This post isn’t exactly taboo or spicy but I think it absolutely falls into the category of “what your mother doesn’t tell you..” I’m going to be revealing some common misconceptions about the cost of travel that might leave your mother in hysterics. You’ve got to make some serious sacrifices, including but not limited to wearing your underwear inside out, having loads of credit cards and working for minimum wage with a college degree. Horrible, I know. So to all you mothers of angel babies, it is time to let them go. They are travelers and traveling they will do.
To start, let’s briefly describe the type of traveling I am talking about. I’m not here to give you advice on how to afford posh vacations with room service and pool boys- I know nothing about being able to afford that (if you do, PLEASE fill us in!). I’m here to tell you how to see and experience the world no matter what it takes. It’s rarely comfortable and always chaotic but it’s REAL and that’s all that matters. So hold on to your knickers, I am about to rock your world with a few secrets.
>>>Anyone can afford to travel. SERIOUSLY.<<<
If you are passionate enough about seeing the world, you will do it. The only thing you need to do is make it a priority. If you want it bad enough you can absolutely make it happen. Here’s some things to consider that I have implemented in my own life.
- Create a savings account where you put all your extra money. This is for your trip, don’t you dare buy that new iPhone with it!! Any money not going towards necessities like rent and food immediately get deposited into this account.
- Research until you get carpal tunnel. You will want to scour every resource you know to find the cheapest flights, accommodations and so forth.
- Don’t be too picky. While I believe that you can travel almost anywhere for dirt cheap, if you are barely making ends meet you need to be a bit more lenient. Go somewhere like South East Asia or Central America to get the best bang for your buck.
- Make a physical list of your priorities- this will keep things in perspective. I understand that not everyone can make travel their number one priority, heck they might have a family or a career they love, but the important part is that you know where travel falls in all of this. For me, travel is pretty much at the top of my list so all my energy and finances go into it. If this is not the case for you, you will want to assess how much you are willing to sacrifice in relation to your other priorities.
>>>Traveling can be REALLY cheap.<<<
I’m assuming most of you reading this live in the United States (or a comparable country). Guess what, you live in one of the most expensive places on this earth! If you are lucky enough to not be homeless, you can without a doubt afford to travel. There are numerous countries where you can get by spending less than $500 a month (rent, food.. everything!)- that’s less than most people spend on rent alone in the U.S.. It’s about putting things into perspective, because you truly might end up saving money by traveling.
Here’s a few ways to keep your travel expenses LOW:
- Travel during the off-season. Airfare is cheaper, accommodation is cheaper, activities are cheaper… you get the point!
- Get creative. This is where the inside-out underwear comes into play. You don’t need to waste your money on laundry every week!
- Be open to new experiences. This includes home stays, couch surfing, group travel etc… You need to be totally receptive to any opportunities to save a few bucks. Ever considered splitting a meal with a stranger?!
>>>There are endless ways to save money for travel.<<<
I have a page dedicated to money saving tips, but let me reiterete a few important ones here.
- Choose your travel time wisely. Try your darn-dest to leave the country when you don’t have monthly expenses to pay back home. For me, this meant waiting until my lease was up to hop on a plane. Or you can find someone to sublet your room. If you have a house that you make monthly payments on, try a website like Air BnB where you can rent out your home while you are gone.
- Get a travel rewards credit line. If you are spending money, why not get rewarded for it? Find a card with low interests rates and sign-on promotions. Airline credit cards are a great way for earning miles as well and often times give you a sh*#t ton of miles for signing up.
- If you aren’t lucky enough to have a salary, get a job where you earn tips. Deposit ALL your tip money into your savings account. It is crazy how quickly a few hundred bucks a month will add up!
- Sell stuff. Ebay and Craigslist are great for this.
So there ya have it! Next time you think you can’t afford to explore the world, rethink your priorities and pour your passion into your dreams. There is NOTHING in your way.