I used to tell myself I couldn’t afford to go on a vacation abroad. And you know what? I was right.
Whatever we tell ourselves, it’s true.
Well, at least to the point of believing limitations should stop one from going on a dream vacation. So, I decided to change my thinking.
I now believe I can go anywhere in the world.
But, that does take some forethought and tenacity. First of all, we don’t take a big vacation every year. We went to Ireland in 2013, and then a trip to Florida to tour The Keys via motorcycle in 2016.
Florida trip 2016
Our next trip starts this coming Friday and will include, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales, England and Scotland. We are basically just driving through Wales and England on our way to Scotland, but I’ve already found some great sightseeing for our route.
For the past few years I’ve been finding ways to afford this trip to Europe, and I’d like to share them with you.
The first thing I did was to get a credit card that accumulates points. Yeah, I know, you’ve already heard this piece of advice, but I can tell you it really works, if you work it.
Don’t get an airline specific card, but rather one that allows you to use your points however you want. Ours even has a “cash out” option.
Buy everything on that card!
This can be tricky because if you’re not careful you can overspend. But if you pay attention, this works well. We used our card enough to be able to get the cash back for our plane tickets on Aer Lingus ($1400 round trip for both of us).
We are also Hilton Honors members and because of my husband’s job and all of the travel he does, he’s accumulated enough points to get four nights stay in Dublin and Glasgow. We have points for more nights, but want to stay in Bed and Breakfasts along the way.
Speaking of B&B’s, they are a great way to immerse into the culture, and in Ireland they are very reasonable. Our last trip there we spent, on average, $50 per night for B&B’s. And let me tell you, an Irish breakfast will hold you over until dinnertime, so that saves you money too.
Traditional Irish Breakfast
We try to pay, in advance, for as much as possible. Planning our trip well in advance so we can pay for rental cars and ferries and hotels before we even leave the country.
Near our B&B in Wicklow, Ireland
Another easy thing to do is stop spending money.
I know, that doesn’t sound easy, but it really can be. Get a can or jar and put a photo of where you want to go on it. Every time you want to go out for coffee, drop $5 into the jar and make coffee at home instead.
This was our savings can from our trip to Ireland in 2013
That goes for so many other small things we mindlessly spend money on each day. I used to play a game with myself to see just how many days in a row I could go without spending any money.
You’d be surprised how quickly those $1, $5 and $20 add up.
Also, pick a place that is not expensive. Florida is way cheaper than Hawaii, and we had a blast there. My brother-in-law and his girlfriend just went to Bali because flights were cheap. Okay, so there was a threat of a volcano, but you can’t let those details spoil the adventure!
Just shift your mindset and start planning where you want to go. At least start researching, you will be surprised how one step leads to another and before you know it, you are stepping on foreign soil.