How to Save for Travel

Save like a pro with Travel Babbo's tips


Prioritizing travel

We’ve been traveling with our three kids (8, 11 and 12) since they were born. In all we’ve taken them to 54 countries, all 7 continents, and 17 states. Why? Because of the benefits that we’ve witnessed. We’ve seen the kids’ language skills improve as they’ve been able to take what they learn in school and practice it in the real world. They’ve also recognized the importance of learning, and using, other languages. And we’re a foodie family because of travel. Our kids have grown up trying foods around the world, and learning to make those foods, and have become amazing eaters (and good cooks!) in the process.

But it goes even further. Our kids have been able to experience independence, as we’ve let them explore foreign cities and islands. They’ve also, through 14-hour plane flights and three-hour European meals, gained a remarkable ability to be patient and entertain themselves! And they’ve truly become who they are through travel, as they’ve discovered new passions and skills, and we’ve in turn chosen destinations and created itineraries based on those passions.

My youngest daughter enjoys the company of monkeys

My youngest daughter always votes for animal-based trips

And then there are the benefits that come from experiencing other cultures, and seeing how differently people live around the world – and what problems they face. We see our kids becoming more empathetic with every trip and experience, and are optimistic that later in life when they’re making decisions that can affect others, they’ll make the right choices.

Travel has always been our priority, and will always be our priority. But how do we come up with the money for travel in the first place? A lot of small ways that add up…

We charge everything

By charging everything we can (travel of course, but also online purchases, groceries, gas, utilities, doctor’s visits, etc...) to a credit card that earns miles, like Capital One’s Venture Card, we’re earning free travel with every purchase. If we spend $2,000/month ($24,000/year), that earns us 48,000 Venture Card miles per year.

Add that to the 50,000 mile initial card bonus (after required spending and in first year only), and we have 98,000 miles, or $980, that we can apply towards charged travel expenses. That reduces our travel costs considerably. And we fully take advantage of other Capital One promotions, like the current partnership with hotels.com, to earn even more miles.

We don’t give many gifts

In part because we travel so much, our kids value experiences far more than physical possessions. So this one is easy for us. Birthdays mean cards and a home-cooked meal (of the birthday boy or girl’s choosing). Christmas brings a few small things under the tree, but nothing big.

My children loved visiting the falconry in Ireland

Falconry in Ireland. The experience is the gift.

We don’t watch TV or go to movies

We may have a small television in our basement, but we never watch it. If you still have cable, calculate what you’re paying annually. I’m guessing it adds up to a couple of plane tickets! And the best thing about those plane tickets is that when you’re flying to your destination, you can catch up on all of the movies and shows you’ve missed the past few months. Win-win!

We don’t have a lawn

We took out the grass around our house to save water, because of California’s ongoing drought. An unexpected upside – no longer having to spend money on a lawnmower, a lawn service, or water.

Hiking in Patagonia, Chile

Hiking in Patagonia, Chile

We spend smart

There are so many ways to spend money if you’re not thinking about saving long-term for travel. A $4 take-out coffee every day adds up to over $1,400 per year. Throwing something in your cart that you don’t really need just because it’s on sale? That adds up too. As does buying anything at all on Black Friday. We get inexpensive haircuts. We never go for manicures or pedicures. All of these can be enjoyable –they’re just far lower priorities for us than travel.

Exploring a big city square in Manaus, Brazil.

Exploring Manaus, Brazil. Not an expensive trip, and even cheaper using miles to offset travel expenses.

Take your kids everywhere! The benefits are amazing. And by making a few small changes to your monthly spending habits, travel can be yours far earlier than you thought possible.


We hope that you found this helpful. Our content is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice or to indicate the Capital One product or service is available or right for you. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, consider talking with a qualified professional.