Knowledge is power. The more knowledgeable I’ve become, the more I can make informed financial decisions that benefit me as a traveler. In my book, We Are Financially Savvy Travelers, we talk about how improving your knowledge base is an important component of financially savvy travel. That can look like learning from blog posts and articles, enrolling in courses, listening to travel podcasts or trial-and-error. Today, we’re peeling back another layer of financially savvy travel. Often overshadowed by the appeal of spending less, learn about the differences between wise spending and spending less and valuable ways to spend money wisely as financially savvy travelers.
- [7:14] The difference between wise spending and spending less
- [10:35] Ways to spend your money wisely as financially savvy travelers
- [13:45] Good deal vs great deal
- [21:09] Shortlist of best travel newsletters
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Danielle Desir Corbett: Knowledge is power. The more knowledgeable I've become, the more I'm able to make informed financial decisions that benefit me as a traveler. In my book, We Are Financially Savvy Travelers, we talk about how improving your knowledge base is an important component to financially savvy travel. That can look like learning from reading a book, reading articles, taking courses, listening to travel podcasts, or from trial and error. In this episode, we're peeling back another layer of Financially Savvy Travel. We're going to be covering two important pieces. The differences between wise spending and spending less. And I'll be sharing with you five ways to spend money wisely as financially savvy travelers. If you're new here, hi, I'm Danielle Desir-Corbett, a financially savvy traveler. I've been talking about financially savvy travel online since 2015. Yeah, that's like eight years at the time of this recording. I believe that you can be well traveled, you can pay off your debt, and also build wealth. And adopting a financially savvy travel mindset has helped me to travel to over 27 countries. And I'm just getting started. If this is your first episode, then go ahead and follow the podcast because you'll get new episodes automatically sent to your phone the minute I hit publish. There are over 170 episodes available for you to listen to, which has been five years in the making. And many of you have been with me since the very beginning, and I so appreciate that. If you're keeping track, I launched a show in 2018. Before we jump into today's episode, I wanted to take a moment to shout out our sponsor. I really appreciate Aura for partnering with me on this three-part series. And also, thank you to you all, my dear Financi Savvy Traveler listeners, for tuning in and giving Aura a try with their 14-day free trial. We all know that protecting our digital assets is an absolute must. But let's face it, managing separate password managers, VPNs, credit and transaction monitoring, and even spam call protection from various providers can be a real headache, not to mention pricey. That's where Aura comes in. Aura is your all-in-one digital protection solution where you can get premium high-value protection for one reasonable price. Whether you're an individual, a couple, or a family, Aura has you covered. Our family relies on Aura to shield us from theft and financial fraud. But that's not all. Aura goes the extra mile with child safety features helping us monitor content, block dangerous websites, and prevent cyberbullying as our kids grow up. So here's your chance to simplify your online safety while saving big. Try Aura today with a 14-day free trial when you use the link in our show notes or visit Aura.com slash savvy. A big thank you to Aura for teaming up with us on this episode. Welcome to the Thought Card, a podcast about traveling money, where planning, saving and creativity leads to affording travel, building wealth and paying off debt. We are the Financi Savvy Travelers. Alrighty, why spending is about making thoughtful and intentional money decisions, aligning our spending habits with our priorities. Here's a couple of reasons why making informed financial decisions is really important for us. Number one, we're able to allocate our hard earned funds strategically. We are trying to get the most value out of every single dollar that we spend. But I also think that there is an important piece of advocation here as well, meaning that we are advocating also for ourselves. When we know certain things, how things move in the travel industry, we can peep when something is off and we could speak up and we could advocate for ourselves. Another aspect when it comes to making informed financial decisions is unlocking these savings opportunities, right? Part one, we do want to get the most value, but sometimes because we are aware of what's possible, we're able to tap into those savings and actually end up spending less, which to many of us is amazing and great, right? But on a more practical and honestly, just a more realistic view of making informed decisions, it helps us to extend our travel funds. We can go further. We can travel longer. So I always say that travel and money go hand in hand. You need money to travel, regardless if you're spending minimally. At some point, you're going to have to spend money. And when you are coming to the table as an informed traveler who is going to be making informed financial decisions, you have so much going for you. Again, you have this strategy, you're looking at value, you may be looking at savings, and it just, again, fuels your ability to travel, which is very, very powerful. Now, what I often see out there in the world because we've talked about this in previous episodes that a lot of times people lump us into this budget travel category. But let me clarify something