53 Days – aka – Travel Budgeting

Courtyard of Casa Etnika, Mazatlan Mexico – Fantastic Spot for Coffee

My mum and I like to take a cruise together every year. She is located in San Diego, so when we can’t decide where to go, we take our “default” trip from San Diego to Mexico. She lived in Mexico for many years, and enjoys every opportunity to get back! I especially enjoy Mazatlan and we always stop at Casa Etnika to enjoy a coffee in their beautifully painted courtyard.

Sunset in the bay of Cabo San Lucas

My mum is retired and on a fixed income, so we have to be thrifty and strategic in our planning. When book a cruise that sails from San Diego, only one of us (me) has to fly, there’s a place to stay locally (mum’s house) and before and after the cruise we can eat affordably at her house. So we’ve taken this trip a few times before and are happy to go again!

It may seem a little boring to repeat a cruise, but honestly, no two cruises are ever alike. We’ve been on a different ship every time, so there’s new art to look at, new venues to explore. In addition, we always try to do a different things even when we are in familiar towns. So for the convenience and price, we’re going to do it again!

Planning and Saving

Because we know we are going to be doing a trip each year, my mum and I each sock a little bit away each month. I do an assortment of things to make sure that I have enough when the time comes to book a trip. Since I was a kid, I have collected change from my daily life in a cookie tin. As an adult, and can reliably raise about $300 a year living my current lifestyle. I just follow the rule that when I use cash, I never give exact change.

2018 Cruise through the Panama Canal on the Holland America Vollendam

Another way that I save money for trips is to keep a separated dedicated savings account for travel. I switched to using the Stash App so I auto-deposit into this savings account each month. There are many online banks to choose from, but if you want to check this one out, this is a referral code that will give me a tiny bonus should you decide that Stash is right for you.

Budget Shopping

There are so many travel bloggers and vloggers that share their essentials list from the dollar store, and here is mine. These 8 things are the items I really can’t live without from the Dollar Tree. Instead of one big and expensive shopping trip, I start picking up items on my packing list about three months out. I like a slightly larger tube of toothpaste, having a pump bottle for soap on cruises is just plain convenient. The other items are all self explainable. If I had purchased these at say, a Target (buying generics) this would run about $20.

A picture from an artist’s open house – fundraising for a trip to the UK in 2008


I also hold a yearly travel fund raiser. Each year, it’s a little different, but sometimes it’s a rummage sale. Other years, I’ve offered special jewelry or accessory designs in person or through my Etsy store. Although I’m a professional costume maker, I consider myself at the hobbiest level in the world of jewelry.

Holland America Vollendam docked in Key West, Dec. 2018

Wanna read more? Things in my “Cruise Cabin” bag: https://davinadevine.me/2018/11/20/cruise-cabin-essentials/

Going through the Panama Canal?https://davinadevine.me/2019/01/21/panama-canal-passage-2018/

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