My husband and I really love to travel – me more than him, but it’s growing on him – and because I like to do it so often, I’ve had to find travel tips that make it more affordable during the times that we do go. It’s also very important that we honor God with our money.
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
We don’t want to go into debt because of a vacation nor do we want to put that as priority above our responsibilities at home.
We have a house payment, two young boys at home, property investments, etc. and my husband works full-time while I work part-time from home.
But we have simply incorporated these practical travel tips to help us save money.
I hope they help you as well!
If you would prefer to listen rather than read, I shared all of these travel tips on our podcast in even more detail!
1. Save Money on Your Stay
- AirBnB Referral Code
One of the best decisions that I’ve ever made in regards to traveling is to share my Airbnb referral code with literally everyone I come in contact with.
This code is a win-win for both parties: It’s a $40 off coupon for the person you refer and $20 toward an AirBnB for you. Twenty dollars here and there can add up really quickly and, ultimately, pay for your entire stay!
Send your own code to your personal email list, to your co-workers and post it on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
You can even have your spouse send it to their coworkers! Who doesn’t want $40 off of a stay?! The only caveat is that it has to be the first time the person using your code has signed up to AirBnB with that email address.
How to get your own referral code: Go to the Airbnb website, log in to your account, click your profile in the top right and go to ‘Invite Friends’. On that page, you will see a box that includes your own Invite Link.
- List Your Own Home with AirBnB
AirBnB offers you the option to list your own home or room while you’re away!
If this is something that might work for you in your season of life, it can replace the cost of your stay entirely. You have the option to charge the same amount of money (or more) for your own home as you are paying per night on vacation.
If you do this, your trip can be completely covered!
2. Save on Your Flights
- Kids Fly Free
This is huge for families! As of February 2019, Frontier Airlines announced that kids 14 and under will fly completely FREE!
This is an admirable act from the airline and will be such a blessing to families. There are some rules set in place, but where there’s a will, there’s a way!
- Buy Flights with Points or Miles
This is one of the best travel tips I can give to you!
Jesse and I have been married for seven years and we travel very often.
Guess what? We have yet to pay for even ONE flight in our entire time of marriage.
Credit cards offer so many point systems and enrollment bonuses that (as long as you have self-control to stay out of debt) they are the greatest benefit when it comes to traveling.
We use the Southwest Airlines Credit Card and we absolutely LOVE it. This card offers 30,000 points at sign up if you spend only $1,000 in the first 3 months! For most people, this is really easy to do!
Use your card for bills, groceries and eating out and you’re likely to reach that goal without a problem. You’ll receive free flights for money that you had planned to spend anyways!
The Southwest Airlines card charges a $100 annual fee, but that is all that you will pay! Their points don’t expire and they don’t have any blackout dates.
Scott’s Cheap Flights researches the best flights at the most affordable price and emails you with that information. My mom used them to fly to Italy and saved 50% on her flights! This is a great resource for international flights. It’s a $40 annual fee ($3.33 per month) and the amount of money that it will save you is worth every penny.
3. Travel During the Off Season
Traveling during the off-season will help you save money on every aspect of your vacation. Flights will be much more affordable, rental cars are cheaper, activities are cheaper when they aren’t in high demand and lines for events or rides are shorter.
We recently went to Disney World in April and had perfect weather and only 10-15 minute lines for all of the rides. I know that traveling during the off-season isn’t as easy when you have kids in school, but planning in advance and discussing with the teachers can be very beneficial!
4. Save Money on Food
Food tends to be one of the most expensive parts of a trip. Even if you save little bits here and there, it adds up.
On the way to your AirBnB, pick up some bagels, avocados and eggs to make for breakfast. Grab some sandwich stuff for lunch and pasta ingredients for dinner and cook at home! I personally LOVE food and I know that eating out on vacation is a treat, so even if you only commit to making breakfast each morning rather than eating out, you can save about $15-$20 per day.
For hotels, we always purchase drinks, water bottles, snacks and other things so that we don’t end up paying hotel prices!
5. Set a Budget Before You Leave
We like to set a total budget of money with an amount attributed to each category. This way, it’s much easier to stay focused and you don’t get caught up in that “YOLO” mindset and spend $30 on nachos or $200 for a massage.
You will leave your house knowing exactly how much you have set aside for each category (ex: food, drinks, activities, etc.) and are less likely to exceed that budget.
6. Create a Travel Savings Account
It’s nice to have the peace of mind on vacation knowing that you’re honoring God with your money and have taken care of everything in your home before you’ve left.
As I mentioned, ensuring that you have sufficient money to cover the entire trip beforehand is essential for staying out of debt on your next trip.
- Keep A Separate Travel Bank Account
When you see money in your account, it’s easy to view it as expendable. We keep a separate bank account that doesn’t have an attached debit card and isn’t easily accessible.
The money comes out only after our priorities are paid off: First is tithing and generous giving, then bills, emergency savings (based on Dave Ramsey’s budget), our children’s college and future savings, miscellaneous spending needs and THEN travel.
7. Honor God with Every Decision
I just want to touch on the fact that as Christians, it is okay to enjoy these things, but our hearts need to always align with His will for us which we can find in His word.
Matthew 7:24-27 says, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
We have to ask ourselves: Who is our rock? Is it God? Is it our time? Our jobs? Our savings account? Our credit cards? We have to understand that we should not be worshiping our money because our rock is God. Our rock is not money.
We are called to be wise and to make wise decisions. We are called to give our money to Christ in acknowledgment that it is all His. We have to remember that anything material is from our Creator. And everything that we do with that money is for His glory.
Our minds should stay set on him. When we travel, we should still be honoring God with that time and with that money.
For example, Jesse and I pray for open doors when we travel. We ask God to allow us to see lives changed in His name and to take us somewhere where we can speak into someone’s life. He is always faithful to bring people into our path. Not only do we get to enjoy the trip to the fullest because we are pouring into our marriage, but we also enjoy it because we get to share truth and hope with people who we come across.
Set your mind on Heaven, set your sights on Christ.
I hope that these travel tips have been helpful for you guys!
What are some of your favorite affordable travel tips? Share them with us in the comments below!
This post originally appeared at sparrowsandlily.com, published with permission.