A usual question I get or others who travel a lot is how in the world do you afford to do it? I discuss a lot on how to travel while on a budget, but in this blog post I’m going to talk about the process of saving that money beforehand in order to travel. I think there is a myth out there that you need a ton of money to go out and travel when in reality that isn’t true. Yes, you need to save up but it’s not impossible and I’m going to talk about some of the ways I have saved up money in order to travel.
The main way I save money is to act like I don’t have any. I’m by no means rolling in the dough working as a graduate assistant at the University of Nevada. However, I keep to a strict budget and when I get my paycheck I act like it is only half of what is really is. After you are done paying the monthly bills you are usually left with a portion of “play money” money you can spend on clothes, or going out whatever you choose. When I get to my “play money” I cut that in half and put it into my savings, acting like I never had it in the first place. While I was waiting tables, I would try my best to live of of my paycheck and save all of my tip money. Now things come up when you need to dip in to the fund every now and then but try your best to pretend you don’t have it.
Minimize the splurging, I’m sure most everyone can feel their money burning a whole in their pocket at one point or another. A major key to saving up for travel is to not blow it on material or everyday pleasures. When you get that urge pretend to buy the thing you really want, but instead take the money of what that would have costed and put it into your savings. This helps a lot, if you can afford the new jeans, you can afford to pretend to get them and take the money and store it away. For me it’s a relief tactic, I’m “spending ” money by putting it into my own savings.
It’s not easy, but if you can afford spending money on a new car, or watch you will be rewarded by looking at your account in a couple of months and seeing you’re close to buying a plane ticket. It really comes down to being disciplined with your money and how bad wanting to travel means to you. A month of not drinking and instead putting that 200-300 bucks into your savings goes a long way. Right now I’m living at my parents house, driving around a car that’s falling apart, and rarely go out to drink. It’s definitely not a glamorous life at the moment, but I know that these sacrifices now will pay off when I get to hit the road again and travel. So, instead of going out and buying the thing you have had your eye on for a while, take the cost of whatever it is and throw it into your travel fund. You’ll be on the road in no time, discovering new worlds and cultures.