very important. Why is spending in the travel space is often overlooked or shadowed by this concept of spending less money? And we hear it all the time. We hear travel more and spend less. But I believe financially savvy travel is all about the subtle nuances. Why spending and spending less are related, but they differ in a couple of ways. So let's break it down. Why spending involves making thoughtful and strategic decisions with your money, right? It's about prioritizing your values, getting the most out of your purchases, and this alignment where you're aligning your spending with your financial goals. On the other side, spending less means reducing the amount of money you spend. While spending less can be part of wise spending, it might involve cutting back without considering the value or impact. When you are solely focusing on spending less, you might be sacrificing quality, you might be sacrificing convenience, or you may be skipping out on experiences altogether just to minimize costs. So again, these subtle nuances, which is again, why I wrote the book, We Are Financially Savvy Travelers, it's why I spent so much time really thinking about what makes us so distinct and unique and why I typically have this reaction when someone says that you're a budget traveler, I usually react poorly to that. And I was trying to unpack why I was feeling that way and what makes us different. And like I said, writing this book really was just eye-opening for me to have this critical look. And again, there are just these nuances, these very subtle nuances. And again, as Financially Savvy Travelers, it feels natural. Like I know for me, I'm always looking at value. I'm looking at my goals and my priorities, and I'm thinking about mindfulness and alignment. but it's never really been said out loud. And there is a distinction. There is a true distinction between, okay, I want to get the best value out of this, but I want to also do the things I really want to do. And I understand that money plays a role in that, but I want to spend on the things that are important to me versus those experiences where I just, I'm like, I am not going to do that. Like, I'm just trying to be, do the minimal or bare minimum. I'm focusing on spending less. So all that to say that there are subtle differences, and financially savvy travelers, they do think about spending less, but there's also this piece of wise spending element, this thoughtfulness, this strategy piece, the value-based spending again, getting the most out of our purchases, and this alignment. Alignment is this recurring theme that we've been seeing in this series, and also mindfulness as well. Again, I hope that clarifies the differences and nuances, the subtle differences between the two. And let's move on to the five different ways that you can be a more informed traveler. So the first thing that comes to mind is knowing the rules of engagement. There are lots of things when you sit down and think about whether it's at the airport or credit card travel hacking or airline or hotels, like all of these subcategories in travel have different rules of engagement. And when you know what you are entitled to, you are able to make better, more informed decisions because you know the rules. For example, what happens if you purchase the flight and you need to cancel within 24 hours? Well, if you're based in the US and you're doing your thing, you can cancel your flight within 24 hours, no penalties, you'll get your money back, no issues, regardless of your plane ticket. It's just one of those protections that we have. But if you don't know that exists, you may end up missing that 24 hour window and you may now be getting airline credit or just completely wasting that funds because your airline maybe doesn't have a program where you can get credit back. right? Or let's say you end up missing or canceling a flight and you get credit back and you don't realize that your credit from your airline company has an expiration date. And then you miss the expiration date, time has passed, and now you just really truly lost out of money. So these are just like simple examples of just airlines alone. Knowing these rules of engagement can really put you in a powerful, knowledgeable position. So knowing the rules is really important. And it may be, I know, sometimes challenging, especially if you don't have a lot of experience traveling to like know every little thing, but it's something that you acquire over time. And I'm sure, like, for example, listening to this podcast, you may have picked up things over time, right? So we kind of continue to put little nuggets into our file cabinets in our brains, right? We put little nuggets in there, and when we need it, we pull it out. We're like, oh, yes, I remember that. Or, oh, yes, let me look into that. Or how does this work again? Am I positioning myself well? All those things happen when you know the rules of engagement. Something else to note here is that rules change. Things change. Especially if you're in the points and miles space. Things change all the time. Airlines change all the time. So just be aware that know the rules of engagement, but also understand that things change. And we're going to be keeping up to the times to make sure that, again, we stay knowledgeable and we stay up to date with what's going on. Now the second way that you can make more informed decisions is to know the differences between a good deal and a great deal. And to do this, you really have to get comfortable and start tracking and comparing prices. And what's important here is to compare apples to apples. So for example, let's say you're planning a trip to New York City and you're thinking about a four star hotel and you're comparing these two different prices, but one hotel is four star and the other