It’s all about hustling and setting priorities.
In early 2020, my husband and I booked an amazing Alaska vacation for that summer — a vacation we never got to take due to the pandemic. This past summer, we took a couple of shorter trips with our children. But we weren’t comfortable with the idea of boarding multiple planes and getting on a cruise ship for two weeks, so we didn’t reschedule that trip.
I’m hoping things will have improved enough by the summer of 2022 to make that dream trip a possibility. If not, I’m hoping to at least do a bit more traveling in the coming year than I did in 2021. But to pull that off, I need to start setting money aside from the start of the year. Here’s how I plan to boost my travel budget.
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1. More work
As a freelance writer, I have the option to pick up extra assignments and boost my income. Right now, all of my extra earnings are going toward replenishing a withdrawal I took from my emergency fund when my air conditioner broke and needed to be fully replaced. But I’ve made good progress there, thankfully, and so once that money is put back, any extra money I earn is cash I hope to be able to earmark for travel.
2. More frugal budgeting
There are a number of things I spend money on regularly that aren’t considered essential expenses — things like takeout meals and entertainment, to name a couple. I don’t plan to eliminate those spending categories this year, but I may cut back to free up more travel cash.
That said, if I can boost my income enough, I may not cut back too drastically on the things that bring me joy on a day to day basis. I’m all about prioritizing travel, but I also don’t want to deprive myself too much of those modest indulgences.
3. Savvy credit card usage
Though I use credit cards for pretty much every purchase I make — or at least every purchase where paying with a credit card is an option — I’m not always so good about maximizing credit card rewards. I have a go-to card that has a pretty generous base rewards program, and so I tend to charge the bulk of my purchases on it. Doing so makes it easier to track my spending and rewards.
But because I’m eager to do more traveling this year, I’m willing to put in the time to better maximize my credit card rewards. That means I may spread out my purchases across different cards depending on the specific incentives involved. I may also look to capitalize on at least one generous sign-up bonus, since a lump sum of cash could offset my travel expenses.
Finally, I plan to apply for a travel rewards credit card. I actually closed one of these cards during the pandemic because it charged an annual fee and I really wasn’t using it. Having a travel rewards card could make flying to whatever destination I choose less expensive, especially if that card comes with perks like free checked bags.
Will you travel more in 2022?
Many people stayed close to home in 2020 and put 2021 travel plans on hold as the delta variant reared its ugly head. But now that COVID-19 vaccines are available to a wider portion of the population (younger children) and booster shots are offering enhanced protection, more people may be eager to map out itineraries for 2022.
If that’s your plan, do yourself a favor and start saving for your trips now. That way, money won’t have to be the thing that stops you from seeing the places on your list.