Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Annazette Harrison
How I Made My Dream To Travel The World A Reality
For the past few years I have dreamed of traveling the world for an extended period of time. I wasn’t quite sure how to make it happen or how I would find the time and the money to make this a reality. I really didn’t think it would be possible.
As a travel lover, I would take at least one international trip each year since 2008. I would always have an amazing time but felt it was never enough time. I could never shake the thought that I need to travel more. My typical travel would either be with a small group of friends, my mom or solo. On each of my last few trips, I would meet solo travelers that were traveling the world for months at a time. Each of them with their own story of why this was so important to them. Excitement pouring out of them regarding their experiences and also the reality of it sometimes being challenging but well worth it. Their last words to me would be “just do it, “you will not regret it” and “don’t wait until you are retired”.
How I save for my travel addiction
Before even thinking I would do this I made a point to start saving specifically for my travels and opened a separate online bank account. I put a money into the account each pay period. I refinanced both of my condo’s to get a lower interest rate which saved me a few hundred dollars per month.
An old high school friend moved back to town and needed a place to live, so I rented a room to her for two years. The rent money went to my travel account and I continued to live as I did before. I only touched that money for travel related purchases. I continued saving by putting tax refunds and bonuses into my travel account. Lastly, I got a new credit card, Chase Sapphire Reserve with better rewards, higher points value, TSA/Global Entry and discounted travel perks. I continue to smartly use my card so that I earn points which I use to purchase airline tickets. For example, I get 3x points for restaurants so when I travel with a large group of friends I put all of our meals on my card and have them Venmo or pay me cash directly as reimbursement.
Other tips for how to save while traveling
In addition to using my travel credit card wisely to earn more points, I also used HiltonHonors points for hotels stays during this trip. I compared hotel cost vs. staying in Airbnb’s and used a combination of both. I preferred Airbnb’s over hotels for cities where I was staying 3 or more days. It gave me more space, access to a washing machine and the ability to cook small meals.
For hotels, I found ones that included breakfast. I stayed in the city centers and used public transportation and walked instead of using a lot of taxi’s. For dinner, eating and drinking during happy hours helped me to save a few dollars. I took advantage of free walking tours where locals are the tour guide and you tip at the end based on how you felt they did with the tour. Many museums are free on certain days during the week or month. You really have to do your research to find different ways of saving while doing all of the things you are interested in.
Where did I go?
I went to ten countries over four continents. I started in Australia and then did the Golden Triangle in India. I flew south to northern Africa and spent time in Egypt and Morocco. I then made my way across western Europe, going to Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Netherlands and ended in the UK. I stayed in the larger cities and would do day trips to nearby cities using the train or bus. I met some many lovely people during my trip. I’m so blessed to be able to get away and travel the world. I had the time of my life and plan to do more adventures likes this as traveling brings me so much joy.
Where I’m going next
I’m headed to Thailand in November with a few friends. Who knows where you will find me in 2019.
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