combine your loyalty miles with the airline’s credit card offering. This works really well, but only the first time you apply for their credit card as all these loyalty credit cards come with a yearly fee and their loyalty miles earning plan is pretty low (only 1 mile per dollar spent).
My Delta Sky Miles experience. For example we got 3 free airline tickets from Los Angeles to Honolulu Hawaii using my wife’s Delta Sky Miles account and Credit Card. Also using my own Delta Sky Miles account and Credit Card we got 3 free tickets from Los Angeles to Portland Oregon.
My United Mileage Plus experience. Combining my United Mileage Plus loyalty program with their credit card got us 3 airline tickets from Los Angeles to Denver, Colorado.
Drawbacks of Airline Loyalty Programs. While you can save lots of money for travel when combining airline loyalty programs with their credit card, the entire process needs to be thought out at least a year before your intended travel so you have time to fulfill the credit card’s spending limit in order to get the large sign up bonus. Secondly, when using loyalty miles to purchase airline tickets you might not get the best deal as when paying with your own money. But hey, if you get it for free, then you can’t complain.
3. Save Money
Thirdly on my list of favorite ways to save money for travel is very simple: just save money. Saving money for travel is the best and simplest way to plan and pay for your travel dreams. Saving money is the best way to pay for your travel because you already have the money and you can simply enjoy your travel experience without having to think about paying for it later. It is also the simplest way to pay for travel as you have the money already and you don’t have to worry about loyalty miles or travel rewards.
The easiest way to save for travel is to set aside a fixed amount each month and watch how your savings are growing. Keeping in mind your travel destination and looking forward to your travel experience will help you stay focused and disciplined to save for travel consistently.
4. Payday Loans
The fourth way to save for travel is more of a quick way to snatch a great travel deal when you don’t have the money readily available. This is especially useful when considering travel packages from discount travel companies like TravelZoo. If you watch these kinds of sites you will often find amazing deals that expire very soon, and in these cases being able to obtain quick money maybe helpful to snatch a deal that saves you a lot more money.
Thanks to the advent of online no credit check payday loans, you can get instant approval payday loans with no credit check no matter what your credit score might be. If you’ve never dealt with something like this before, you might be wondering how you go about applying for these loans and how the process works.
The first thing you should consider is how much money you really need. Remember, payday loans come with a pretty high interest rate, so you should really only borrow what you actually need so you can be sure you will be able to easily pay it back when your next paycheck rolls around.
Once you have found a lending website you would like to go with and know how much money you would like to borrow, it is time to fill out the form and wait for your loan decision. You will want to be completely honest here, and include your personal details such as name, email address, phone number, and anything else the form asks for. You will also have to fill out your employment information. Since your lender is using your income instead of your credit score to decide whether or not to lend to you, this is crucial information.
How Do You Save for Travel?
My preferred way to save for travel is a combination of things, especially saving some money every month for our travel experiences, coupled with one travel credit card and sometime airline loyalty programs (when I have enough miles to make sense). However, while I purposefully plan for saving for travel, I do not let the savings get in the way of experiences beautiful travel destinations. Experiencing great travel is a lot more important than a few hundred dollars I can save if I am super efficient with these savings methods.
Take My SMART Travel Course and learn how to plan your travel confidently through step by step videos. Save money and frustration and become a SMART traveler using my time-tested travel strategy.
Read My SMART Travel Book and learn my best travel tips from 20+ years of international travel experience in less than 40 pages. These will save you lots of money and frustration on your next trip.