4 Budget-Friendly Ways to Stay Connected in a Long-Distance Relationship

long-distance relationship

When I started my long-distance relationship more than two years ago, I had no idea what I was getting myself into financially.

My boyfriend lived in Puerto Rico, and I lived in Massachusetts. We quickly had to get creative if we wanted to have a happy relationship without sad wallets.

Wishing you and your significant other had someone to turn to for advice on how to keep your long-distance relationship from becoming a financial burden?

Here are four ways to have a long-distance relationship on a budget.

1. Earn Frequent Flyer Miles

Believe it or not, you don’t have to get a travel credit card to earn mileage points. We didn’t!

In fact, there are several other ways to earn miles without ever signing up for credit cards.

My personal favorite is taking surveys through sites like PointsforSurveys, E-Miles, and E-Rewards.

It’s a little time consuming — you’ll have to periodically check for new surveys, and it’ll take some time to raise enough for a ticket — but it’s free! Can’t beat that.

I also like earning miles through online shopping.

Several airlines have online shopping portals, like Southwest’s Rapid Rewards Shopping. You earn miles for each dollar you spend at major stores.

Warning: Don’t do what I did: Go shopping just to get miles. The point is to save money, right?

But, if you have to go shopping anyway, you might as well get miles for it!

2. Try Travel Hacking

All sorts of tricks can help you save money on travel. You just have to be diligent.

Use websites like FareCompare, CheapFlights and CheapOair to compare flight prices.

They also give you the option to sign up for exclusive deals. It’s worth doing! I once found a one-way ticket for $43.

Another good trick is to fly when it’s not high season. Sure, being together for the holidays is nice, but it can also be expensive.

We decided we’d rather see each other more frequently at less traditional times, than see each other less often and only for the holidays.

Also, when in doubt, turn to other travel hackers for more tips.

3. Vary Your Travel Methods

Unfortunately, with an ocean between us, my boyfriend and I could only fly to each other.

However, if there’s a way to get to each other by land, I suggest using the variety of transportation options at your disposal — cars, buses and trains. You might need to invest more travel time, but it’s worth it.

If you like to drive, GasBuddy can help you budget your gas. Even if you don’t own a car, there are low-cost ways to rent a car, too.

If you don’t mind a long drive — but don’t want to be at the wheel — take a bus or train.

For the bus, I like Greyhound’s deals, but there are other options, like Boltbus and Megabus. For the train, I’ve had good experiences with Amtrak.

Look around for what works best with the your locations. Do your research. It’ll pay off — I promise.

4. Use Technology to Your Advantage

Finally, for the times you can’t be together physically, there are free ways to communicate long distances.

I found texting, playing games and video chatting were the best ways to feel close when we were apart – and we didn’t spend a dime doing it!

Several free apps and websites can help you stay close.

WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are my favorites for chatting.

I also like Couple and Avocado. These are specifically for couples and allow you to do more than just text, like draw and schedule events.

We also enjoyed multiplayer games, like Word Streak with Friends.

For video chatting, Google Hangouts will always be my favorite. You can watch videos, play games, draw, etc., right on the computer.

You can even video chat with multiple people in the same conversation, which comes in handy when you want a change of pace or to connect with several other friends.

The app doesn’t offer as many features. However, you can save on cell phone plan minutes by using the app with WiFi to make long phone calls.

With so many options available, there’s no reason to spend money on Skype credits or large texting plans.

Trust me, it’s best to save as much as you can when you’re apart — so you do all the spending together!

Your Turn: How do you and your long-distance partner save money with your relationship?

Selys Rivera is a writer who loves to travel. She has written for several blogs, such as “So What? I’m a Christian Teen,” “Florida Citrus Hall of Fame” and “Ridged Valley Reflections,” and is planning on starting a new one.