Without a doubt, travel is one of those things that most people want more of in their lives. However, going away for the trip of a lifetime can be terribly expensive (although it doesn’t have to be, depending on how you’re willing to spend and travel). Nevertheless, if we take a step back and look at how we spend our money, we can usually find a couple of extras that we invest our hard-earned cash on and which might better be spent on awesome experiences with the potential to make you a more rounded human being!
As a rule of thumb, it’s helpful to take a good, hard look at your life and get your priorities in order; doing so will give you the vision you need to save towards more travel if that’s one of your priorities.
The key is to cut back spending whenever and wherever you can. Even the little things add up to considerable amounts in the long run. A little cut here or there might be enough to set you free to have the vacation of your dreams.
If you think about it, a dollar that you didn’t spend on candy at the gas station can buy you a delicious local meal in some destinations, and five or seven bucks that you could’ve spent on another beer on a night out can pay for a hostel night in many awesome spots in Central America or Southeast Asia.
It’s by adopting this mentality of putting your spending into perspective and saving up with a purpose that you can truly motivate yourself to scrimp enough for your next adventure. Think of it not as depriving yourself of comforts, rather you’re consciously allocating resources towards more meaningful experiences and memories that’ll last a lifetime.
Are you the kind of person who regularly complains that you don’t have money for traveling? Then read on!
Other than rent, utilities and groceries, entertainment and going out are what most people spend their money on. But, how many times do we go out when we don’t really want or need to? Cutting back on the number of times you go out per month or even switching and substituting wherever you can will be key to help you save money for traveling.
Here’s some traveling experience as an example. I’ve traveled quite a bit around the US, and I’ve seen how freaking expensive it is to go out— even if it’s just for a movie. I’m not saying you should be anti-social, but you could definitely revise how you go out in such a way that you spend less money.
Be conscious of where your money is going so you can look for cheaper alternatives. If you have to go out, you might also stop spending on incidentals. For example, if you really want to go see that movie, maybe you can skip the popcorn or sweets.
Drinking is an extremely expensive pastime and widely recognized by seasoned travelers everywhere as one of the easiest ways to add to your travel expenses without providing much value in return.
To counteract how expensive treating alcoholism can be, some countries even impose very hefty taxes on your drinks even if you buy them from a convenience store, purposefully making them even more expensive so as to deter people away from the bottle. This means that going out for drinks in most developed countries can easily set you back an entire day’s travel budget or two in a single drunken night.
Also, bear in mind that while you’re drunk you’re more vulnerable and more likely to get mugged or to splurge a large amount of money on something you wouldn’t have while sober (like more drinking or eating a meal you won’t really remember).
Your lifestyle can be seriously putting you back if you’re saving up for travel.
Subscription payments such as gym memberships, Netflix, Spotify, and other online streaming services, video game memberships, a more expensive phone plan than you really need, among other such payments don’t really seem like they are costing you much individually but calculate how much you spend on them collectively and you’ll likely end up bashing your head against the wall (which is inadvisable, so please don’t).
Switch to free services or do things yourself, if you can. Instead of having a gym membership look for a public gym or, alternatively, you can work out at home or at the park. Instead of buying books, visit your local library. Look at documentaries or classic movies on YouTube instead of paying for the video streaming subscription. Be creative and see where you can make those cuts!
Watching the latest season of some show you won’t remember in a month really doesn’t compare with the experiences you’ll have abroad.
Eating out is something you can do for yourself and scrimp some hard-earned cash. Since you eat every day, this can have a huge impact in the long run. Analyze your eating habits… where and what can you cut from your outings or even from your grocery list?
By leaving sodas, sugary products, expensive processed foods, imported goods, and other such products from your shopping cart, you can easily save some more money.
Another idea for substituting eating out is by cooking. Hey, you’re going to need to learn how to cook anyway if you’re thinking of traveling long term, so why not make the most of it and enjoy the process? You could even get your friends or your significant other involved.
Spice it up by making your meals travel experiences by learning how to cook recipes from other cultures. I guarantee you’ll have a lot of fun!
Cigarettes and other tobacco products
Somebody who smoked a pack of cigarettes a day once told me that her lifelong dream was to travel to the Bahamas and have an awesome time on those beautiful Caribbean beaches but that she never had any money for it. Having gone to the Bahamas on a diving vacation a couple of years before, I simply took out my cell phone calculator and worked out how much she spent per year on cigarettes. As it turned out… she could have gone on her dream vacation once per year just by quitting smoking alone!
Tobacco usually gets an even more severe regulatory treatment than alcohol and is usually highly taxed. The addiction can be setting you back hundreds of dollars, even in the short term. Quitting smoking altogether or, if you really need your nicotine fix, even switching to other cheaper, healthier products can go a long way towards saving for travel.
Driving around for anything and everything not only hurts the environment but it also hurts your wallet!
There are cheaper alternatives to taking the car out for any outing. Take the bus, ride a bike, or even go out for a walk if you’re close enough! You might even do this in conjunction with exercising more outside instead of at a gym, making it more attractive to drop that membership.
Cars have a lot of hidden costs that aren’t associated with other ways of moving around. There are maintenance and oil changes, parking fees and getting ticketed, insurance, washing the car, among many other costs. When you buy a bus ticket, you only pay for the ticket.
It helps to do a little research on how much owning a car is really costing you and which changes you could implement in order to save some money. Have a big gas-guzzling truck? Switch to something more efficient. Get a cheaper car than the one you were thinking of getting. There are many options, do what’s best for your travel budget.
The amount of money you save when you quit compulsive shopping is astronomical. Just a single piece of technology you buy might significantly put you back from funding your travels— and it’ll be practically worthless in a year (if you’re lucky).
Shopping for clothes, tech, jewelry, toys, video games and consoles, shoes, “collectibles”, and a myriad of any other expensive things that we want but don’t really need can set us back not only from our travels but put us seriously in debt. By making conscious consumer choices and needing less, we can reallocate money towards travel.
If you need to pay someone to store something, it sure is likely you don’t need it in your life. However, we do have an unlimited capacity in our brains to store travel memories!
Credit Card Debt
Living well within your means can be hard for a lot of people. I know that there are always bills to be paid and expenses you’re responsible for, but paying for them using credit cards can be devastating for your financial health as well as for your travel savings.
See if you can’t get better financing. Credit cards are a horrible way of paying for a lifestyle you can’t afford. It’s not just the interest due on the loan, but bank and collection fees, annuities, attorney’s fees if you are in real trouble, and many more hidden costs that your bankers won’t likely tell you about, bless them.
You can be better off by seeking alternate means of financing. You can pay back a friend at a much better rate than a credit card, helping out a friend in the process. Or you could try restructuring or renegotiating your debt along with a financial professional.
Don’t be the fool the guys at corporate think you are. Be smart, like I know you are… take back control of your finances!
Take your pick and do what works best for you. If you need to commute using a car drop something else. You might not want to quit all drinking but you could reduce your alcohol consumption. Keep the gym membership and drop the Netflix so you can exercise more. There is no one way but your way.
However, I can promise you with all certainty that any sacrifices you make for the sake of traveling more will be totally worth it!
Think of anything else you could stop spending money on to travel more? Have any similar experiences? Drop a comment and let the community know!