How Can I Travel Without Feeling Guilty About How Much It Costs?

On this episode of the Money Confidential podcast, host Stefanie O’Connell Rodriguez turns to Angel Trinh, founder of Pennywise Traveler, for answers.

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Every Monday on the Money Confidential podcast, host Stefanie O'Connell Rodriguez, a nationally recognized money expert, delves into your (confidential) money problems and delivers smart, practical, and completely doable solutions that will help you work toward your ultimate financial goals. This is the place to come for real talk about money—and real solutions that actually work.

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On This Episode

You want to travel, but you're not sure if you can afford to—at least not without guilt or fear of jeopardizing your other financial goals. In this episode, host Stefanie O'Connell Rodriguez speaks with founder of Pennywise Traveler, Angel Trinh, about practical ways to save on travel. And how to build your travel spending into your financial plans alongside the rest of your money goals.

Meet Our Caller

"Sharon" is a 41-year-old listener from the suburbs of Washington, D.C., who, in early 2021, paid off the last of her debt from student loans, credit cards, and her car. But after years of working hard to become debt-free—while also correcting her overspending and bad money habits—she's struggling to give herself permission to spend money on things she wants, but doesn't necessarily need, like travel. Now that Sharon has gotten to a place of more financial stability, she's working to resist the guilt she associates with spending money just for fun.

Anonymous caller "Sharon"

"My guilt is: Should I be spending this money that I've worked so hard for?"

—Anonymous caller "Sharon"

Meet Host Stefanie O'Connell Rodriguez

Money confidential podcast - host, Stefanie O'Connell Rodriguez
Caroline White Photography

Stefanie is a nationally recognized personal finance expert ready to talk work, worth, and money with unapologetically ambitious women. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, and Oprah Magazine, and Stefanie has appeared on ABC World News, CBSN, Fox & Friends, Fox Business, Bloomberg, The Dr. Oz Show, The Doctors, and more to share her smart, practical solutions to any money problem.

Meet Our Expert, Angel Trinh

angel trinh headshot
Angel Trinh

Angel Trinh is the founder of Pennywise Traveler, where she shares her experiences traveling across all seven continents while making smart money moves. She teaches people how to maximize points to save money and travel on a budget. She has been featured on the Today Show, Forbes, CNBC, BuzzFeed x Bank of America, and for her work in money, travel, and technology.

Advice From the Episode

Angel Trinh

"What does [a credit card] offer for me based on the benefits and how can I use those benefits to help myself to make money and save money?"

—Angel Trinh
  • Before getting a travel credit card, or any new credit card, do a breakdown of your budget and spending habits each month. That way you can choose a card with rewards that are optimized to your lifestyle. Ask yourself, "Do I need a grocery credit card? Do I need a credit card that gets three times on gas—is that better for me? Because everyone's situation is so different." — Angel
  • "I would say if you're still in the stages where you can't manage your money very well, definitely stay away from credit cards because you're gonna get yourself in more debt. Because the travel credit cards, those have the highest APRs." — Angel
  • Once you figure out where you want to travel. Search that destination and the travel hacking options using credit cards or points, so that you can find identify the best money-saving methods for the specific place you plan to visit. — Angel

Stefanie O'Connell Rodriquez

"The key with credit card rewards is seeing if there's a card that will allow you to benefit from the spending you're already doing."

—Stefanie O'Connell Rodriquez
  • "Time has value, much like money. If you wait until you've paid off all of your debts or are making six figures or have saved a million dollars to start living your life in alignment with those values, the costs can be just as real, and arguably harder to recover from—because while you can make more money, you can't make more time." — Stefanie
  • "A credit card is more than the shiny points offer and the cash back or the rewards. At the end of the day, it's a financial product and if you don't pay that balance in full, the interest rate is no joke." — Stefanie

Links and Resources

Download the transcript from this episode.

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