One of the comments I get the most is *lip smack* “Sharde’, you just be out here TRAVV-ELIN’, and living your best life.” The suggestion here is that I just got money.
Let me stop you there, ma’am.
She doesn’t have cash flow like that (yet). She don’t get flewed out either. She flies herself out. I am out in these streets, accumulating six figures of debt as I crawl toward my Ph.D. My budget game is super strong. Despite this, I’ve been to over 25 countries just in the time that I have been working on this doctoral degree. So though the budget is in place, I haven’t stopped the stamp chase. Matter of fact, I started internationally traveling MORE as a doc student.
But let me tell you how I make travel dreams come true: Country hopping.
More often than not, if I am going out of the country, my goal is to go to at least two destinations. I’ve gone to as many as six or seven in one trip, but it is a lot. A story for another blog, my loves. I know what you’re thinking: “Sharde’ that is expensive. I don’t have enough money to be out here going all of these places.”
Again, let me stop you there.
Many times, the most expensive part of traveling is flying. Flights across the water can easily run you $600-$700 on the low end. This is especially true if you do not live in a city that has a lot of air traffic: DC, NYC area, LA. You can catch a much cheaper flight to Mexico from Houston than from Cincinnati. However, once you get to another continent, travel to other destinations is cheaper.
On my last excursion, I got a roundtrip ticket to London for $560 and spent another $350 or so getting to another four countries. I went to Portugal, the UAE, Sweden, the Czech Republic, and Hungary. Two of those countries were long layovers. A one-way flight to Portugal was $74, I believe.
To take a trip to each of those countries from Houston would be upwards $1,000. For ECONOMY. Listen beloveds, taking a week and splitting it between two to three destinations and spending $1500 total saves you money in the long run and allows you to see more of the things that you want to see.
I learned country hopping from studying abroad. When I attended European Studies, I lived out of a suitcase for five weeks traveling Western Europe. I do believe that this is why I have the perspective that I have. By planning one or two larger trips a year that run me no more than $2000, I see a few places over a week or two. The price may seem like a lot but as a note: You do not spend this all at once.
When you are planning, you may spend the first chunk on the initial flight and then take your time gradually purchasing your other flights, finding accommodations, and planning your excursions. If you plan far enough ahead, you can budget and save as you go, which will make having the money far less daunting. Small steps, friends. Small steps.
I usually begin planning and budgeting my big trips a year in advance. I tend to over budget and then set an alert for my flight(s). Once I do that I may not purchase flights until 1-3 months before I’m set to leave. By giving myself that much time, two things happen: I provide the homies with plenty of time to gird themselves if they want to go on one of my trips. Second, it lowers the pressure to plan. I can set longer due dates to have flight, accommodation, etc. together without having to rush and wonder where the money is coming from.
Country hopping is an excellent way of making the most of a trip as far as destinations go. Europe and Asia are easier destinations for being able to country hop cheaply. Has anyone used this method for traveling?
Love and Light,