So you would love to travel but you can’t afford it. Guess what – you are not alone! Most of us have been there… The good news is that you don’t have to be rich to travel. There are a few simple but effective strategies that can make your travel dreams a reality. The key is to prioritise and be consistent.
When You Have a Job
The advantage of a regular income is that it is easier to save money. It is crucial to put some money aside straight after you get paid. Don’t wait till the end of the month to see if there is anything left because it will never happen. There will always be other expenses, you will keep postponing your dream and you will lose focus and motivation.
It is a good idea to keep the travel funds apart, otherwise you might spend them on something else. Open a separate savings account and get the saving process automated. Arrange a direct debit, which means that your bank will transfer the particular amount of money to your savings account every month.
When Your Income Is Not Regular
If you are a freelancer or have your own business, it might be harder to save money because your earnings are probably irregular. Try to put a small part of your income aside as soon as you receive it. You can start with as little as one percent of your income and see how it goes. When you see the money accumulating and your travel dream becoming more realistic, you will feel more motivated.
In comparison with people who have jobs that pay regularly, you might be more flexible timewise. If possible, try to avoid travelling during the busiest times (holidays, weekends, events, etc.) and travel will cost you less.
Every Little Bit Helps
Just think about it – if you manage to put aside just 10 euro/dollars each month, this will become 120 euro/dollars at the end of the year. You could have a nice weekend break for this amount of money. You might just stay in your country and drive, or travel by train or bus. If you manage to get cheap flights to an inexpensive place, you might even be able to travel abroad. We recommend checking Airbnb for local accommodation ideas. You can get the free credit of 35 EUR (39 USD) for your first booking here.
Related Post: Airbnb for First-Timers
If you could put aside 50 euro/dollars per month, you will have 600 euro/dollars at the end of the year. This should be enough for a nice one-week holiday. If you manage to save 100 euro/dollars each month, you will end up with 1,200 euro/dollars, which will give you even more options.
Manage Your Expenses
If you think that you can’t spare any money at all, analyse your expenses to see if you could cut back on some of them. You can save 10 euro/dollars just by skipping a few coffees at a coffee shop or a lunch at a restaurant… Are you still sure that you can’t do this?
The following tips should help you to lower your expenses. Many of them worked for us:
- Prepare your meals at home (check some recipes online to learn how to cook quickly, cheaply and healthily)
- Use shopping lists when buying groceries, try the cheaper brands of your favourite products
- Don’t shop for food when you are hungry (you will buy much more than you need)
- Create a weekly or monthly budget and plan how much you want to spend on groceries, hobbies, going out, etc.
- Get loyalty cards at your supermarket, petrol station, etc. for various rewards and discounts
- Check if you could lower your regular bills for car insurance, TV, internet, phone, bank fees, etc. (sometimes all you need to do is to give the provider a call and ask them)
- Sign up for a credit card that offers free airline miles or other incentives (available especially in the USA, UK and Canada)
- Pay your credit cards on time to avoid paying interest
- Pay off any debts before they accumulate and become harder to manage
- If you drive to work, find out if you could share the ride with somebody
- Get a job closer to your home to reduce the time and money spent on commuting
- Optimise your taxes
- Move into a cheaper house or apartment
- Refinance your mortgage
- Consider if you really need a car
- Drink less alcohol
- Stop smoking or smoke less
Increase Your Income
There are many ways to increase your income depending on how much time you can spare and what skills you have.
Think about it and get creative. The following ideas might inspire you:
- Rent out your house, apartment, room or bed on Airbnb
- Offer your parking space for rent
- Sell the stuff you don’t need
- Teach your native language or help students with any other subject you are good at
- Start an online or local business
- Offer your skills or services (for example, on Craiglist, Upwork, etc.)
- Ask for a pay raise or find another job with higher salary
Travel doesn’t have to be expensive. There is so much free stuff everywhere – from free local accommodation on Couchsurfing to free tours in many cities worldwide. Do research online to see what is on offer in the destination you would like to travel to. We cover travelling on the cheap in separate blog posts because this is such a broad topic.
Related Post: The Secret to Finding Cheap Flights
Your job can help you travel too. People working in the travel industry (in airlines, travel agencies, hotels, etc.) can usually avail of special deals on flights and hotels. If you are really flexible, you can also consider working abroad (teaching languages, working on a cruise or a farm, as a tour guide, instructor, babysitter, etc.)
Make Your Dream Concrete
It helps if you can visualise your dream holiday and make it concrete. Think about where you want to go, when and how much it will cost you. Telling your friends and family will make you more accountable. Put the picture of your dream place on the fridge, as a screensaver on your computer, etc., so it reminds you of your goal every day.
Related Post: 11 Ways Travel Will Make Your Life Better
They say that where there is a will, there is a way and we couldn’t agree more. If you really want to travel, you will make it a priority and you will find a way. It might take a while but that is OK. You will get there, but only if you take action.
Is there any other tip you would like to add? We would love to hear your thoughts!