hotel is two star. So in this situation, you're actually comparing apples to oranges because they're not even in the same hotel class. So that's something to be mindful of and aware of when you are comparing, especially when you're paying like hotels. Again, because some hotels may have more perks and things built into the price. Again, we won't go too deep into it, but you get what I'm saying. Another thing that's really important when it comes to the differences between a good deal and a great deal is establishing a price baseline. I won't go too much into detail here because I break it all down and also stress the importance and how to calculate everything in We Are Financially Savvy Travelers. But to just give you a very quick gist, it's really understanding and knowing when something is on sale. And for you to know that something's on sale, you have to know the regular price. You have to have seen the regular price with your own eyes for you to know and say, okay, now is the best time to hop on this because I've seen it at multiple price points and this is the best. price. Again, in order to do that, you need to be tracking, you need to be comparing, and you need to be on it. So for example, I love Bermuda. Bermuda is top three destinations I've been to in the world so far. And I've spent the last year and a half tracking my Bermuda flights. and it wasn't until recently that flights have come down. So flights have been anywhere from 500, 600 plus thousand of dollars and I was like no. So I've been just kind of keeping an eye on prices and recently it's come down to 300, and 50 plus dollars. So because I've established this baseline, I know when something's on sale. I know when Bermuda is on sale. So I'm going to go and jump on this Bermuda flight because I've been tracking it for so long. And again, I am knowledgeable and aware of what's good and what's great. A lot of times there will be promotions and marketing out there that tells you that this is the best travel deal ever. But really though, is it? I beg to differ. And the only reason I can say that is, again, because I know the difference. I know what a good deal is. I know what a great deal is. I know what prices are. And I can tell if something is truly at a discount versus just a marketing ploy. All right, so that's number two is knowing the differences between good deals and great deals. Now, number three on the list of, again, making informed and wise spending decisions is doing your research and planning ahead. When you plan ahead and do your research, you undoubtedly are aware. You are gonna know things like the currency at the destination that you're traveling to, the tipping culture, which actually financially impacts you a lot, okay? In the US, we tip anywhere from 15, 17 plus percent that adds up compared to somewhere like Iceland where tipping is not required, it makes a big difference, okay? So things like, again, currency, tipping culture, even how much it costs to go to a destination. So on my website, thoughtcard.com, I intentionally create trip costs budget breakdown so that all of my listeners, all of my readers can know exactly how much I spent as this financially savvy mid-budget traveler. So when you know, on average, how much food costs or how much a trip costs in general, you can now start to put pieces together, have a more accurate savings goal for yourself. And again, it puts you in this more informed, knowledgeable headspace. So research and planning ahead, definitely on the list of things to do. Alrighty, moving on to number four is tracking your travel spending. And again, we talk about this in my book again, but one of the important things when it comes to tracking your spending on the road is to do a trip debrief. And in this trip debrief, you're going to look at all the things you spent your money on and you're going to be asking yourself, okay, where did I spend money? What do I want to change? It's really an analysis and taking stock and saying, okay, what did I do really well here? Did I stay on budget? Did I go over budget? And what do I want to change? And a lot of times when we're looking at our expenses after a trip, we're looking at what do I have to adjust? What do I have to reduce or eliminate completely? And again, in the book, I have a really good example about a trip I went on and I spent excessively on an item that I would never do at home. And I thought that was a really good example of, okay, if you don't take a step back when you come back from a vacation and really look at your money spending, you won't realize where you could have saved or where you were going overboard or where maybe you were a little bit wasteful or maybe something didn't pan out and you would change that for the future. So there's a lot of nuggets and gems that come from a trip debrief and I break it all down in the book. So again, I encourage you to grab the book because you'll get all the deets in there. But tracking your travel spending is very powerful and will definitely definitely make you a more knowledgeable traveler. And this definitely couples in with your travel style, right? Because again, if you know your travel style and you look at your spending and you're like, whoa, I did not even spend any money on the things I care about. And I spent all this money on things I didn't care about. You're going to start to move and adjust differently for next time. Right. So there's a lot of learning lessons just right there by simply just tracking your travel spending. All right, so the last tip I have for you when it comes to making informed financial decisions is to keep up with travel news. I kind of teased it in the first one, but keeping up with travel news is so important. That can look like signing up for newsletters for the brands that you want to keep in touch