Harry here. I’ve always been a fan of traveling and although it can be expensive, there are plenty of strategies and even tools that can help you go further for less. Today, senior RSG contributor Christian Perea shares everything he’s learned over the years about taking a break from driving.
Spending too much time doing anything will burn you out over time, driving included. And as much as driving is flexible, it can be monotonous and, for many of us, it’s still a job. So it’s important to take some time off for yourself every once in a while!
Full-time drivers have it tough because they have to cover the cost of their own vacation while also missing out on getting any income for the time they take off. Uber and Lyft aren’t going to give any of us paid vacation days anytime soon (or ever). So we have to either work every week for the rest of our lives or plan ahead to take time off for ourselves. It’s all part of being 1099’d and operating as a micro-business. We gotta handle it all ourselves.
That doesn’t mean we can’t get away. We just have to plan ahead and be diligent. Here are some ways you can save, earn more, or simply spend wisely so you can take some time off.
Make A Budget, Then Save Every Week
This is the most obvious advice, but I think it is actually among the least used. It requires the most discipline over a long period of time. Even if you drive for extra income on top of your normal job, it is tempting to touch any money you set aside over time.
If you are driving from paycheck to paycheck, it can be even harder since there will be a lot of temptation to reach into that money when an emergency expense occurs. This is why saving in general is a good idea.
If you want to take time off each year, it’s important to set goals and meet them. You will want to first figure out how much a vacation is going to cost you.
Typical Vacation Costs
- Flight Costs
- Food and Fun
- + whatever you wanna do while you are there
Plus, Your Usual Costs
- What bills will be due in the time-frame you take off?
- Do you need someone to watch your pets or children?
- Add these up and now you know how much you need to set aside.
Track Your Expenses in QuickBooks Self-Employed
2 years ago I started actually tracking my rideshare expenses penny-for-penny with QuickBooks Self-Employed. I was able to find that I was actually
spending wasting a lot of my money by eating on the road or by getting energy drinks at various 7-11’s.
Each of these transactions was only a few dollars at the time, but by the end of the month they added up to more than $400 A MONTH. Driving without tracking your expenses and miles is akin to riding a bike with a paper bag over your head down a crowded highway, so you should really get your act together if you aren’t doing this yet.
This may seem hard when times are tough. You will want to touch that money. It may help to setup an automatic transfer each week of $25 – $50 for the day after you get paid. Most banks allow you to set this up online in a few minutes. The tough part with this simple strategy is that it takes some self-discipline to do this and not touch the money. Below are some other ways you can save towards a vacation and meet the goal you set above.
Put Your Rideshare Expenses on A Travel Card
You are going to spend money on gas, food, and all of that other fun stuff when you drive. Consider putting them on a rewards based credit card to earn some extra cash or points along the way. Just make sure to pay the balance off each month to avoid paying interest.
We reached out to travel and credit card expert Daraius Dubash over at MillionMileSecrets.com for some input on where to start, and he provided us with some excellent advice. All of the links lead to articles on how to get started and build things out, so your points are the most flexible across hotels and airlines:
For folks new to earning free flights and hotel stays, my favorite cards are those that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Because the points are easy to use for free flights and outstanding hotels. And they’re easy to earn!1. I’d start with either the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink Business Preferred. Because you drive for profit, you’re eligible for either card! With either card, you’ll earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points.2. You can easily transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to a hotel chain like Hyatt for amazing deals. With the sign-up bonus from those cards, you’ll have enough points to stay 2 or 3 nights for free at the fantastic all-inclusive Hyatt Zilara in Cancun. This hotel on the beautiful beach normally costs ~$500 to $750 depending on the season.3. For free or cheap flights, the simplest thing to do is to search the Chase travel portal. Your points will be worth 1.25 cents each. So you’re basically getting a 20% discount on the paid price. And the prices are the same as other airline sites. This is a great option for folks who don’t want to fuss with blackout dates.4. Do NOT sign-up for credit cards if you’re not sure you can pay the bills on-time and in full each month. You don’t want to negate your travel rewards with late fees and interest!
Another benefit of putting all of your expenses on a rewards credit card is that it centralizes all of your spending on a separate payment method. This actually helps to make it easier to track your rideshare expenses since you won’t be commingling your expenses with your personal checking account. If you only place your Uber and Lyft expenses on that card, you will also know how much you are spending each month to drive in general.
Rent Out Your House on Airbnb While You Are Gone
If you are going to travel, then you will have an open room for that time. So it could make sense to rent your place out on Airbnb if you can. I would advise maybe doing a “test-run” before you travel to make sure you have the process down, but in many cases you can use this to subsidize or flat-out cover your hotel expenses while you travel. You may even end up using your Airbnb earnings to cover the cost of the Airbnb you rent yourself 😉
If you have never signed up, you can do so with our link for new users here.
You Can Also Rent Out Your Car
I’m not sure I would want to rent out my rideshare vehicle because if it is my primary asset for my job, I don’t want to deal with the stress of having someone else driving it. I’m also a little weird about letting other people drive my car. Regardless, some of you may be up for it so I am going to mention it.
With most options to rent out your car, you can can generate $30 – $60/day depending on your car and where you live. Both Turo and HyreCar allow you to place mileage restrictions on your car and they are actually a decent option if you decide to give up driving for Uber/Lyft altogether.
HyreCar: HyreCar is a marketplace for rideshare drivers. You can rent out your car to another rideshare driver for a day, week, or even longer. They then in turn will drive your car for the day to earn money. The good part about this is that whoever rents your car will need to not crash or bang it up in order to make their money. You can also rent a rideshare vehicle from them anytime your car is in the shop.
Turo: Turo is a company that allows private owners to rent out their cars to anybody who needs a car for a day or even a few hours. A lot of the people who rent out a car for these reasons only need it to skirt around town while on business or vacation. So most renters won’t go racking up a ton of miles on your car. There is a mileage limit for each day that the renter can drive to avoid them taking your car to Mexico though.
GetAround: GetAround is similar to Turo and is one of their competitors.
Use Flexibility to Travel on The Cheap
One of the benefits to driving is that we don’t have to ask anybody for time off. As long as we have the resources to travel, we can do it whenever we want. So if you make the best of things, then you can find yourself taking more time off or traveling to places you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to visit if you had a 9-5 job. Take advantage of that while you can.
You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to travel. You can swap houses with those who want to visit your area. You can focus on visiting old friends and family in other parts of the country or world who would love your company. You can even wait for the right time to “snipe” a good plane ticket to where you want to go. The point is, we have a lot flexibility in choosing when to travel. We can snag the best plane tickets during slow season for tourists.
Get Out of Here!
If you combine a few of the things I’ve listed above, you should be able to put some good money aside for taking time off. Make a plan and stick to it. Find ways to get the best deals by being patient and targeting off-peak vacation times, then rent out your room or hoard some credit card points in the process. Once you get a system down, then maybe you can go to all of those places you’ve always told your passengers you would like to travel to 🙂
Readers, do you have any travel or vacation plans this year or next? How are you financing your travel or vacation plans?
-Christian @ RSG
Make Every Mile CountAverage customers log $7,393 in potential mileage deductions each year using automatic mileage tracking within the QuickBooks Self-Employed app. Sign-up here.
Latest posts by Christian Perea (see all)
- How Technology Like Navdy Aims To Make Driving Easier (and Safer) - January 23, 2017
- The Hidden Costs of Rideshare Driving (Infographic) - January 11, 2017
- You Should Take A Break From Driving - December 28, 2016