The Black Girl’s Guide To Traveling When You’re Broke AF

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Wanna travel, but you’re broke AF? Here’s how you can still live your best life without breaking the bank.

Picking A Destination

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Of course, the first step of traveling is deciding where exactly you’re going to go. This is perhaps one of the most important parts of traveling because some places are cheaper than others depending on the time of the year and where you’d be flying in from. Considering things like seasonal tourism, weather, departure and return dates, and time-sensitive offers when picking a destination will make all the difference when it comes to saving money, especially for overseas travel.

Some things to keep in mind when picking a destination: 

  • Summer and Holidays are the busiest times for travel in the United States and Europe, so you can expect any travel fees to be higher during this time. For the cheapest flights and lodging, aim for January to May or September to Early December.
  • Yes, the destination is cheap, but is it safe for tourists? Specifically black women. Do your research before you travel abroad to make sure where you’re going is safe enough.
  • If you decide to travel abroad, make an itinerary. Knowing where you want to go and what you want to do while you’re in a foreign land will help you when it comes down to budgeting and saving.
  • Don’t sleep on domestic travel! I know personally that there are tons of hidden gems in the United States and you don’t always have to travel far to find a destination with great food, beautiful scenery, and a rich culture.

Saving Enough Money

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I know that if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you have no money. Like, you are very broke. And first off, I’d like to reassure you that no matter what anybody tells you, you can still travel on a small budget as long as you are flexible and open-minded. Now when it comes to saving money, you need to get creative. The bottom line is, you’ll have to come up with a destination, give yourself a realistic time frame for saving money, and begin saving a set amount of money every week or month.

I know that not everyone can take money out of their paychecks because some of us simply don’t have any “extra” income to save! So here are a few ways you can make some extra money strictly for your travel savings:

  • A part time or side job. Working on the weekends or offering services on and offline (social media management, hair and makeup, life coaching, etc.) are good ways to jump-start your savings.
  • Recycling. Depending on where you live, you can get money for recycling plastic, aluminum, paper, and various broken or old electronics.
  • Ride-share or meal delivery services. Services like Uber, Lyft, Door Dash, or Postmates are great ways to make some extra money. Don’t have a car? Both Uber and Lyft will allow you to rent a car as long as you make the money back via rides! Check to see if it’s offered in your city.
  • If you can’t make extra money, it’s time for some sacrifices. Stop splurging on things you don’t need, buy cheaper or generic brands when grocery shopping, sell stuff you don’t need, etc.

Checking For Other Opportunities

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Sometimes we can’t get the money saved in a reasonable amount of time. Or maybe we do have a little cash, but it isn’t nearly enough to go where we want to go. So what do you do? You start looking for job and volunteer opportunities in other cities, states, and countries that’ll allow you to travel for cheap or fee.

  • If you’re a student, apply to study or intern abroad! You don’t even have to go to a 4 year college or university, some community colleges offer opportunities to study abroad after one semester of good grades.
  • Get a job in a different country. Schools and businesses in foreign countries are always looking for native English speakers to help teach English, serve as a translator, or be the American representative for their company. The great part about this is that they’re also willing to teach you the native language of the country which gives you the opportunity to be bi or multilingual!
  • Volunteer trips are also a great way to travel abroad for cheap or free because the organization you’re working with typically uses donations and other funds to pay for travel and lodging fees.
  • Brand trips. Depending how poppin’ you are on social media, you could get yourself a trip sponsored by a brand with products that you actually use.

Still need some help? Here are a few more tips to help you get the ball rolling on your travel dreams: 

  • Use Google Flights when planning a trip because it’ll show you the cheapest dates to fly out.
  • A good rule of thumb is that Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday are the cheapest travel days.
  • Go for an Airbnb instead of a hotel when staying in one place for a longer period of time. They tend to make for a cheaper, more comfortable stay.
  • Travel with others. While this doesn’t do much for your airfare, it helps to split the costs of lodging and activities.

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