Having been away since quitting my job in 2014 by far the most frequent comment I get isn’t how to save money to travel, it’s “Oh, I wish I could afford to travel”.
Or sometimes, on the slightly more scathing end of the spectrum, “Well you must just really rich. Most people can’t do that”.
I beg to differ.
Travelling long-term does not cost as much as you would think and you do not need to be rich to do it.
Let me just repeat that one, you do not need to be rich to travel long-term.
Most people could create a situation in which they would have enough money to travel easily and in a short amount of time. But so frequently people don’t even try assuming the goal is too big and insurmountable. That’s why they’re not asking me how to save money to travel, they’re just stating that they can’t do it. They’re already defeated.
They assume that they would have to save for the next 30 years to get enough money to travel. But that is most definitely not the case.
Travelling long-term can be surprisingly cheap depending on where you decide to travel. My current fixed monthly expenses come to under £200 (approx $300 USD) a month. Sure I still have the cost of food and day-to-day activities on top of that but I’m in South East Asia and most meals cost about 50p-£2 ($1-$3 USD) where I am so my day-to-day expenses really aren’t a lot. You don’t need a lot with you either as you’ll only be traveling with the essentials if taking a backpack.
How to save money to travel
Unless you’re lucky enough to already have a nest-egg squirreled away somewhere you will of course still have to save up some money to travel, even though it’s not that expensive (you can even camp for free in the US in some areas). Otherwise, you’ll need to get yourself a travel job or work abroad instead.
The key to doing that is a mental-shift. This mental-shift is the most important action there is in creating a situation which allows you to quit your job and travel.
It’s so easy when working to get sucked into a cycle of spending all the money you earn each month, always wishing and hoping for the next pay rise so you’ll be able to start saving some money. But when that pay rise comes your living expenses magically increase meaning you still have no money left at the end of each month. With each pay rise the price of our clothes, apartment we rent and gadgets we buy creeps up without us even noticing ensuring there is never any money left over.
I’m not going to deny that these increases in the quality of the things we buy or our accommodation aren’t nice but wouldn’t not having to work and getting to travel for a year instead also be nice? Wouldn’t it, in fact, be much nicer than having the latest TV from which you can watch documentaries about all the places your wish you could afford to go?
I’m not suggesting you become a monk and stop spending any money but I can guarantee that you don’t need everything you buy each month or could make do with much less expensive versions of those items.
This is where the mental-shift needs to take place. To create the situation in which you have enough money to be able to quit your job and travel the essential action you have to take is to make the conscious decision to place more emphasis and importance on experiences rather than material things. To come to the realisation, and remind yourself frequently, that experiences create much longer lasting happiness than possessions
You have to decide that travelling, and enabling those travels is going to be your priority.
And on top of that you can strategically take out credit cards which earn you air miles (if you’re from New Zealand, check out these airpoints credit cards) so any spending you do need to still make can be contributing towards your future plane tickets.
When you travel you will be living out of one bag (for your own sanity I’d really suggest this is a backpack and not a wheelie bag). Anything that doesn’t fit in that one bag will be left at home gathering dust whilst you’re away. Whilst it may have been nice and enjoyable as you progressed in your career to buy more expensive clothes or gadgets you will not need these things when you travel, so stop collecting them now. This mental-shift is the key to working out how to save money to travel.
You’ll be shocked at the amount of money you can save as soon as you make the change.
Money is not the obstacle to travelling.
If you want to do it enough you will find a way.
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