By Caroline Weller
One of the biggest factors that deters people from living a life of travel is the cost associated with it. In this blog post I will walk you through a number of affordable travel tips that will hopefully make traveling seem a lot less overwhelming… and a lot more doable.
Often times people miss the opportunity to travel because they are discouraged by the associated costs. What many people don’t realize is that traveling commands a certain level of sacrifice. Now – don’t let the word sacrifice send you running in the other direction. Often, all it takes is a small change in lifestyle to open the doors to a life of travel. For example, if you are someone who buys a $5.00 latte every day before work or school, a simple investment in a coffee maker could make the world of a difference. If you think about it, a $5.00 latte multiplied by 260 days (5 days a week x 52 weeks) equals $1,300.00. That alone can pay for a plane ticket to virtually anywhere. Sometimes we buy things so frequently we forget that they are not a necessity. So – take a critical look at your spending habits and ask yourself, do I really need this?
“Travel is never a matter of money but a matter of courage” – Paula Coelho
While this tip may seem fairly obvious, it is often overlooked. Budgeting is perhaps the most critical component to affording a life of travel. Now when I say budget, this doesn’t simply mean throwing money into a piggy bank every time you get a bonus. Budgeting is creating a detailed and deliberate plan to spend and save your money. While most people think travel budgeting is simply saving a certain amount of money every so often, it also includes controlling the amount of money you spend on other things such as shopping, groceries and entertainment. If you have a difficult time budgeting, I suggest using one of the following resources to help keep you on track:
Plan Your Trip in Advance
Planning a trip as much as a year in advance can have several benefits. One of the main advantages is saving money on discounted flights and accommodations. Typically, these things get more expensive the closer you get to your travel dates, so it is crucial to start looking early. Planning ahead also allows you to weave trips into your busy schedule. Traveling while going to school or work full time can be challenging – but if you know your schedule in advance you can potentially travel without ever having to take time off.
Getting a job that allows you to travel can be one of the simplest ways to travel affordably. Often, when a job requires you to travel they will pay for everything from your plane tickets, to your hotel room, to other accommodations. While you may not get to see or experience as much as you’d like, this is a wonderful way to get a taste of travel without breaking the bank.
Digital nomadism is also an increasingly popular alternative to your everyday nine to five desk job. If you have a job that allows you to work from a lap top, you can travel the world without ever taking a day off. If you thrive in a flexible environment, taking your work with you on your travels may be an excellent option for you.
Rent Your Place While You Travel
As some of you may already know, Airbnb has become an increasingly popular alternative to staying in hotels while traveling. Airbnb allows hosts to list their home or apartment on the website for travelers to stay. The length of visitation can be anywhere from a single night to several weeks. Airbnb also serves as a fantastic opportunity for travelers to make money while they’re gone by renting their empty space while they are away. So, if you have been dying to travel but can’t seem to come up with the money, consider renting your home while you’re off exploring the world.
Cut Costs Once You Arrive
Just because you have arrived at your destination, doesn’t mean your budget should cease to exist. It is important to keep a strict budget while traveling so that your money lasts the duration of your stay. There are many ways you can cut costs after you’ve arrived at your traveling destination. First and foremost, get familiar with the local markets and grocers. You can cut a significant amount of money out of your stay if you choose to buy and prepare your own food. One mistake that travelers often make when visiting a new country is eating out for every meal. Now, I am not saying you should avoid restaurants completely. I suggest doing your research ahead of time and choosing the restaurants and cafes you’d like to visit before-hand, and then preparing the rest of your meals during your stay.
Another way you can cut costs is by staying at hostels rather than hotels. Although hostels are not the most glamorous, they are a great, cheap alternative – especially if you are traveling for a long period of time. As the well-known, chef and travel documentarian Anthony Bourdain once said:
“If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel – as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them – wherever you go.”
Traveling will challenge you in new ways and allow you to expand your perspective of the world. Whether you are just graduating college, or you are eighty years old with several grandchildren – there is never a bad time to travel. There is a strong misconception that only wealthy people can afford to live a life of travel. When in reality all it takes is dedication, sacrifice and a passion for seeing the world.
Have you used any of these ideas while traveling? Do you have any other affordable travel tips? We’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions in the comment section below!