We spent the day at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, seeing many beautiful sculptures, ancient pottery, jewelry, and other priceless artifacts. However, D was having none of it today, and was practicing his “I have no spine” routine by refusing to be carried, or running around, “talking” loudly while pointing out objects in the cases. Which can be adorable, and generally so far, people have loved D, but some of the museum-watchers/guards did not find him so cute. He’s allowed to have an off day though, and really he’s been pretty good. Open-minded, in fact, as a few people have told me. (I don’t really know what that means in a one and a half year old, but a few people have made that comment about D. Maybe it means constantly moving, and searching for things to get into.)
Anyway, I thought I would do a little post on money and travel. A few years ago, someone from high school contacted me, and after talking a bit, I found out she wanted Z and I to help fund the company she was starting with her husband. I was flabbergasted, we had no money to do that, and why would she think we could? Well, it was because we were traveling, and she saw the pictures on Facebook, and thought we must have a high income to be able to travel. Haha, no. People ask me how we afford to travel, especially since Z is a stay-at-home dad, and working in education doesn’t bring in the big money. The easiest answer is two-fold: 1) it’s a priority and 2) we save and thrift.
Travel has been important to us since we started college and did our first trip abroad for a month the middle of our freshman year. We typically go abroad every few years and travel in the US other years. Since we enjoy traveling, we have decided it’s something we want to be able to do. Which means, there are other things we don’t do. We save a lot of money by thrifting a lot of the things we own. Craigslist, thrift stores, and garage sales, we hit them up when we need something. Most of D’s things as a baby, and now, are hand me downs or thrift shop finds. All of our furniture is used, with the exception of our mattress, and a few other things that were gifts (thanks mom and dad!).
We rent a house. We own one of our cars. We don’t do expensive meals out, we shop at the cheapest grocery store. We try to keep the air conditioning off in the summer if we can stand it and the heat off until November. Simply put, we’re cheap. Z is way better at it than I am, and will not buy things unless they are substantially cheaper than retail. I’m not that hardcore. But it works for us, and it lets us save money so we can use it for travel.
The other thing is, we also travel cheap. I scoured the internet for cheap flights before we traveled. We are staying in AirBnB rentals for almost all of our trip. We have had great experiences with AirBnB. You can choose where to stay and what ammenities you need. Having access to a kitchen and washer are valuable things with a child, and possible when you stay in an apartment. For example, in Athens, the apartment we are currently staying in cost $32 a night. It’s a bit college-apartment-style living with the decorations and how things are set-up, but we have a kitchen, a washer, and even a tub in the bathroom. It’s way cheaper than a hotel and even cheaper than many hostels. Sold.
We eat out one meal a day (usually lunch) and we eat breakfast and dinner in. We use public transportation to get around, not tourist companies. We go to sites and museums on free days if we can. We take advantage of all the free stuff to do in a city.
It takes more time and preparation, and a little more gumption, to figure out the details. Its 100% worth it to us. There are many ways to travel, and this is the way that works for us. It’s low key and enables us to travel as much as we can. If you want to travel, I hope that you can. In whatever way that works best for you.