It really f*cking annoys me when people ask me how I can afford to travel. I could ask them how they can afford to buy new clothes all the time, or own a nice car, or to sniff a few grams every weekend. I could tell them to mind their own business, but I decided to write this blog post instead.
Maybe you’re dying to see the world, but don’t know how to look after your finances. Maybe you’re trapped in a hellish cycle of being skint, getting paid, being your hometown’s biggest baller for a weekend then going back to sitting in front of the TV every night because living vicariously is all you can afford.
Cos um, yeah. Plane tickets are expensive when Daddy won’t pay.
How to save money for travel
My blog is all about valuing experiences over possessions; living frugally so you can spend on the things that really matter. How can you save enough money to escape from your monotonous life and live for a while?
Follow these rules and see how you can afford to travel too.
Making travel your number one priority is vital if you want to build the willpower to save enough for your dream trip. Next time you feel like you need to spend £100 on a new pair of shoes, think about what that money could buy you in Cambodia – ten nights of accommodation and food. It’s about making choices and yes, sacrifices. I’m not gonna lie. It might be your social life (nobody in the pub actually cares if you’re there or not), it might be a relationship or a job. I gave up my graduate job for travel, and you know what? Everything was okay. I had three unforgettable months in New York, and then got a better job with higher pay. Guess what I bought with my first paycheck? Tickets to Borneo and Bali.
Prioritising travel also led to taking a job in Dubai, where I managed to visit most of the cities on my travel bucket list in the space of a year. How did I pay for it? I took a horrible, cheap (by Dubai standards) room, and saved the extra cash for trips.
Take a long hard look at your outgoings. Where can you make cuts to fund yourself into a new life that features foreign lands and sunsets instead of your cubicle at work? Be honest with yourself about where your money is going. How much are you wasting on impulse purchases? That ridiculously priced, rarely used gym membership can be cancelled. The world is your gym.
I save money where I can by bringing my own lunch to work, avoiding coffee shops and swerving the high street in general unless absolutely necessary. Know your vices.
Sell your sh*t. Minimalism is so hot right now. Sell your books, clothes and other belongings on ebay. The aim is to fit all of your worldly possessions in one backpack and make some money off the stuff you’ll leave behind. Selling your stuff will make you feel you’re really taking steps towards that adventure and will help to keep you focused on the end goal. Getting rid of your baggage might also stop you splurging on more items, because you start to assess whether you really need that widescreen TV when you’ll be leaving it behind for a better view.
Stop being afraid to look at your bank balance and take control of your finances. Subtract all of your ‘big’ costs like rent, bills, credit card repayments etc from your monthly income. Then work out how much you can afford to put in your travel fund each month, and set up a direct debit so you aren’t tempted to blow those extra pounds in your account on lunch. That money is going towards making your life 1000 times better. Can you say the same for the Starbucks frappe you’re eyeing up?
Hear me out. If the option is there, moving back into your childhood home for a period before you go travelling is the easiest way to save money. What most ‘world nomads’ don’t share on Instagram is that they had the privilege of rent-free living back home before they set off on their wild adventure. They might look like barefoot hippies who can survive off sunlight and good times, but more often than not there’s a generous parent funding their travels or at the very least, providing a place to crash while they saved. I’ve never actually done this yet, but would definitely consider it.
A less entitled way to take advantage of the fact your parents love you is to come to an agreement – pay them a much lower rent than you’re currently paying, and help with the chores. Sharing a room with a friend is another option.
How good is your local club, really? Does it compare to the infamous Full Moon Party in Thailand, or dancing on the deck of a catamaran as the sun sets over Australia’s Whitsunday Islands? Can it give you the same buzz as that first glimpse of Angkor Wat? Probably not, but you’ll never know if you keep blowing your money on one-wear dresses and drinks that end up on the floor. This goes back to my first point; that if you want to afford travelling, you have to sort out your priorities. I’m not saying you should become a recluse, because travel planning shouldn’t make your life miserable. Just wise up.
What’s your top tip for saving money for travel? Do you have an alternative way to save? Let me know about it in the comments!