How To Travel In Style On An Entry Level Budget

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Rewards cards

Rewards cards can help you save on travel; just be sure you know their terms before signing up.

A recent article by Business Insider noted how millennials define success as having freedom and a strong sense of work-life balance. Not surprisingly, one of the top activities millennials like to do during their downtime is travel.

Let’s be real, though—it can seem hard to quell your wanderlust on an entry-level salary. You may not have paid vacation days yet, you may be paying back your student loans, and you may not be making much money.

Fortunately, there are ways to travel without breaking the bank. Follow some of my tips below to plan your next getaway.


Save Ahead Of Time

I often teach my coaching clients to pay themselves first. That is to say, with every paycheck they get, they must immediately set aside a small percentage for themselves instead of scrambling to pay all of their bills.

Start by putting a little bit from each of your checks into a “travel” savings account. It can be as small as 2%. With consistent contributions and the help of interest, you travel fund can really grow rapidly over time.

Find Economical Rooms

One of the most expensive aspects of traveling is a hotel room. Luckily, there are many more options than there used to be for affordable housing while you travel.

Most places have affordable hostels you can find through websites like It’s a great way to check out really expensive cities, from Miami to Rome, without having to pay the astronomical prices for hotels.

Another great company that offers affordable rooms is AirBnB. You can rent out rooms or full-blown apartments from hosts all over the world at a fraction of the cost of a hotel room.

Check Out Airline Rewards Programs

I was never a huge fan of loyalty credit cards; however, after traveling around the country without having to pay for flights for the last 2 years, I’ve been converted. I’ve experienced firsthand how airline rewards programs can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars on air travel.

The easiest way to rack up the miles is to sign up for the credit card associated with your favorite airline. Then, put all of your bills on these credit cards and be sure to pay them off each month. As with all credit cards, only charge what you can afford. This also may not be the best option if you have a history of consumer debt.

There are a ton of different ways to rack up airline miles. For an in-depth look at how to make the most of airline miles programs, check out Extra Pack of Peanuts, The Points Guy and Frugal Travel Guy.

Take Advantage Of The Weekend

Now that you’re a professional, you’ve probably realized that part of the fun of vacationing is not being at work on workdays. However, if you don’t have paid vacation days or have limited vacation hours, take advantage of the weekends. That is to say, include weekends in your traveling.

For instance, maybe you can’t take off an entire week without it affecting your pay. If this is your scenario, then consider weekend trips cushioned by either Monday or Friday. That way, you get a few days off without it totally depleting your pay.

Use Small Upgrades

Vacations are meant to be rejuvenating and out of the ordinary. As such, remind yourself that it’s OK to spend on something nice on yourself.

You may not be able to book a five-star hotel, but you can certainly get yourself a nice glass of wine with dinner. Or, you can use Uber instead of public transit to get from the airport to where you’re staying.

Giving yourself the occasional tiny upgrade allows you to have a little style without going broke. After all, you earned it!

How do you save on travel? Post your tips in the comments.

(Photo: Kundenkarten)

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