Welcome to the latest installment of the "Save, Splurge, Steal" interview series. Getting great value when I travel is always such a fun challenge for me and I love to learn how other people get the best possible experience for their available time and money. I'm asking top travel bloggers to share their expertise and I hope you enjoy their responses as much as I do!
Meet Katherine from Travel the World!
Katherine has been traveling around the world for over 10 years with her husband Romeo. Katherine and Romeo both work full time, so they try to get the most out of their travels on limited vacation time. Katherine is author of Travel the World, a travel blog for the everyday working stiff. She also co-authors the travel/alcohol blog Passports & Cocktails.
1.) How do you save money in order to travel?
My husband and I have a money plan that we have followed for over a decade. He pays for our mortgage and groceries. I pay for our utilities, health insurance, retirement savings, and travel. I have always tried to save for our travels rather than putting them on credit cards (though I do use credit cards during our travels to earn miles). It’s mostly a lot of willpower. Do I really need that cute dress, and purse, and shoes, or do I want to go on vacation in a couple months, and maybe just get the shoes?
2.) Everyone needs to splurge now and then – describe a time when you blew your budget and it was worth every penny.
Since I plan our trips very carefully (see my answer to question 5), I can’t say that we have ever blown our budget. The biggest travel splurge was when Romeo bought me a diamond ring in Belgium. But that splurge was anticipated because in my research I learned Belgium is known for its diamonds and fairly good prices on diamonds. My birthday was coming up and I warned him ahead of time, so he knew what was in store for his wallet. I wear that ring every single day and looking at it makes me happy because I remember our wonderful time in Belgium.
3.) There’s nothing like a bargain – name your favorite great steal of a deal?
I think the best deal I have found so far, which was actually found by a friend of ours, was our recent trip to China. $950 per person included roundtrip airfare from the United States to China, an inter-China flight from Beijing to Shanghai, and hotel accommodations in Beijing and Shanghai. Someone on Twitter tried desperately to find a better deal, but it wasn’t possible. China wasn’t really a place I wanted to go anytime soon, so being able to cross it off my list for such a low price was fantastic, and hiking the Great Wall of China was priceless.
4.) What tips do you have for a traveler to get the best value for their money?
What I have started to do is choose our travel destinations by airfare. Airfare is a big piece of a travel budget and you can save a lot of money if you allow airfare sales to determine your travel destinations. We traveled to Ireland in December a few years ago because of a great airfare sale and it was a wonderful experience. This year we are going to Denmark, which hadn’t previously been on my travel radar, because of a Norwegian Air sale. If your heart isn’t set on a specific destination, you can save hundreds of dollars by letting airfare sales dictate your next trip.
5.) Time is valuable too – how do you make every moment count?
This is my favorite subject! I thoroughly research our destinations and create very detailed itineraries before we travel. It takes a lot of time and money to travel, and since there are so many places in the world I want to see, there are not many places that I will be visiting for a second time, so I want to see as much as possible. With a detailed itinerary I can make the most of our time because I know when places are open, I plan our days by neighborhood so we aren’t constantly crisscrossing a city, and I prioritize sights by hitting the most important in the morning so if time gets away from us, we won’t be skipping the best. Having a detailed itinerary doesn’t mean we’re stuck to a regimented schedule. There have been many times we have changed things up because of unforeseen circumstances or because we learned of something we should do from other travelers met along the way. But having a detailed itinerary means you always have something to do and if things do change, the can be easily changed.
If you enjoyed this interview, you'll also like:
Save, Splurge Steal: Beth from Besudesu Abroad
Save, Splurge, Steal: Dave's Travel Corner
Save, Splurge, Steal Interview: Active Planet Travels