We often get asked how we manage to afford to travel so often. The answer to that is a little more complex than it may seem. To most people, the idea of traveling or going on vacation involves staying at an all-inclusive resort or a 5-star hotel and absorbing all of the charges that come along with it. I think it’s safe to say that staying at a hotel is probably one of the worst things you can do when traveling. Especially if you want a decent oceanfront room or even an ocean view room, you’re already in the hole big time financially. Want a hotel room with a balcony facing the ocean? Probably means you can only afford to stay there 3 or 4 nights. How are you supposed to truly appreciate a place and its culture if you’re only there 3 nights? It’s impossible!
Not to mention the fact that most hotel rooms are basically glorified bedrooms in disguise. Seriously, most of the time you have one room with a bed in it and a bathroom. You’re lucky if they give you some sort of mini-kitchenette or living space. And odds are those hotel rooms that have more than one room are even more expensive! No thank you!
Another downfall of staying at an all-inclusive resort or a hotel is the fact that you’re basically forced to eat at their restaurants and encouraged to stay within the resort parameters. But like I said before, how are you supposed to truly experience the culture of an island if you never leave the resort? Odds are you’re going to miss out on all the amazing local food, the local activities and places, the local people, etc. As much as the hotels try to make themselves seem local and authentic based on the location they’re in, the fact is they are generally catered to tourists. And of course, you never want to be considered a tourist in any location you are in.
But before we begin, I want to take some time to run a little experiment first. The next time you’re in the Caribbean or on some tropical island, how would you like to stay at a hotel that looks like this?
Pretty amazing, right? But surely it must cost a fortune. Well, here’s the shocking part. This isn’t a hotel or a resort. And it’s actually MUCH cheaper than the majority of hotels and resorts out there. It’s a villa (or condo) we rented out not too long ago. It comes complete with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a full kitchen, full living room, washer/dryer, and a humongous balcony with a breathtaking view. And all this for less than a hotel room. This is just one of the many condos/houses/villas available for rent in pretty much any location. If you want more details, you can always send us an inquiry/email and we’ll send you our best recommendations.
With that being said, another major factor of cost is the time of the year that you’re planning to travel. Depending on where you’re going, there are different high seasons and different low seasons. For example, when going to Europe, you never want to go in the summer months of July and August. Number one, the prices skyrocket for everything, especially airfare. Number two, the places you’re going to are so full of tourists that sometimes it gets unbearable. So for places like Europe, I’d recommend the in-between months of May-June and September-October. During these months the weather is still very nice and comfortable, and there are much less crowds compared to the summer months. Oh, and airfare and travel prices get slashed in half. That’s a big deal!
Then you have places like the Caribbean Islands, where you’re going to want to avoid two periods. They are the high season, running between December to the beginning of April where prices and crowds are insanely high. And then you have the worst part of hurricane/rainy season which usually runs from mid-August through the first week of November. So that basically leaves the months of May, June, July, and mid-late November as the best months to visit the Caribbean.
Another money saving tip, which is pretty obvious to some people, is to buy your own groceries. Whenever we arrive at our destination, the first thing we usually do is head to the local supermarket to stock up our condo with food and drinks. You really don’t have to eat at a fancy restaurant every day for every meal. That could quickly get expensive. Instead you should eat at local spots (which usually have the best food and hearty portions for a fraction of the price) or prepare your own lunch or dinner on your ocean-front balcony. Either way, both your stomach and wallet are going to be satisfied!
I also don’t recommend using a travel agent or travel company to book your vacation for you. Usually they’ll jack up the cost with all of their added fees. Everything they can do, you can do as well with a little research. Websites and apps like Skyscanner will survey every available flight to a specified location and rank them in order from cheapest to most expensive for you. You could also plan your activities weeks ahead of time by booking directly with excursion companies or creating a schedule before you get there. Time is a valuable resource, so you should plan the vacation that YOU want to do. Make the most of every minute and every dollar. Like they say, travel is the only thing that makes your richer.
Never. Stop. Exploring.
– Two Wandering Souls