Most people feel like money is a secret and what you make and what you spend is very personal. I disagree and think the more we openly talk about any issue and idea, the more we can all learn and grow together to make better decisions.
One common question I’m always asked is “how do I afford to travel to so many wonderful places?”
Short answer: I make it a priority and save my money.
Longer answer: I budget – and budgeting is surprisingly easy if you have discipline and a goal to work towards.
1. I don’t have a mortgage.
2. My car is 20 years old and I only allow myself to fuel up once a month.
3. I coupon.
4. I only buy groceries and clothing on sale. In fact, I try to buy everything I need on sale.
5. I don’t eat out at restaurants (*this is the number one leisure expense most people have*). I invite friends over for meals or have picnics in parks, weather permitting, to cut the cost on eating out.
6. I travel to cheap destinations. I haven’t been to Europe because I can’t afford it yet on a long term travel plan.
7. I travel long term: it’s much cheaper to travel for extended periods of time than to travel for a week.
8. When I started traveling, I had a seasonal job that gave me winters off.
9. I don’t have kids. Or a husband. Not that you can’t have both and still travel (I even recommend it), but being single and independent makes it much easier leave at a moment’s notice.
10. I spend hours searching for a flight and don’t mind taking the longest route to get somewhere, as long as it saves money.
11. I travel like a local. No tourist shuttles for me – I ride the chicken buses, taxi-brousses and microbuses. It’s cheaper and of course much more adventurous.
12. I stay in hostels which are considerably cheaper than hotels. Hostels also have private and family rooms too, not just dormitories.
13. I cook my own food on the road unless there is street food to eat. Then I eat like a local (and it tastes so good).
14. I don’t drink coffee but if I did, I would make it myself instead of going out to Starbucks or Tim Hortons.
15. I very rarely attend concerts, festivals, or big events at home where tickets can be very expensive. They’re also not really my thing so I don’t mind missing out on them.
16. I track every penny I spend so I know exactly where my money is being spent and how fast it’s being spent.
17. I don’t spend money in bars on liquor except when I’m traveling and a beer only costs $1.
18. I sell items I no longer use on Kijiji to earn extra cash.
19. I don’t spend money on little things. A dollar or two can add up quickly so I’m careful of small purchases that eventually add up to big dollars.
20. Most importantly – I make travel a priority. I actively choose to travel and do everything in my power to make it happen.
There are many ways I afford to travel and these are just a few. I also realize how I save money might not work the exact same for you so it’s important to find what fits your lifestyle to save some extra cash.
I don’t admit it’s always easy – it can be really hard to budget sometimes when there’s something you’d like to purchase, but it’s worth it to go zip lining in Costa Rica or skydiving in New Zealand instead of going out to eat four times. It’s also satisfying knowing how hard you worked at saving money when you finally do spend it on amazing travel experiences.
How do you afford to travel? What are some of your budgeting tips? Let me know in the comments below!