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Cheryl: Budget travel is our passion! A passion born of necessity! Our travel addiction coupled with our limited incomes creates this need. As many of you know, we try to escape the winters in Pennsylvania. This is our third annual escape! With each subsequent year, we have extended our time away from the US. We continually sharpen our travel hacking skills.
Mitch: I hafta interject and say that we have the funds to travel at a more luxurious level. It’s in the savings account and we’re not interested in giving to the airlines for cardboard food or stowing a big American Tourister that we’d have to hire a taxi to haul it to a hotel. Which brings a story to mind….
Cheryl: Ok, Mitch – quit hijacking my post and write your own story!! Everyone knows that even tho you may have the funds to upgrade your travel, you are too damn tight to spend it!!! You know it’s like the sound of the newly fallen snow crunching as you step on it – squeak, squeak!
This winter we are traveling for almost eight weeks. The challenge — live on $40 a day/person! That will include all transportation costs (airfare and rental car), lodging, food and entertainment! A tall order to be sure!
We are on Day 21! With airfare factored in, we have spent a daily average of $16.16 each! Two factors that have helped keep our costs so low so far are housesitting and cheap airline tickets! You all know my “hobby” is searching for hot deals with the airlines! Last year, we started playing the credit card points game. We each signed up for a Bank of America Travel Rewards card that awarded 20,000 frequent flyer miles after we spent $2,000 in the first 3 months. No problem! We charge our gas, groceries, some household bills and anything else we need. We carefully put aside the cash as we charge and then pay off the balance when the bill arrives. We also earned an additional 1.5 points for each dollar charged. I found tickets on Norwegian Air for $363.80 round trip from NYC to Malaga, Spain. Then we cashed in the points!
Final price for our international flights:
- Mitch $111.39
- Cheryl $60.83
When we landed in Malaga, we had a free room for two nights courtesy of some old points I had earned on my Citibank card. That card is now retired! Those two nights were at the Hotel Zen in Torremolinos, Spain. It is a short distance from the airport and they offer a complimentary shuttle. There is a nice little restaurant/bar on site. What a welcome sight after our transatlantic flight. A pizza with a few beers and we were ready to tuck in to our room for some seriously needed zzzzz’s.
We paid $33 for our third night’s lodging at the Hostal Sol y Miel in Benalmadena. Clean and located in a more Spanish neighborhood as opposed to the beach which is very touristy. Since then we have been house sitting. Needless to say, this saves a lot of $$! Free lodging in exchange for caring for the dogs and watering the plants!
I will post occasional updates on the budget. At the end of the trip, I will let you know how it all turns out!