Most of us (myself included, very often) get sucked into the cycle of social media, following people who seem to be traveling all the time – in fancy clothes and not having to live ‘real lives.’
It may seem that other people have way more money to spend on traveling than you. And while that might be true (because they either just make a ton of money anyway, or were born with trust funds) — traveling should not seem as attainable as it does to you.
Friends come up to me all the time – saying that they wish they could travel more, that they’re jealous that I get to go to all of these exotic places instead of staying at home and having to work a job like everyone else.
Well, I’m going to let you in on a little secret.
I wasn’t born with a trust fund. I’ve been supporting myself since I was 21 years old. And the reason why I get to travel is not because I make a ton of money.
Here we go, are you ready for it?
- The reason why I get to travel more is because I prioritize travel.
- The reason why I get to travel more is because I spend less.
- The reason why I get to travel more is because I budget myself on a daily basis.
And unless you are going through a very extreme situation currently, you only THINK you can’t afford to travel. You actually may be able to. It just takes a little change in perspective. And it’s not always easy, but it’s possible and that dream trip is closer than you think.
And to give you a little bit of perspective, here’s how I managed to save up enough money to travel the world for 11 months.
I budget myself.
I was never good at math. I will probably never be good at math. And because I am so very self-aware about my not being good at math, I tended to stay away from having to do it. Ever. That is, until I had to get my sh-t together and start actually budgeting myself daily, monthly — in order to help me meet my travel goals. And I used Mint to make budgeting a lot easier.
Mint is a FREE personal finance app that allows you to see your finances all in one place — that means, all of your bank accounts, credit accounts and whatever else are all under one secure account. I use the app to create budgets for every aspect of my life, and it segments them to help you see exactly where you are spending all of your money.
When you’re over budget, Mint will send you an email letting you know. It does all of the math for me, and spits out pretty little pie charts to help me visualize where I’m spending my money every month.
These features have helped me cut back on unnecessary spending — spending that only ends up keeping me further away from booking another flight to a place on my bucket list.
On top of that, I use Mint to review and pay all my bills in one place. They send me an email when my payment is due, and payments made through Mint are expedited, often payable in one day — which is faster than using a traditional bank in my case. No missed payments means no fees, no fees means more money for flights.
I prioritize travel and spend less.
Since I started traveling, certain priorities fell further and further down my list. If you really want to travel, you have to do the same.
You have to prioritize travel above the other things that you may not be used to living your everyday life without.
How important is traveling to you? Is it more or less important than the expensive snacks you get at the grocery store? Or the new camera you were eyeing? The super cushy soft toilet paper? What about that new pair of shoes you just saw at a boutique? Or the frequent dinners out? Margaritas with the girls, or beers with the boys?
The money I would have spent on any or all of the above, got saved only because I prioritized travel. I knew that the money I was spending at home, could be saved to help me extend my trip in Bali. It could go towards to my flight to Thailand, or towards street food at a night market in Malaysia.
The fact of the matter is — if there are things in your life that you can go without — go without them, save the money you would have been spending, and over time — your savings will add up, and your flight will be booked.
So here’s the low down.
When I’m not traveling, I’m actually doing the following:
- I go grocery shopping and cook all my meals at home.
- I don’t let my stomach do the thinking when I’m buying these said groceries, so I don’t end up coming back home with the entire store in my cart.
- I tell my friends that I’m sorry that I can’t go out all the time (and yes, sometimes I watch WAY too much Netflix because I’m saving up for another trip).
- I’m learning to live with less. Less clothes, less clutter, less STUFF. I only focus on getting things that will 1) help further my photography career, 2) are extremely functional and are compact enough to take with me on the road.
And when I DO travel, I make sure that I spend less money during those trips. Gone are the days when you have to spend thousands of dollars for a week-long holiday. I actually spent less money traveling, then I had been spending while living in New York City.
That’s because I travel to cheap destinations on the most budget-friendly months of the year, and use miles to get flights for free.
And here’s more info on how I do it: 10 Secrets To Traveling Smarter, Cheaper and Longer.
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Thank you so much for reading this post. Do you have any travel secrets? Any awesome random stories to tell anyway?