Let's talk money people! The curse of student loans, having a full time job, and living in New York; how does anyone in their 20s really save? With that in mind a lot of friends ask how I'm able to go on vacation as often as I do. The biggest trips I've taken in the last two years are Iceland, Thailand, and recently Ecuador (and trust me they weren't all cheap). My hope is that by sharing my secrets you'll be able to take your next vacation sooner than you think.
1. I DON'T GO OUT
Unless of course for special occasions (i.e. birthday parties, friends coming in from out of town, date night, and the occasional girls night). BUT very rarely will you find me at a bar after work sipping on happy hour drinks because in reality that $50-$70 dollars could be used instead for a full body massage, a scooter rental, and lunch on the beach all in Thailand (true story).
2. I DON'T SPEND MY MONEY ON STUPID SH*T
Let's do the math for all those that don't bring their lunch to work, take cabs every night home, or take a $40 workout class 3-4 time a week (when you know you can't afford it). That's the stupid sh*t I'm talking about.
In New York, you can spend between $10-$15 on lunch. That's $10-$15 x 5 days a week, which equals $50-$75 a week. Multiple $50-$75 x 4 weeks in a month, how much does that equal? More money that you just gave away faster than you could blink. Also, that's just lunch imagine if I did the math for cabs or the workout classes? I won't do it because I hope you get my point.
3. BOOK AHEAD
This tip you have probably heard multiple times but I swear by it. I saved almost $1,000 by booking my Thailand plane tickets 7 months before. Also booking ahead gives you plenty of time to tell your employer about your plans. This way when it comes closer to your departure they can't fight you on "taking a vacation at the last minute."
Note: I usually book my flights through Expedia.com
4. I AM ALWAYS ON THE HUNT
For booking an affordable hotel that is! I am willing to spend a few extra dollars in a nice hotel if there is another benefit that they offer. Look for hotels that have breakfast buffets, shuttle transfer from the airport, taxi service to the city center, tours, and anything that will give you more bank for your buck. I almost always book my hotels through Booking.com because they give the best offers and I have always found the hotels to be cheaper in comparison to other hotel sites.
Check out Rawisara Hotel in Chiang Mai, Thailand. A great hotel that offers extra services including free rides to the city center, and a restaurant on site.
5. PLAN A VACATION BUDGET
Pretty self explanatory, check out my Thailand budget below.
NOTE: This budget is for 2 people.
This article may have sounded a little harsh but trust me, you need to hear it. The reward will definitely outway the immediate reward you might receive from going to a happy hour. Instead, you'll be sipping a coconut on the beach across the world.
Comments, questions? Let me know! I would love to hear feedback from you.