Welcome to the next installment in our "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 Megan from MappingMegan!
Megan is an Australian journalist who has been travelling and blogging around the world for the last 7 years to inspire others to embark on their own worldwide adventure! Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home. Meg has recently launched “Mapping Megan”, an up and coming travel blog which aims to give you the best tips and advice on travelling, volunteering, living, working and holidaying abroad.
1.) How do you save money in order to travel?
By working incredibly hard! My life revolves around travel, so after I run out of money I'm more than happy to double or triple my work week in order to save as much money as possible for the next trip! This, however, got a bit ridiculous towards the end of 2011 when I ended up working 100 odd hours in one week over a few different jobs! It was a $3,000 week, but I was absolutely exhausted afterwards! You don't have to be as crazy as me though to be able to save a decent amount of money. You would be surprised by how much you save from cutting out unnecessary expenses like new clothes, smoking, alcohol, eating out etc. Myself and husband spend $100 on groceries each week (and we eat well), where-as I have friends who go out to eat and spend $100 each night, on top of drinks, and wonder how they have no money! It's all about priorities!
2.) Everyone needs to splurge now and then – describe a time when you blew your budget and it was worth every penny.
I absolutely love this notion; and I've blown my budget twice now...both times were incredibly worth it! I first splurged when a friend wanted to go to Hamilton Island (Australia) which is located on the Great Barrier Reef. We stupidly booked our flights before we booked accommodation, and as it turns out the whole island was pretty much booked out. The only room available was the penthouse suite for $700 per night at the islands 4 star hotel. It was an incredibly expensive weekend but my God was it worth every single penny - the Great Barrier Reef is one of those locations in the world where it's worth it to experience luxury! The room we had (a two story penthouse with a marble bathroom the size of my current apartment) looked straight out onto the reef and included in the room was all of the snorkel and water equipment we needed to go exploring. Before this trip my credit card had never been maxed out!
After having paid off my debt from the Hamilton Island trip and working up a decent savings I went on a trip to Africa. After having camped in Africa for 4 weeks I decided I deserved to splurge, and booked myself into Atlantis the Palm in Dubai on the way home to Australia. I spent a week in Dubai - and really didn't need to leave the hotel for much at all; the hotel had it all including night clubs, restaurants, a marine water theme park, shopping mall!
3) There’s nothing like a bargain – name your favorite great steal of a deal?
Travelling for FREE!! Yes, you read correctly - travelling for free! I'm a huge fan of "travel hacking" which is basically where you take full advantage of credit card or other promotions to gain airline or hotel points. The amount of flights and hotel stays we have been able to pay for on points in unbelievable and it really helps keep our expenses down!
4.) What tips do you have for a traveler to get the best value for their money?
Look into rewards programs if you haven't already. Organize a credit card which gives you points back in return for your purchases - you don't have to spend any more than you normally would; just your everyday purchases like gas, electricity, groceries - they all add up!
5.) Time is valuable too – how do you make every moment count?
By packing too much in! We often require vacations from each vacation we take; there's always too much to see and do that we never really "stop"! Just recently we spent 12 days driving from Florida to Washington DC and back, taking in the Blue Ridge Parkway along the way. We did 10 cities in 12 days, each of which could have easily been a full weeks vacation in itself! We are more than happy to sleep on the plane or in the car on the way back; you can always cure exhaustion but you can't cure the regret that you missed out on something!!
If you enjoyed this interview, you'll also like:
Save, Splurge, Steal Interview: Curious Around The World
Save, Splurge, Steal Interview: The Barefoot Nomads
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