I have been asked many questions about my travels– how do I get the money to travel? How much did I pay for my travels? How do I save for my travels? Have I been traveling for work, or is it sponsored? And most of the time, many assume that I have extra money lying around, or earn enough to support the travel lifestyle that I have.
Well, to be honest, I do not have that privilege. Every trip I’ve made have been meticulously planned, and the money, lovingly and specifically saved. I live in a relatively expensive city– so I still have bills to pay, expenses to live by; and I believe I earn just as much, or as little, as the average 30-somethings in my city. And it really doesn’t help that the currency of my country is extremely weak.
Probably, the only difference is that I have never told myself that I have no money to travel… because it is simply not true. It is all about intention, strategy, action and discipline.
If you want to travel, then plan to travel. The first step is to have the intention. Once you have that, create your travel budget and plan your next trip. Decide where you want to go, when you want to leave, and how much its going to cost to get there. Once you know how much you have to save, start right away! It’s great fun to gradually see your travel funds grow– and knowing that you are that much closer to going on your trip.
I have a couple of accounts specifically set up for my travels– there is the long term travel account, which are for big trips to faraway places; and there is the short term account, which are for shorter, nearby getaways. Because I save that way, I sometimes have the luxury of making last minute, spur of the moment travel decisions; like my trip to Tomorrowland.
The next step is to strategize your trip. Plan at least 6 months ahead so you have time to do enough research— read about the places you want to visit, look at photographs for inspiration, and dream about your holiday. But most importantly, constantly browse through the essentials for your trip, namely flights and accommodation. There are deals and discounts available from time to time, and you don’t want to miss any opportunity to make your trip more attainable.
Another alternative to save on traveling is by joining travel clubs, and collecting frequent flyer miles points. Sometimes, it’s also financially beneficial to make your plans earlier, and decide where you want to go while on your trip– buying tickets and entrance fees online can sometimes be much cheaper than buying at the gate.
To take action is to do what you can to make that extra cash to finance your trip. Most of the time, your salary is just enough to get you through the month; there’s not even enough for your own savings, let alone for your travels. Unless, of course, you make big bucks. So if you do need an additional source of income, or a part-time job to be able to travel, use your knowledge and skills to your advantage– if you’re good at photography, do it part time for a fee; if you’re good at writing, you can do freelance work for a magazine, or start up your own blog.
Most of the other things I do outside of my main job goes into my travel fund– I emcee, do voice-overs, and from time to time, post up adverts on social media and my blog for a fee. All these extra income are what finances my travels. So the more I do and the harder I work, the bigger my reward. It is a motivating factor.
It takes discipline to prioritize your spending. If travel is really what you want to do– then you will have to be strong enough to cut back on the unnecessary expenses. Stop using your extra money to buy that additional pair of shoes you don’t need, or that branded bag just because it looks good on you. Cut back on the eating out, you can save a lot by cooking at home. Try to reduce your utilities bill– switch off the lights, reduce usage of the air-conditioner, save water. It might not sound like a lot, but in the long run, these little things may just be able to make your travel dreams a reality.
I admit that I am guilty of indulging in these little shopping pleasures, but I do make the effort to consciously try and reduce these avoidable expenditures. I always remind myself; the more I save, the more I travel.
If you have any tips on how you save money or make money for your travels, do share your recommendations in the comments section! I would love to find out more ways to make my travel dreams a reality, and I’m sure everyone else reading this would love the extra tips too. Thank you for reading!