5 Ways to Jet Set Internationally {on a Dime}

Posted On Wednesday, May 13th, 2015
Filed Under: Travel on a Dime

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A few weeks ago I traveled to Belize and had an amazing time. I didn’t really have any plans to visit the Central American country until a wallet friendly flight came across my Twitter timeline.

Not only do I dress on a budget but I travel on one as well. And I even came in under budget with this trip! Here’s how you can, too, even if your funds are limited.

Let me start out by saying you don’t have to have thousands {or even a grand!} for international travel. The tips below will help you save without feeling like you’re sacrificing.

Follow Deal Sites on Twitter vs. Facebook
While you can follow sites like Airfarewatchdog, Secret Flying and The Flight Deal on Facebook, Twitter is my preferred social media outlet for these brands. Facebook makes it’s increasingly difficult to see updates, but with Twitter it’s easier. You can even set up a Twitter list that’s just for travel deals so you never miss a thing. My airfare to Belize came via Flight Deal and was just $300. Follow @AirfareWatchdog, @SecretFlying and @TheFlightDeal for the latest.

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Set Up a Travel Fund
When you see a flight deal you typically have to act ASAP. That’s why I believe in creating a designated travel fund. I don’t advocate skipping paying essentials {rent, school loans, etc} just to travel, so that’s where the fund comes in. Even if you have less than $1,000 in it, that’s usually enough to cover airfare to many international destinations. Even contributing $50 here and $100 there will add up over time. Late last year I started a free online savings account with Ally Bank. This is separate from my regular savings and emergency fund. I suggest keeping at least enough cash in the fund to cover airfare. You can always build it back up before your actual departure date so you have money for lodging, food and activities.

Save Where You Can
Sometimes you just can’t or don’t find a flight deal, and that’s why you save on things that are within your control. That might mean skipping a hotel for an Airbnb rental or a hostel. I stayed at Yuma’s hostel in Belize {check out my Bougie Girl’s Guide to Staying in a Hostel} and for four nights, my total was just $60. Yes, 6-0! If you do choose lodging at a hotel, check with the front desk to see what cheap or free options you can enjoy. They’ll have the dish on free museums, nearby restaurants with specials and any transit discounts for getting around. Also, if you’re staying somewhere with a kitchen, cook a meal or two to save cash. Dinner is usually the most expensive, so this would be a good meal to cook.

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Splurge When It’s Worth It
On the flip side, sometimes it’s best to just spend cash on certain things. This can mean taking a cab or car service to the airport instead of a shuttle bus. Black Lane, an international professional transportation service was kind enough to provide me with a ride from my home to Newark Airport. It was the perfect way for me to lay back and relax without having to worry I’d miss my 5am flight. Or maybe you spent a few extra dollars while out shopping. A vintage shop in Paris would certainly get my extra coins just so I could say I thrifted in Paris. Or maybe you want to stock up on spices and teas you can’t get back home. My general rule is if it will give me peace of mind or a product that’s one of a kind, the cash is well spent.

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Eat Like a Local
Next to flights and lodging, dining out can be a hefty expense. Remedy this by eating like the locals do. The touristy joints will take all of your money! However, if there’s a hole in the wall joint that locals line up for, it’s probably good and might even be a cheap eats spot. Don’t disregard restaurants that aren’t on the main strip or in an obvious tourist area. They can have some of the most authentic cuisine of the area. Just ask around to find the best ones and even do your research. Before I left for Belize, I came across Errolyns House of Fry Jack. Fry jack is just fried dough and sometimes there’s filling inside. Every Trip Advisor review said Errolyns was the best. For less than $2 I had a delicious breakfast that was appetizing and filling. Of course never venture so far off the beaten path that you’re unsafe.

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These tips have saved me serious cash and I plan to utilize them again when I head to Abu Dhabi in September and Nairobi next February.

How do you save on travel? What tips have you learned over the years to be a savvy traveler?

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5 thoughts on “5 Ways to Jet Set Internationally {on a Dime}

  1. Pre-booking tours or activities online is usually cheaper than doing it upon arrival. And I love renting apartments and visiting the local grocery stores to buy snacks, drinks and little things to eat for breakfast. If I’m with friends, we’ll even cook in the apartment at least one night. That will always save you a few bucks. Great tips!

  2. I’m truly considering mirroring this trip. I wanted to do Paris but the airfare alone is way too expensive. What else did you do in Belize?

  3. Did you travel alone? That’s one thing I am curious about. International traveling on a budget but also by yourself. I would like to but wondering if that is safe.

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