with, And, you know, all these news will come out and you could know about the latest hotel mergers, the latest airline acquisitions. You can really pick up on tips and tricks. You can learn things like lucrative partnerships, like the Delta and Airbnb partnership, where you can earn points and miles. by just going to a special link and you can get Delta points on your Airbnb stays, right, for example. So there's lots of ways for you to kind of stay in the know. Of course, listening to this podcast is one of them, but I wanted to share with you a couple of newsletters that I trust and I'm subscribed to and have been for many, many, many, many, many years. So the Points guy, I love them for maximizing travel rewards and they give lots of updates and travel news and industry news in the industry. So they're really great for staying in the know. Also another one of my favorites is Thrifty Traveler, of course, for all things cheap flights. They also do a great job with travel news, travel updates, and also travel rewards as well. The Airline Observer by Brian Summers is great for airline business news and analysis. And another newsletter by Hotel Addict is great for hotel news, reviews, and also trends. So overall, I hope you enjoyed this episode and it gave you lots of food for thought with plenty of examples of how you can make more informed decisions as financially savvy travelers and different ways it can look like. So I want to stress again, know the rules of engagement or try to at least try to at least understand and know what you're getting yourself into. Know the difference between a good deal and a great deal by tracking and comparing prices. Research and plan ahead for your trips, especially if you're going internationally. Track your travel spending, break things down when you come back home, look at your spending, look at your receipts, Look at your bank statements because there's lots of clues about your money and your spending habits right there that you can analyze and make decisions moving forward, whether you want to adjust, reduce, or eliminate some categories completely. And then lastly, keep up to date with travel news. There's lots of incredible newsletters and even travel podcasts. So in episode 121, I shared a few of the travel podcasts that I love, and trust and recommend anyone who would listen, but there's a blog post. So if you go over to thoughtcard.com slash travel podcast, again, that's two words, travel podcasts. I keep this blog post updated. on the daily and we have now 31 must follow travel podcasts that you must follow because they're so good. And again, I want to make sure everyone is aware of just the amount of incredible travel audio content there is out there. and they're really great for keeping you updated. All right? So if you're loving this series, you know what to do. Go grab my new book, We Are Financially Savvy Travelers. It's chock full of insights to help you become more money mindful without compromising your other money goals. Because let's face it, travel is a money goal and we got other goals to accomplish. Am I right? I am right. We Are Financially Savvy Travelers is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and also your local library. Ask your local library to order the book. They will. And that's also just a great way to have the book in way more hands. So order the book on your local library. Get it in the hands of your local community. Let me know what you think about the book. I love to hear from you. All right, financial savvy travelers, that is all for this episode. I will catch you in the next one. Bye.
About Our Sponsor – Aura
Big thanks to Aura for teaming up with us on this episode.
Protecting our digital assets is an absolute must. But let’s face it: managing separate password managers, VPNs, credit and transaction monitoring, and even spam call protection from various providers can be a real headache. Not to mention pricey. That’s where Aura comes in.
Aura is your all-in-one digital protection solution where you get premium, high-value protection for a reasonable price.
Our family relies on Aura to shield us from theft and financial fraud, but that’s not all. Aura goes the extra mile with child safety features, helping us monitor content, block dangerous websites, and prevent cyberbullying as our kids grow up.
So, here’s your chance to simplify your online safety while saving big. Click here to try Aura today with a 14-day free trial.
Wise Spending vs Spending Less
Table of Contents
In the frugal travel space, we often hear the advice to “travel more and spend less.” While this mantra holds some truth, it’s important to recognize the subtle nuances between the two.
Wise Spending: Spending money wisely involves making thoughtful and strategic choices with your money. It goes beyond simply cutting back on expenses but prioritizing value, getting the most out of your purchases, and aligning your spending with your financial goals. When you practice spending wisely, you consider the long-term impact of your financial decisions and ensure they align with your priorities.
Spending Less: On the other hand, spending less means reducing the amount of money you spend. While spending less can be a part of wise spending, it often involves cutting back without necessarily considering the value or impact. When you focus solely on spending less, you may sacrifice quality and convenience or skip experiences altogether to minimize costs.
While spending less can help you save money in the short term, wise spending considers the bigger picture. By making informed financial decisions, allocate your funds strategically, get the most value out of your purchases, and unlock savings opportunities. Spending wisely also allows you to extend your travel funds, enabling you to travel further and longer.
