What's the Real Deal With Traveling for Work?
Hello! I’m Calli Richards, a professional wedding photographer and travel enthusiast! My husband and I have traveled to 13 states and three countries, and we have taken 14 trips together for my business, not including the four I've done alone. This year, we already have 12 trips planned, and we will probably end up with at least a few more spontaneous ones!
I get a lot of questions when I tell people about our travels, ones I’m sure you’re asking yourself right now. Hopefully I’ll answer all of these, and tell you how you can do this too! If you have any questions, feel free to come talk to me more about it by reaching out to me on my website.
We LOVE to travel, and it’s something we put a priority on. Because of this, we’ve arranged our budget accordingly. Neither of us are really into having the newest and best thing, so we don’t spend our money on that. We try to live as simply as possible, not eating out and using what we have so as to not over spend. We have a budget that we stick to, and in that budget is a travel category. We save a specific amount each month towards traveling, in addition to what we put into our savings. We have a bank account specifically for travel funds that we put this money into to save. We believe if we don’t have the money, we haven’t earned it. So we don’t go on a trip if we don’t have the money right now. Even if there’s a really good deal, if we don’t have the money for it right now, we don’t do it.
It’s so much easier to eventually say yes to a good deal on a trip when you can see the money in the account, and you know it won’t affect your daily living! It’s also SO much easier to save when you can see the growing dollar amount set aside that's specifically for traveling.
I’m fortunate enough to have a job that takes me all over. Over half our trips are for a wedding out-of-state, so we use that travel opportunity and turn it into a vacation! If it’s a vacation just for fun, I’ll market to that specific area and I’m usually able to book at least one session which offsets the cost. I love this about the photography business!
If you’re looking at your budget and you just can’t seem to find anywhere to realistically cut costs to start saving for trips but really want to, think about finding a side-hustle. Something on the side that you can dedicate all the earnings from towards trips! This can be photography, joining an mlm, nannying; there are so many options. Rachel wrote about this in another blog post.
Once you save the money, you'll want as much vacation for your dollar as possible! I am the QUEEN of finding cheap flights! I am subscribed for 10 airlines promotional emails, which has helped me find some awesome deals. This is how we got flights from SLC to D.C round trip for $100/ea. But the best resource I’ve been using recently is Pomelo Travel. This is not a sponsored post by them, but it just is such a good service that I have to share. It is a free flight alert service. They send you super good deals so you don’t have to spend time searching. They also have a premium membership which is only $35/year (I think). I get about 3-4 emails a day from them, and every once in a while it’s the right place, the right time, and the right price for us! This is how we got our roundtrip tickets to Hawaii for $200 each!!! I also regularly check Skyscanner, which has scored us some awesome deals. Knowing these resources will help you score some great prices on flights.
We travel cheap so we can travel often. We usually find a family friend, or a friend of a friend that will let us stay with them so we can save costs on hotels. But if this isn’t possible, we love Airbnb. You can usually find a private room for $30/night or so, which is a good deal! (If you use this link, you’ll get $40 off your first trip!).
Food can be a huge cost while on vacation because eating out is not cheap! We would rather spend our money on experiences while traveling, so we hit a grocery store first thing when we get somewhere. We grab cereal, some stuff for sandwiches, and snacks. This saves us so much not having to eat out for every meal. We usually go really cheap on dinner, and will splurge one night on a fancier restaurant.
If you did the math, you probably figured out that we are gone at least twice a month. This can be difficult, especially when trips line up back-to-back (which happens a lot). You have to know your limit. We have figured out that our limit is 4 days. After 4 days we start to get homesick, and feel antsy about getting home. These short trips are usually for work. When we do bigger vacations for fun, we go for a week, but that’s the only trip we do in the month.
Knowing your limit lets you still have fun when you’re traveling, instead of feeling grumpy towards the end. We are both in school right now, which makes it even harder to be gone! Matthew and I do the majority of our classes online, and we do all the coursework in the airports or before we leave. For in-person classes, we ask our classmates to fill us in on what we missed. We have our schedules set up so we are only in classes two days a week and we have Friday through Monday off of class, which also makes it easy!
I’m my own boss, and I typically work on our trips so that’s not a problem. Matthew has a really flexible job where he sets his own hours, so we really lucked out there! We don’t have to worry about getting time off work. When it comes to housework, we just stay on top of it every day so we never have huge loads of laundry we have to do to pack. When we get home, we throw everything into the washing machine right away and don’t let it sit! I also make sure to clean the house super well before we leave, because I love coming home to a clean house!
As you can see we put a huge priority on traveling, and as such we’ve built a lifestyle that allows us to do what we love! But I will say this: I think it’s really popular right now to “love traveling”. It’s glorified, and it’s almost become the definition of success. This is not always the case. You need to build your life around what you value. It’s okay to not travel; traveling does not define your success. But if it’s what you love and what makes you feel alive, then GO FOR IT!
It was so fun to try to nail down all my thoughts. I have so many tips and tricks and opinions about it all! Thanks for having me on! XOXO