I’m sitting here on a plane returning from my last trip of 2019 thinking what an awesome year it has been (and was so impacted – I had to share so I typed most of this post out on my phone.)
As 2019 comes to a close, I’m reflecting on how my family’s traveling life has changed because of a simple little lesson I learned over 7 years ago. Although it had NOTHING to do with travel, it had EVERYTHING to do with how my family travels (and how many of our subscribers now travel) for about $.10 to $.20 on the dollar.
When I was going through difficult financial times in 2012, one of the best things I did for my mental-health was to take up new affordable hobbies.
One of those hobbies was photography. I had a decent eye for composition, but I really struggled with things like my kids’ basketball games, band performances, or just about anything in low-light situations (and relying on a flash almost always seemed to make it worse.)
It wasn’t until I took a few classes that I learned how much I DIDN’T know about how to take a good shot in less-than-optimal lighting conditions.
One of the most revolutionary things I learned was a concept called the “Triangle of light.” (And man – did learning about it ever make a difference with my photos.
Once I learned those 3 basic rules – I had all the knowledge I needed to get the best shot possible – no matter what lighting conditions I was working with.
Blurry action-shots at your kid’s indoor basketball game? Crank up your ISO, open up your aperture, & your action shots will be crisp & clear.
Want a clear picture of a still object at night? Slow down your shutter speed & take the shot on a tripod.
Don’t have time for a tripod because it’s nighttime and you’re hoping to catch a shot of a celebrity walking into a donut shop to sell to The Enquirer? No problem. Crank your ISO as high as it will go, and you’ll get the shot without even needing a flash.
In fact – I’d be willing to bet that if you ask ANY photographer when they learned about the concepts of “the triangle of light” – they could tell you the exact time and place they learned about it.
Want to know something funny?
I applied a similar philosophy to my travels, and despite being broke – I traveled more than ever before.
I call it “The Triangle of Travel” and when you implement all 3 rules – there isn’t a single travel problem you can’t solve. (And you’ll be able to do so for pennies on the dollar – every. single. time.)
A word of warning though: It’s best to forget EVERYTHING you know about travel if you want these seemingly simple concepts to work.
Seriously – try to apply the 3 tips below to the way you’ve always traveled and you may as well quit reading now.
But ignore your old travel habits and give the triangle of travel a try???
There isn’t anything you can’t do.
- So broke you can “never” travel? The triangle of travel will help you more than people who travel 6 or 8 times a year.
- Last minute flights? No problem.
- All-inclusive resorts for less than what you’d expect to pay for a Motel 6? Done.
- Take a whole family on a trip for less than what the solo traveler cramped up in the middle seat behind you paid? Piece. Of. Cake.
Ready for the 3 magic elements of “The Triangle of Travel?”
Ok – but don’t forget… You MUST forget everything about how you’ve always traveled.
Let’s break them down:
This probably sounds simple, but it is the biggest thing most people miss (and is the biggest reason your old habits are getting in the way of bigger/better/more travel.)
You see – most people decide to take a trip, and then spend hours on end (for days at a time) looking for a good deal. What they don’t realize is that half a dozen AMAZING deals came-and-went in the weeks/months before they started looking.
Look every day whether planning a trip or not and you’ll be AMAZED at the number of options you’ll find (many that fit quite nicely with the plans you have for a vacation that is months down the road).
Note that I mentioned that many of the trips you find ”fit quite nicely” with your vacation plans and not ”fit perfectly.”
Want an ok deal that allows you to take a nice vacation every year or two? Great. There are plenty of mediocre deals out there that fit PERFECTLY with your Friday to Sunday nine-day vacation.
Want a deal so good – you can take two to five vacations for what everyone else is paying for just one trip? Plan on being a little bit flexible.
Don’t worry though – it’s not as hard as you think, and the amount you save will almost always be exponentially more than the changes you might have to make to your schedule.
*Sometimes that might mean a Thursday to Thursday vacation.
*Other times it might mean going to Costa Rica instead of Cabo.
But either way – a little bit of flexibility goes a LOOOONNNG way when it comes to stretching your travel budget to unfathomable lengths.
Combine rules 1 & 2 by looking for good deals and planning vacations around the good deals you find? You’ll be amazed at how much less your vacations will start costing. (Or how much more you can spend on stuff that matters – like seat upgrades, room upgrades, or activities/excursions.)
3) Have a backup plan
The best part about rule number 3 is that the more you implement rules number 1 and 2 – the less you need rule number 3.
But when you need it? Trust me – you’ll be REEEAAALLLLY glad you have it in place.
The idea is to have at least 50,000 frequent flyer points readily available for when rules 1 & 2 don’t work for you.
After all – Murphy’s Law says that when you
1) don’t have time to plan ahead and
2) don’t have the ability to be flexible…
Other than occasionally getting lucky – paying cash is going to be EXPENSIVE.
Why rely on luck when you can put a backup plan in place that will be there to rescue you whenever you need it?
When you have a backup stash of points available – that family emergency that you need to fly 4 of you out for and can’t find flights for less than $750 each – goes from “unexpected $3000 travel nightmare” to “This was so cheap – let’s fly aunt Sallie out too!”
Want to travel more in 2020? Put the concepts of “the triangle of travel” a try. You can implement all 3 tips yourself for free and I guarantee if you do them:
You’ll spend less time hunting down deals…
You’ll travel more comfortably…
All for a budget so low – you’ll wonder what took you so long to start traveling more.
Here’s to an adventurous travel-filled 2020!
PS – If you’re a premium subscriber – you can find help with rules #1 & #3 in the trip-alerts you receive every day. (Rule #2 is up to you. 😉
Not a premium subscriber? Give JustGetOutOfTown.com/upgrade a try risk-free for 30 days.
We eat, sleep, and breath “The Triangle of Travel” and are certain once you give it a try – you’ll never go back.