The following post on how to travel more is contributed by Martin of Studenomics, where he tries to make personal finance fun since you have enough to stress about. You can click here to check out the wide range of content on everything from student loans to getting paid to drink coffee.
“I wish I could afford to travel like you do.” – friends who don’t realize how easy travel can be.
When I was a teenager, I assumed that traveling was for the rich and that I just wouldn’t be able to afford to be someone who travels. You could imagine how surprised I was when I found out that a buddy was going away for a year when we were only 18. I asked him how he did it, and he told me that he simply saved up for it. This opened my eyes up to the possibilities of a life of travel.
How to travel more even when you think you can’t afford it
Let’s look at how you can make travel happen even if you think that you can’t afford it right now…
At 18, I realized that anyone could travel and I’ve gone around the world a few times since then.
I have to get this rant on travel out of the way first:
- Travel has changed and it’s nothing like you see in the movies.
- You don’t have to quit your job to travel.
- It doesn’t take a lot of money to travel.
- You don’t have to stay in a five-star resort for a trip to be decent.
Your trip can be anything that you want it to be. You can go to study a new language or you can volunteer to make an impact. Some people just want to lay on the beach. While others want to visit relatives in another country. The possibilities are endless.
We’re going to look at how to travel more even when you don’t feel rich.
How can you afford to travel when you don’t feel rich?
Your first trip could be expensive. Your first trip could also fit within a tight budget. Five-star resorts will always be expensive and hostels will always be more affordable.
You may not live a glamorous lifestyle on your first adventure, but I promise you that you could afford some sort of trip even on a smaller budget.
Here’s how you can afford to travel in the near future…
Be flexible with your dates.
Most people want to go away during the busiest times of the year, and then they get discouraged when they see the prices. It’s never going to be cheap to go away for Christmas or Spring Break. This is basic supply and demand. You’re going to spend a fortune if you can only travel during peak holiday time.
The good news is that you can find deals if you’re willing to go in the off-season.
I paid half the price for a ticket to Europe because I was willing to go in September instead of in the middle of the summer. You can also find deals in October, January, and other months that don’t see huge spikes in tourism or when the weather isn’t perfect.
Look into work abroad opportunities.
Travel doesn’t have to be a vacation where you drink pina colada’s on the beach all day. You can use work as an excuse to travel and see the world.
My youngest brother Adrian went to Australia to hone his craft as a barber. He was able to find work at a shop and gain experience. I’ve had friends move across the world to teach English.
What are viable work abroad opportunities?
- See if your company could transfer you to a branch somewhere else or if you could be location independent. With everything going on in the world, you could work-from-home with a twist (you live somewhere else).
- Look for English teaching jobs. The most popular way to land work overseas is to teach English. I’ve had readers and friends do this over the years. Many countries around the world are looking for English-speaking teachers.
- Try an entirely new industry. Could you travel to learn a new skill or trade? My other brother Pat moved to Sydney to study so that he could land a new job in a different field.
- Work odd jobs. Your work doesn’t have to be glamorous. I met a young lady who was working odd jobs as she traveled so that she could see the world. She wasn’t making a fortune, but she was seeing the world while most of her friends back in England went online to complain about work.
I know that you’re probably thinking, “But I don’t want to work the entire time!”
You don’t have to work 24/7. Setting up shop in a completely different part of the world could be the best adventure ever. You can go on mini-vacations once you’re set up and you don’t have to worry about spending all of your savings as you’ll still have an income.
For example, once you have a home base in Europe or Australia, you’ll discover that there’s a lot to see around you and you won’t have to be in rush. Flights and trains around Europe are fairly cheap compared to what we pay in North America to get around.
Get creative with your accommodations.
I’ve been able to stay in some expensive places because I found free lodging. I had a buddy from grade school invite me to Bermuda where he was living and I cashed in on the offer. I’ve also visited friends and relatives around Europe.
How can you find cheap accommodations?
- Look for places that offer room and board in exchange for work.
- See if you have any friends or relatives who you could visit.
- Try Couchsurfing. I’ve only tested the waters here. There are programs designed for travelers to find a couch to crash on. You may end up cleaning the dishes or helping out to pay the “rent” for your stay.
Those are just a few quick options for how you could get creative with your accommodations. You could travel around the world on a tiny budget.
What else can you do to ensure that you can travel more?
When you want something in life, you have to make it a priority. Personal finance is about cutting back on what doesn’t excite you to have more money for what you really want to do. If you want to travel more, then you should do everything possible to make this happen.
Here are some practical tips to make travel possible:
Look at your budget/banking account.
Did you know that if you put aside $20/week that’s an extra trip every year? $1,040 is enough for an all-inclusive trip somewhere tropical or a weekend escape.
Here’s what I want you to do:
- Review your expenses. What can you cut out of your budget? Are there any holes that you could fix? Once you go on one trip, you’re going to be inspired to travel more. You’ll be constantly looking for ways to save money on frivolous items so that you could travel more.
- Look for ways to make more money. Can you get a part-time gig? Could you work more hours? When I wanted to travel more, I would find ways to bring in more money.
If you review your spending, you’ll find ways to cut back. Optimizing your spending allows you to add more adventure to your life. I got to the point where I would stay in to pick up more writing gigs because I knew it would mean I could go on another trip quicker.
Making more money can mean starting a business. You can also keep it simple by working extra shifts or overtime at your current job. Or pick up a part-time or seasonal job in between trips.
Look into side hustles.
I went through a phase in my 20s where I was either working or going on a trip. I know that balance is encouraged, but I found balance by making extra money so that I could travel.
What side hustles can bring in money?
- Performing a freelance service.
- Online tutoring.
- Social media management.
- Dog walking.
The best part of starting a side hustle is that you can eventually go full-time with your side hustle and become location independent so that you can live anywhere in the world. This is a simplified version due to the scope of this article. I just want to show you what’s possible.
Take advantage of credit cards.
BaldThoughts.com goes into great detail on maximizing your credit card rewards to travel and the whole concept of travel hacking. I must confess that I’m not the best travel hacker since the offers and rules are a bit different in Canada. For people living in America, taking advantage of credit card offers makes it easy to travel more.
Those are my best tips for how you can make travel happen even when you’re feeling broke. I’m not here to criticize your spending, but we all have the ability to choose our priorities. I just want you to know that if you really want to see the world, there are ways to make it happen. Cutting back on wild nights in town could lead to even better nights across the world.
The Bald Thoughts
Thanks to my buddy Martin Dasko for sharing his tips on how to travel more. I love how he works towards his goal of traveling by doing side hustles and prioritizing his finances. Although I love being spoiled in First Class and 5-star hotels, there’s nothing wrong with flying Southwest or Ryanair and staying in a hostel. The memories you make while traveling with friends and family will last you a lifetime.