Eyelash extensions or a short hiking trip? A night out on the town or a trip to Europe?
Those are the kinds of trade-offs Lourdes Camacho began weighing last fall when the Miami-based nanny began scaling back her daily spending to put more money toward travel.
“I realized I spent $300 to $500 a weekend in Miami when I could have used that to travel abroad,” he said. “You know, like, I don’t have to do those things.”
The 31-year-old cut back on beauty appointments and started staying home more, prioritizing visits to new places and exploring the outdoors, taking advantage of the flexibility her job affords. The frequency of his trips varies, but he hit five in February in San Francisco, Honolulu and beyond, including a work trip with his boss for their vacation.
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Camacho is among several travelers who pinch pennies on everyday expenses so they can put more money into their trips.
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A February survey of 1,000 US adults commissioned by PayPal, in partnership with Edelman Data & Intelligence, found that 73% of respondents would be willing to change everyday spending so they could afford to travel.
Of those surveyed, 42% said they would rather cook at home than eat out or get takeout, while close to 20% said they would be willing to skip social events like weddings or birthday parties to save money, according to the results shared by a spokesperson for the company.
Almost 20% also said they are “willing to cut back on beauty services such as haircuts, manicures or waxes.”
Rob Jackson, a New York real estate agent, made his own compromises in order to travel more. The 36-year-old he says has been to more than 40 countries, taking between five and seven international trips a year and traveling domestically every month.
“It’s really become a passion of mine over the last decade or so,” Jackson said.
As Jackson, 36, gets older, he says he prioritizes experiences over material possessions. He lives in a studio apartment instead of a larger space, for example, and buys less high-end clothes than he did in the 20s.
“I like to say, ‘I don’t have the designer clothes I bought when I was 22, but I have every memory from every trip I’ve ever taken,'” she said.
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“I love traveling,” he said. “That’s like one of my favorite things to do, so I always make sure that everything in my life is aligned to support that hobby.”
That could mean deciding to live in a smaller or less expensive house if they don’t go there often, for example, Broadway said.
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Travelers can also use travel credit cards to earn rewards, he said, especially if they’re strategic about it. For example, someone who lives in Atlanta, where Delta Air Lines is based, might want to sign up for a Delta-specific card.
By paying your bills with those cards – and paying off the cards at the end of the month or sooner – Broadway said, “That will allow you to start traveling for free through doing something you’re going to do. do it anyway.”
Still, those cutting back on spending may not feel the benefits if they don’t put the money aside, Broadway warns.
“Essentially, you’re probably going to spend the money on something else,” he said. If a person stops getting their nails done every Friday, for example, for the suggested transfer of money to another place as if they have it, so they can see it accumulate.
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Whether you use that money to pay off credit card debt or put it somewhere else, like a savings account, depends on your goals, he says.
“But you definitely don’t want to have it too close,” added Broadway. “You don’t want it tied directly to your checking account because you’re just going to withdraw it so many times.”
As people develop new spending habits, he suggests they check in with themselves often — as often as daily — to hold themselves accountable. “Because that way you can see quickly if it’s not working, and you can quickly make a change.”
In addition to saving money every day, Camacho made a habit of traveling cheaply to maximize his investment. He’s looking for deals on Google Flights; staying in hostels or with locals she met through Facebook groups for female solo travelers; and picks up groceries to cook when he can or buys food from street vendors.
Camacho took another nannying job that paid more but offered less flexibility and found she couldn’t put a price on seeing the world.
“It made me realize… it’s not worth it. I’m not living my life or enjoying life,” she said. “So I’m willing to make these sacrifices. I’m willing to go on a weekend and sacrifice sleep, too, just to see a view.”
Nathan Diller is a consumer travel reporter for USA TODAY based in Nashville. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.