I work full time, I am married, I have a beautiful pooch and I own my own home (well the bank does) and I can still afford to travel. Right now you are probably thinking I have an amazing high paying job, a rich husband, a trust fund or have won the lotto. I have none of these! I am fortunate that I do have an amazingly flexible employer which allow me to take between 8 and 12 weeks of time off each year (I am paid for 4 weeks only). Over the last 10 years I have travelled to all 7 continents and visited over 80 countries!
I am often the butt of many jokes for the amount of travel I undertake each year. People often say “you’re so lucky you can travel so much,” which to be honest frustrates me – it’s not luck. I choose to travel and do everything I can to make it happen.
So how do I afford to travel and how you can too! The answer is simple. You have to be prepared to make sacrifices. I don’t own a fancy car, I don’t own designer products, I don’t visit the hairdresser every month or get my nails painted each week. Even though I work full time I still earn less than the average full time wage of $75,000 in Australia. My “rich” husband also earns less than this average. Yes, I do realise this is a significantly higher salary than in many parts of the world but in Australia and with the cost of living, salaries like this don’t go far – especially when paying for a house!
When you are about to purchase an item, really think about if you actually need it. If you decide you don’t really need it, immediately transfer the amount you were about to spend to a savings account. An easy way to quickly add to your savings balance.
Eat out less
Taking your lunch to work will save you at least $10 a day. That’s at least $200 a month that you can easily out towards a holiday. Need a morning coffee to get you ready for the day ahead – make a coffee at home and save the at least $4 a day you spend. That’s another $80 a month you put to your new savings account.
Instead of paying for parking each day at work – I park at least 1.5km from my office and walk to work. By walking to work I save $10 a day which certainly adds up each month and gives me some much needed exercise. Hello an extra $200 to spend on travel.
I don’t own any expensive or fancy items. My car is 8 years old and as much as I would like a new car – I want to travel more. Sacrifice. I would like some fancy new work dresses but at $300 a pop that could be a couple of nights accommodation somewhere in the world. Sacrifice. I would like to have a nice dinner out but I can eat for much less at home. Extensive amounts of travel when you don’t earn a significant amount of money are possible you just have to be willing to sacrifice.
Over the past few years I have been offloading clothes, bags, shoes that I no longer wear or want on Ebay. Instead of throwing these items out, I have been able to generate plenty of cash by selling these items. I have found that the crapper the item I am selling, the more I have received for it (go figure!).
Travel to cheaper destinations
If you want to travel more or to travel longer go where you will get more value for your money. Places like South East Asia or Central/Eastern Europe are often significantly cheaper than say Western Europe and will allow you to do a lot more for the same amount of money.
Can’t Afford to Travel – Go Anyway!
Probably not the best piece of advise for you to follow but for me sometimes you just need to go! We couldn’t afford Antarctica but we went anyway. I just could not put off going for another year! So we signed up for a 0% credit card and transferred the balance to this card. This gave us 18 months to pay the credit card off and meant I got to see Antarctica! I don’t regret the decision at all!
Take advantage of travel hacking
Put simply – I collect credit cards. I take advantage of the bonus sign up offers to quickly amass a large number of frequent flyer points. You can read more on how I do this here. This provides an easy way to save money as you are not having to outlay a huge amount of money on long haul international flights. Potential savings – at least $1000 a trip.
If you really want to travel, you will. It’s a choice. You make sacrifices. If you can’t afford to have it all then you will make a choice, a sacrifice for what you really want. If you do want to travel, always keep it in your mind and do everything you can to do what you love!