What is $500 to you? Is it a few pairs of shoes? Maybe a bag? A few weeks of not eating out? What if I told you that $500 can take you to 3 countries across the world? “Alycia, you have got to be joking! There is no way I can travel to THREE countries for only $500.” If that was your initial thought, please continue reading. It is possible, so let’s dive into how I traveled to Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam for approximately $500 USD.
The flight. As most of you know, the flight is generally the most expensive part of any trip, both international and domestic. So how did I do it? Credit card points. Do not let people tell you that a good credit score is worthless. I have the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, and I paid virtually nothing for my flight. The sign-up bonus was 50,000 points. That, in addition to my 1 point (2 points for travel and dining) per dollar spent, paid for my flight. If you are interested in the Chase card, send me a message, and I can send you a referral link. Yes, I will receive bonus points. Help a sister out! 😊 Now, there are a plethora of credit card options, so do your research. You can go with options like Chase, airlines, hotels, etc. If credit cards aren’t your thing, I have one more piece of advice. WATCH FLIGHTS! There are numerous sites that let you track flights and/or see when they are generally the cheapest. Google Flights is my favorite search engine.
Let’s move on. The flight isn’t the only concern, right? Accommodations. Where do you sleep? How can you afford 10 days of accommodations? My personal philosophy is that you are only in the room to shower and sleep, so I am not a huge fan of spending my 401k to sleep somewhere. (Understand my sarcasm). On this particular journey, I booked a group tour with a company named Tucan Travel. My $299 tour covered accommodations in hotels and hostels, a few meals, and a tour leader. I will discuss hostels in a separate post, but if hostels concern you, then a group tour will provide a safety net. I personally enjoy hostels and the money they save me. The money that you save on accommodations can be used for experiences. Many countries have hostels for $20-30 per night. Check hostelworld.com and read the reviews. If you go with a group, you will have new friends and a tour leader so you will worry less.
Food, excursions, and fun. Southeast Asia is an inexpensive destination. $2 drinks, $5 meals, $10 tours. You get my drift. Despite losing my debit card the first day of the trip, the $200 in cash I had stretched until almost the end. Keep in mind that I chose to partake in various optional tours and “balled out”. It would have been very easy to only spend only $200 for the week.
The moral of the story is that travel can be very affordable if you do your research. Hate research? Hate itinerary building? Send me a message, and we can discuss options. I am willing to provide my services to help you reach your travel goals.
Ashe my friends. Go explore the world!