I’ve been asked a lot recently how I afford to travel. My first response is “I make it a priority”. Travel deals and hacks are everywhere, and some of them are mindblowingly simple and affordable if you spend the time to seek them out.
As we speak, I’m spending my summer on a solo travel trip in Antibes on the French Riviera. Am I a trust fund baby? Won the lottery? In huge credit card debt? None of the above. I am living in my own apartment on the beach in one of the mose beautiful places in the world, and I am saving money.
Step 1: GETTING THERE.
Everyone has their own go-to budget flight websites. Mine are Skyscanner and Hopper. Hopper projects the best day to buy your airfare. They either tell you to go ahead, or wait a few weeks for better deals. I have found these to be spot on 9 times out of 10. Once you know when to buy, Skyscanner has the hard-to-beat deals. I’ve used every budget travel website under the sun (avoid expedia at all costs…but I’ll save that saga for another post), and always come back to Skyscanner.
For this particular trip, I had a lot of sky miles that needed to be used before they expired this Fall. I ended up converting those Emirates Skywards miles to JetBlue miles, and used them for the domestic trips I needed to take this summer (I’m getting married out of state, and it takes a lot of trips to fit a wedding dress!), and with those covered, I now had extra cash to cover my trip to France. I flew Turkish Airlines (always a fave) into Nice, and took a local bus for 1.5 Euros to my doorstep. Always sign up for the rewards programs through your airlines. It costs you nothing, and you probably have miles sitting around you didn’t even know you had. Use your miles, use your credit card points, find daily deals. Make it happen!
Step 2: FIND SOMEWHERE TO LIVE.
If you’re not using Airbnb, you’re doing it wrong. I’ve stayed in hotels, resorts, hostels, budget pods, cabins, the works, and for me, Airbnb is the best way to stay in a new city. I have found this to be the most affordable and accommodating way to travel around the world. You save money, meet people, typically have a kitchen (which saves you more money), and have access to the best locations around.
AIRBNB PROTIP- Most hosts offer huge price cuts for extended stay bookings. It seems counterintuitive, but it’s easier on them, and gives them piece of mind that their place is booked. For this trip I booked a month at a time, and it was cheaper than staying less than two weeks in the same apartment. Longer stay for you, more money for you, and your life is now summer goals.
Haven’t signed up yet? Do it now! Use my referral link for a discount on your first booking!
Step 3: INCOME.
Here’s the hang up for a lot of people. JESSIE ITS GREAT THAT ITS CHEAPER TO BOOK A MONTH BUT HOW CAN I TAKE OFF A MONTH OF WORK YOU PSYCHO?? I get it. Being locked into a set schedule can really put a damper on your jet setting. BUT HERE’S THE CATCH: I’m not taking off work. I work remotely. Later today I will be making money…on my balcony…at the beach….in France. I teach English online to children in Beijing through a company called VIPKID. And you can too…no really, you can…and should. VIPKID has opened up opportunities for me I would have never dreamed of. In New York, I typically teach a few hours in the morning. This allows me to get my work out of the way, get to auditions, and get on with my life. A day job/side job doesn’t need to (and shouldn’t) take your whole day. The schedule is flexible, so you can teach when you want, and go hike the Alps when you want (if that’s your thing). This week, I decided to give myself a few days of vacation, teach for a few days, and then take off for a trip to Monaco. This is possible!
Want to know more? Read the post I wrote about this amazing company, and message me with any questions you have. Link below!
Ready to see what your life can look like with VIPKID? Use my referral link below, and get started!
Step 4: HOW I’M SAVING MONEY.
Despite working while I am away, I am also the lucky renter of an overpriced NYC apartment. Airbnb works both ways y’all! My fiancé and I are lucky to be located in an area that is always in demand. We have always found sublets and renters while we travel, but you don’t have to live in New York to do this. Airbnb is everywhere. Use subletting Facebook groups, check Craig’s List- someone wants your place, so get them settled, and get going!
My apartment in this resort town of Antibes is cheaper than my NYC rent. That’s insane, but that’s the reality of living in a city everyone wants to live in. Take advantage of where you’re at, and look into this! Try it for a long weekend, rather than a month to test it out!
Am I the only one who can do this? No. Teacher friends- I know you have the summer off! Go make money and travel the world. Actor friends- so you didn’t book summer stock? Tell summer stock to shove it and go to Thailand. You’re not too young or too old or too poor or too scared to get out there. Or even come visit me! A glass of rose is great, but a bottle of rose split with a friend is better. (solo travel props post coming soon!)