“I can’t wait to go on my first trip. I just don’t know how I could afford it. I can barely afford anything. It must be nice to travel”
My friends often seem to think that traveling has to cost a fortune. They think that they can’t afford to travel.
Here’s a secret: you can afford to travel even if you’re not rich. I want to show you how you can save up for adventures so that you can finally start exploring instead of being the person who never gets to go anywhere…
“How come you’re always traveling? It must be nice to be rich.”
People often leave me passive aggressive comments about how I get to travel so much. I’ve been accused of winning the lottery or coming from a rich family. Neither of these scenarios are even remotely accurate.
How do I get to travel so much? How do I afford it?
It’s annoying how simple it is.
I’ve made travel a priority over the last decade.
Show me where you spend your money and I’ll see your priorities. Most of us want to talk about travel but we’re not willing to do anything to make it happen.
I’m going to get into the math and making the numbers add up. I’m going to show you the secrets behind a life of travel.
Do you have to be rich to be able to travel?
Here are a few things to keep in mind about traveling:
- You don’t have to spend a fortune on traveling the world.
- You don’t have to stay in fancy resorts to travel. I’ve stayed in some luxurious places and I’ve stayed in some dumps.
- You don’t have to go away for months at a time. I’m alright with extended weekend escapes.
- You don’t need all of the money upfront for that trip. You can save up over time. You can start saving today for next year’s excursion.
- You can use travel as an excuse to work abroad for a period of time. You don’t have to go party around the world. You can find work and try out a new culture for a period of time.
It’s time to share one of my favorite quotes from a travel book that changed my perspective.
“Money, of course, is still needed to survive, but time is what you need to live. So, save what little money you possess to meet basic survival requirements, but spend your time lavishly in order to create the life values that make the fire worth the candle. Dig?” — Rolf Potts (author of Vagabonding)
You can’t afford to travel… right now!
If you’re feeling broke, then in your current state you definitely can’t afford to travel. You can’t afford much. You don’t know where your money’s going. You’re not even sure what a trip would cost. You’re not sure where the money would come from.
Right now you’re likely not in the position to be treating yourself to adventures. That’s okay because you can start working on changing your situation right now.
The key is to take action today so that you’re not complaining about the same stuff in a month or year from now.
It’s time to take control of your finances.
I wrote about the 8AM Class Principle. You can read that to see how I started saving for trips.
I used to sit around in class daydreaming about how I could turn my limited paychecks as a college student into trips. Each pay day wasn’t even enough for a trip. Luckily, I discovered that putting aside a bit of money every time I got paid would add up real fast (well fast for me at the time).
I would see how much money I would need to take off my pay every week to go on Spring Break once a year.
When I added up the numbers, I would start to look for ways to increase my income so that I could make my savings account grow faster. I would look for jobs around campus to see if I could pick up some extra shifts. I even ended up working as one of those exam monitors (another story for another day).
Here’s a fun fact: I never missed a Spring Break in college. I haven’t missed a winter trip since I was 18.
You need to have a rough snapshot of what’s happening in your life with YOUR money.
The steps to saving money for something are this simple:
- Think about what you want money for.
- Figure out how much you need for this purchase.
- Find out what you’re bringing in.
- Look at what you’re spending.
- Calculate how long it’s going to take you to afford what you want.
- Try to make more money.
I figured out that if I put aside $20/week, I would have $1,040 at the end of the year.
This is roughly enough for a Spring Break trip. I would often search up all-inclusive prices because I wanted to keep the saving process simple.
$20 isn’t that much money and going on one annual trip was better than no trips. Obviously the price of my trips has gone up as I’ve gotten older.
You can use this concept to plan for any trip. Try to get the final cost and see how much you would have to save every week to make this happen. When you have time on your side, you don’t have to be as aggressive with the savings. When time is limited, you have to amp up the savings.
What I want you to do right now is to create a “vacation fund” sub account with your banking account.
How do you add money towards your adventure fund?
Now that you have this adventure fund, what do you do with it?
You make it grow. You find ways to add to it. You do whatever it takes to cut out the stuff that you don’t care for to have more money for what you really want to do.
[Must read: how to add $1,000 to your savings account next month.]
How do you make this account grow?
- Put money aside every week. Put a few bucks aside first. Don’t wait to see what’s left because there won’t be anything left.
- Sell extra crap. Can you sell anything for some cash? Can you find ways to cash in on your possessions?
- Pick up extra shifts or freelancing gigs. I think in terms of more money for travel. I don’t mind picking up an extra freelance writing gig or a shift (when I worked) because I know that it’s all going towards my adventure fund.
- You say no to things that you don’t care for. I used to turn down random events and then put the money into my adventure fund because I wanted to travel more than I wanted to do anything else.
What are my real secrets behind my frequent trips?
I’m not rich by any means. I also don’t spend a fortune on my trips.
Here are a few secrets behind my trips:
- You have to be willing to sacrifice sometimes. Can you stay in more often to save some money? Can you work extra hours? I find ways to cut back to have more money for travel.
- You can travel more if you find ways to save on accommodations. I’ve visited friends around the world to save money on the accommodations. I was able to stay in Bermuda with a friend who had moved there.
- Use your credit cards to your advantage. I’m not the biggest travel hacker, but I try to use my credit card for everything. I have one card for points and one card with cashback rewards. I use the points/cashback for more travel.
- Use long weekends to get away. Can you turn a long weekend into a quick escape? I don’t mind going away for 4 days.
- Find a way to make money off the web. I’m able to make money from this blog, so I can travel for longer periods of time because I have money coming in. You can start your own blog too.
This goes with the exclusive techniques on Studenomics:
- The Cancun Technique For Saving Money. Find a bold goal that’s going to force you to save up (buy a condo, quit a job, or retire early).
- The Houdini System for saving money in the long run. Hide your money so that you don’t have access to it.
- The YOLO System. This is how I blow money without feeling guilty about it.
I try to go on one big trip every year with a few smaller trips. I’m okay with going away for a weekend. I’m perfectly fine with staying in on the weekends before a trip to get ahead on my writing, to save a few bucks, and to work on projects that will bring in money one day.
The end goal is to find a way to have more money for whatever you want.
Your end result should be more money in the bank so that you can enjoy what you want to do. Some people cut back on their expenses to get there. Some people focus on making more money.
That’s the simple math behind living a life of travel. Look at where your money’s going to see what your priorities are. You may say that you want to travel, but your spending will tell a different story.
Here’s my best content on traveling:
- Here’s exactly how you can afford to travel.
- Six ways that you can travel before it’s too late.
- Is traveling the world a realistic goal or a fantasy?
Start off by putting aside $50 this week for your next trip. Add more to this fund as time goes by. Make it a priority to fund this account. Then go on your next adventure.