Two years ago I was not in the best shape financially, I wasn’t broke broke but I had to start paying my student loans back and it was taking all of my coins. Even though money was a bit tight, I still had the itch to travel. I was working on paying down my student loan debt quickly, so there really wasn’t any extra money to spend so that meant that anywhere I traveled would need to be super cheap. My cousin told me about a five day cruise to the Bahamas that was $600. At first I thought to myself… I can’t afford this right now. Then I thought about it…what if I can find a way to pay for this without taking a hit on my finances.
My resourceful wheels started turning, and I figured out a way to pay for my trip without charging it on a credit card! Would you believe me if I told you I paid for my entire cruise plus flight with just spare change and money I earned from taking surveys? OK, not really loose change… but let me explain.
I downloaded the app Qapital. Qapital allows you to link their app to your bank account and they round your purchases to the nearest dollar and deposit the change into your Qapital account (If you bank with Bank of America, I believe they already have this option available to you and so do a few other banks). I created a fund called the “Travel Fund” and every time I swiped my debit card or an automated payment cleared, Qapital would deposit money into my account within the app. With Qapital, you can set rules for how you want the money to be deposited. If you want to save $2 each time you use your debit card you can do set that up and you can even tell the app to deposit a specific amount of money if your account if you shop at certain stores. I had it set up so that the app would automatically round my purchases to the nearest dollar and if I spent less than $50 in Whole Foods or Trader Joes’, $20 would automatically be deposited. When you’re ready, you can transfer the money to your bank account so that you can use it however you please. For me, I didn’t transfer the money to my bank account until a few weeks before my payment for the cruise was due.
The other way I saved money to pay for the cruise was doing surveys. I used websites like Swag Bucks, My Survey and Opinion Outpost. These websites allow you to complete surveys and test products out for various companies and you can earn money while doing it. With certain websites, I can earn up to $50 a week completing surveys while watching tv or even while I’m running errands using the Quick Survey app. Sometimes, I even get chosen to do focus groups for various movies and television shows. These focus groups have paid as little as $35 and as much as $200. Sometimes the surveys can be super long and boring, but totally worth it if you want to earn some extra cash!
Between the surveys and using the Qapital app, I had enough money to pay for the cruise, my flight, and a little bit of spending money. Note: I did this over a four month period.
Next summer, I’ll be traveling to Antigua for Luxe 2019 w/ Coconut + Concrete. Once I found out that they would be sponsoring a 2019 trip I started saving my survey money and started my Travel Fund again in the Qapital app. It just so happened that when deposits were due I had earned $150 from a focus group I had done for new TV shows set to premiere this fall, so I just used the money I earned towards the deposit!
Another unique way to pay for travel is crowd funding. I haven’t tried this method out but I know several people that have and it has worked out really well for them. Websites like Plum Fund, allow you to raise money for travel expenses. It is similar to Go Fund Me. You create your fund, you share it with your friends and family, and then you’re able to receive online and offline payments. This is perfect for graduation trips, retirement trips, honeymoon trips and once in a lifetime adventures!
These probably are’t the most conventional ways to pay for things, but a few of them have worked for me, and hopefully they will work for you too!
There are so many people that want to travel but they feel they can’t afford it. Think outside of the box. Find creative ways to save for travel. Skip out on the things you don’t need like eating out for lunch every day, buying that lipstick when you know you have three tubes of that same shade at home or any other thing you find yourself wasting money on.
What unnecessary items can you cut out? I’d love to hear!