Tired of reading? Listen to this podcast episode on YouTube.
5 Ways To Spend Money Wisely As Financially Savvy Traveler
Maximize your travel budget like a pro with these five smart strategies for making wise spending decisions.
1. Know the Rules of Engagement
Familiarize yourself with the rules and policies of airlines, hotels, and other travel providers. Understanding your rights and entitlements will empower you to make better decisions and advocate for yourself when necessary.
When you know what you are entitled to, you are able to make better, more informed decisions because you know the rules.Danielle Desir Corbett
2. Differentiate Between Good Deals and Great Deals
Track and compare prices to establish a baseline for what constitutes a good deal. This will help you recognize when something is truly on sale and worth investing in.
3. Research and Plan Ahead
Take the time to research your destination, including currency, tipping culture, and average costs. I have an entire section of my site dedicated to trip cost breakdowns. Planning ahead allows you to budget accurately and make intentional money decisions about where to allocate your funds.
Listen to this podcast episode on Spotify.
4. Track Your Travel Spending
Record your expenses and conduct a trip cost debrief when you return home. Analyze your spending habits and identify areas where you can adjust, reduce, or eliminate expenses for future trips.
If you don’t take a step back when you come back from a vacation and really look at your spending, you won’t realize where you could have saved or where maybe you were a little bit wasteful.”Danielle Desir Corbett
5. Stay Up-to-Date with Travel News
Subscribe to newsletters and follow trusted travel sources to stay informed about industry news, promotions, and travel rewards. Keeping up with travel news will help you make informed decisions and take advantage of opportunities to save money.
Some of my favorite trusted sources for up-to-date travel news are newsletters that provide valuable insights and updates on various aspects of the travel industry. Here are a few of my favorite travel newsletters.
The Points Guy: This newsletter is perfect for those looking to maximize their travel rewards. It offers tips, strategies for earning and redeeming points, travel updates, and industry news. Whether you’re interested in airline miles, hotel points, or credit card rewards, The Points Guy has you covered.
Thrifty Traveler: If you’re searching for cheap flights, Thrifty Traveler is the newsletter for you. It provides regular updates on flight deals and offers tips on how to find the best prices for your next trip. Whether you’re planning a domestic getaway or an international adventure, Thrifty Traveler can help you save money on airfare.
Listen to this podcast episode where I interview the founder of Thrifty Traveler, Jared Kamrowski.
The Airline Observer by Brian Sumers: The Airline Observer is a must-read for those interested in airline business news and analysis. This newsletter dives deep into the inner workings of the airline industry, providing insights into mergers, acquisitions, and other industry developments. Stay informed about the latest trends and changes in the airline world with this informative travel newsletter.
Hotel Addict: If you’re a hotel enthusiast or simply want to stay updated on the latest hotel news, reviews, and trends, Hotel Addict is the perfect newsletter. It covers everything from new hotel openings to renovations, as well as insider tips and recommendations for finding the best accommodations for your travels. Stay in the know about the latest developments in the hotel industry with Hotel Addict.
Whether you’re looking to maximize your travel rewards, find cheap flights, stay updated on airline business news, or stay in the know about the hotel industry, these newsletters have you covered.
Next, I encourage you to continue binging the series:
What People Get Wrong About Financially Savvy Travel – Episode 148
How Money Mindfulness Can Help You Travel More Next Year – Episode 149
If you’ve enjoyed my take, you’ll love my new book, We Are Financially Savvy Travelers. It’s chock full of insights to help you become more financially mindful and travel more without compromising your money goals.
Also, check out my other travel books!
Other Content You’ll Enjoy
- Why You Need a Travel Fund – Episode 2
- How To Define Your Travel Style – Episode 102
- How I Became a Financially Savvy Traveler – Episode 69
Danielle Desir Corbett paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years, bought a house at 27, and has traveled to 27 countries, including her favorites, Iceland, China, and Bermuda. Go here to learn Danielle’s incredible story, from struggling financially and in debt to finding creative ways to earn more and live on her terms. Listen to The Thought Card Podcast, where Danielle shares how you can creatively travel more and build wealth regardless of your current financial situation. Reach out to Danielle by contacting: thethoughtcard (at) gmail (dot) com.