Travel is never a matter of money but a matter of courage.
– Paulo Coelho
Many people often make excuses out of fear for why they are unable to do something. We tell ourselves that we can’t achieve a goal based on some unrealistic notion that we are incapable. Maybe its fear that you will fail at something you’ve never tried before, or feelings of guilt about how your spending your hard-earned cash. Society tells us that we should live our lives a certain way, that we should listen to our parents, go to University, get a successful career, buy a house and have a family. If we stray away from that clear, pre-determined path, we can often feel like we are letting someone down. Maybe you want to travel before establishing yourself in your career, or maybe you don’t want to buy a house and instead move around. Whether its fear, laziness, lack of determination or guilt, many of us will always have an excuse as to why we are unable to do something, even if its something that you may be genuinely interested in doing.
Some use money as an excuse for being unable to travel. Travel can be expensive and it can often take a lot of time, planning, creativity and energy. That being said, there is nothing that can measure up to the experience of traveling across the world and exploring something totally different. I assure you that the money you spend on creating those experiences will be the best money you’ve ever spent. Much better than buying materialistic things that have no real sentimental value. I understand that not everyone can sell all of their belongings, leave their careers, their families and their pets in order to travel the world indefinitely, at least I know I would have a difficult time doing so. For those people, the desire to take trips here and there, while still maintaining a lifestyle at home is appealing. Whether your planning for long term travel, or a shorter 2-week adventure, the principles of saving for travel will be the same and with a little planning and creativity, there are many ways to make travel a priority.
So now that you’ve decided you want to travel, where the heck do you start? Well for starters you’ll need money. Not only to sustain yourself while traveling but to pay for any costs or debts you may need to cover at home while your away. These costs can add up quite quickly, so I suggest writing everything down so that you don’t miss anything. The last thing you want is to find yourself half-way across the world and realize that your vehicle insurance is up for renewal. Once you’ve figured out your expenses that you’ll need to cover at home, do a bit of research to see how much it’s going to cost to travel in your destination country. Some helpful resources for this include “A Beginners’ Guide For Budgeting a Trip to Southeast Asia” or “How Much to Budget for Backpacking Europe“. Now that you have this information, set it all out in a table in order to set a realistic savings goal. To help you, I’ve included a couple of my favorite travel budget planners:
Free Travel Planning Kit from Live Beautifully on Less
Vacation Budget Planner from The Talking Suitcase
Free Printable Travel Planner from I Should Be Mopping The Floor
Next it’s on to saving. This is the hard part. If you want to travel soon, you’ll have to significantly cut back on some of the luxuries you enjoy now. If you’re ok with waiting a bit longer for your dream trip, some minor changes will be enough to get you to your goal. Here are 10 ways to save money for travel and get you on the road faster.
10 Ways to Save Money for Travel
1. Set aside a savings account that is specific to travel
Set aside a savings jar for any spare change or open a TFSA and contribute $100/month, $200/month or whatever you can afford. You’d be surprised how fast this adds up. Make sure if you are saving towards other purchases you keep those funds in a separate account so that you’re not tempted to dip into those travel funds.
2. Limit eating out at restaurants
I’m a firm believer that everything in moderation is okay. It’s unreasonable to think you need to stop living your life and doing things you enjoy doing in order to save for travel. For me, I love food. I love to go out with friends and try new restaurants and cafe’s in my area and it’s certainly something I don’t plan on giving up. Try limiting your meals at restaurants to once a month and soon you’ll have plenty of extra cash to play with.
3. Curb that Starbucks habit
Again, I’m not suggesting you give up coffee… that’s insanity! But try making it at home and bringing it to work with you or limiting your Starbucks fix to twice a week. A couple of dollars a day can really make difference over the course of a month or a year!
4. Take a second job
If you have some spare time and you really want to hit your savings goal fast, try picking up a second job for a couple of nights a week. Serving tables, bartending, or working in retail are good ways to make some extra cash fast.
5. Turn your hobby into a business
Do you have a hidden talent that you want to show off? Perhaps your great at wood-working or you’ve designed some beautiful jewelry pieces. Try taking your creations to craft shows or opening up an Etsy shop in order to sell your creations. Put all of the money you make from your business venture into your travel savings account.
6. Limit time spent at bars and pubs
This is one of the biggest ways to waste your money, and if your serious about travel, you’ll have no problem giving this one up. Grab a bottle of wine and spend a night at home with a friend instead. You’ll save yourself tons of money and probably a hang-over as well.
7. Post an ad as a tutor on your local buy/sell website
Do you have a degree in mathematics or a knack for a particular science? Many kids and young adults are eagerly looking for someone with special knowledge in these subjects, and are willing to pay good money for a tutor.
8. Cut down on utility bills
This one is actually a lot easier to do then you might think. Turn your heat/air conditioning off when you’re not at home, make sure your lights are off when you’re not in the room and try cutting back on laundry loads. You’ll likely see a decrease in your utility bills allowing you to pocket the extra money for travel.
9. Clean out items around your house that you no longer use
Perhaps its been a while since you’ve cleaned out your closet, or maybe you’ve got some books that are just collecting dust. Try posting un used items on your local buy/sell website or Facebook group and you’ll surprised how much extra cash you can make by doing some spring cleaning!
10. Come to terms with the realization that not all travel has to be extravagant
There are many ways to travel while on a budget and still have an amazing time. Learn how to travel on a limited budget and maybe you won’t need as much money as you originally thought you would.
There are many ways to cut back on expenses and save money for travel, you just have to be willing to make a few changes and focus on your goals. Once your on the road, there are many ways to keep track of your expenses while traveling. You could use a spreadsheet similar to the ones above or the download a travel app to keep track of your expenses on the go! What are some ways you save for travel? I’d love to hear in the comments below!
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