So, you’ve decided you’ve had enough–it’s time to get out of town. Whether you’re planning on leaving for a week, a weekend, a month, or longer, here are some tips and tricks to get you out the door with some money in your pocket!
Step One: get yourself a travel rewards card
When I realized how much a travel rewards card can do for you, I almost did a summersault. I’ve used my “points” to book flights, hotel rooms, and I even used points to spend a week in an AirBnB in Mexico.
I found this article from NerdWallet especially helpful when choosing my first travel rewards card.
Things to look for in a travel rewards card:
- No foreign transaction fees: this is so so important if you are planning on traveling abroad with your credit card!
- The dreaded annual fee: look for a card with a lower annual fee. Fees can range from $95-$300. My Chase Sapphire Preferred has an annual fee of $95 which pretty much pays for itself throughout the year.
- Your needs: think about your needs. Would you prefer hotel perks? Flight perks? Cash back rewards? My winner is always the card with the best flight perks as flights always seem to be the most expensive part of the trip.
- Bonuses: you’ll also want to look at the bonuses associated with using your card. Almost all travel rewards cards will give you a “signing” bonus. What’s important are the bonuses that come after. If you don’t dine out very much, consider a card that gives you point rewards for shopping at grocery stores. If you ride a bike everywhere, a card that rewards gas purchases isn’t going to help you much. Think about your lifestyle and what type of card will benefit you most!
Step Two: go through your closet
There are so many great resale shops out there that are willing to buy your clothes! We all know going through your closet means creating a Goodwill pile. Instead of giving things away, see if you can sell some of them. The things you can’t sell can always be donated! And, most resale shops are male friendly! Some resale shops I’ve used:
- They look for items that are trendy, casual, and fun. They also look at labels and will take items anywhere from Forever 21 to Banana Republic, to French Connection! You also have the option to donate whatever they don’t want to buy thus saving you a trip to the donation station.
- Buffalo Exchange is a good spot if you have some funky items you want to sell. I don’t usually have much luck with Buffalo because my style is a bit more classic than the pieces they go for. Either way, it’s worth a shot!
Step Three: sell stuff you don't want or need via your Instagram story
I know it sounds INSANE to sell things via your Insta story, but it works, especially if you’re on a major time crunch, do not want to trudge down to the FedEx store every day to mail things off, and/or you definitely don’t want to meet some lunatic from Craigslist. I sold two paintings and something called a RavPower charing station that I’d never used. I made $90! So yeah, your Instagram story.
I did an Aussie accent (or attempted to do one) because 1. I’m weird like that and 2. I thought if I did something funny, more people would watch the whole thing and see all the products I had to offer.
If you have more time, Ebay and Facebook Marketplace are two other great options for selling items you no longer need or use. There’s always Craigslist but it makes me nervous…
Step Four: find a cheap flight
There are a few cheap flight websites/apps I like to use. My go to is always skiplagged.com. This site has the best flight options hands down. Also, it’s not like Kayak or other browsers where your views are being tracked. Meaning, each time you search on skiplagged, flight prices stay the same–they don’t fluctuate based on your interest. This website also has a great feature where you can play with dates in order to see what your cheapest flight days are!
I also like the Hopper app. Hopper is an app that tells you the cheapest flying dates for a particular flight. It’s a good app to use when planning ahead!
Step Five: create mileage accounts with every airline you fly
There’s no better way to get out of town than when you get to fly fo free!!! All major airlines, actually… every airline offers a rewards program. For every flight you take, miles are added to your account. You can then use those miles to book a plane ticket! Just remember, when you purchase a ticket, you must enter your frequent flyer account information in order to be rewarded with miles.
It takes a while to rack up enough points to get a ticket, but it’s worth giving it a try! I once used all my American Airlines miles to buy a one way ticket 🙂
Step Six: your dwelling
If you’re getting out of town for a month or more, look to sublet or lease your place. Put it on the market as furnished! That way you don’t have to pay to store your furniture. You’ll have to find somewhere to put your clothes and knickknacks, but those should diminish a bit after completing steps two and three. Make sure you know how much you will need to cover expenses (rent/mortgage, home owner’s fees, car insurance, internet, etc.) Once you’ve determined how much you need to cover expenses, that’s your listing price!
Zillow is a great place to find someone to lease your place. It’s free to list and you have control over your entire post! Interested parties can contact you directly and can even request showing times via the website.
If you’d rather find someone to sublet, try Facebook Marketplace. Definitely take pictures if using Facebook or Zillow and don’t be afraid to photoshop a bit!
Your Insta story/Snap stories are other great ways to get the word out to your friends that you’re looking for someone to lease/sublet for x amount of time.
Step Seven: your vehicle
I briefly considered selling my car when I decided to take this trip; however, because I was unsure of how long I’d be gone, I didn’t want to come back and have no means of transportation (this is an issue for me because I live in a city that doesn’t have good public transport).
So, I then considered canceling my insurance on the car completely and leaving it parked in a garage. I soon learned that if I did that, my insurance premium would spike when I returned. Fun fact: if you’re uninsured for more than a month, insurance companies hike up the price when you return to coverage.
So, if you’re getting out of town for a month or more, there’s an easy way to keep your car and avoid paying double on insurance when you return! Call your insurance company and bring your car insurance down to the lowest level of liability. I changed my coverage to the lowest it could possibly go, and I left it parked in my mom’s garage. This liability decrease brought my insurance down from $154/month to $49/month.
If you follow all of my recommended steps, you should be able to get out of town about as worry free as one can these days, and hopefully, you’ve got some extra money in your pocket!