HOW TO SAVE FOR TRAVEL ON A BUDGET

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If there is one thing I am it is the proud owner of two restless feet that are less then thrilled about being grounded in one spot for too long. Even though I am currently studying full-time and still have two more years left till I am done my studies, I still have my eye on saving as much as I can so that I can go and travel after I am done my studies. Now many people I tell this to think it is a pretty impossible goal and that to save enough to travel must mean I am not as broke as I say I am. But here is the kicker, I am broke, but the money I do have I put towards things that are important in my books like; bills, debt and savings. Everything else is extra and not necessary and that is pretty much how I have been able to fund all of my travels in the past few years.

My trips have always been self funded minus a trip to Poland a few years ago to visit family that my parents did contribute some money towards, but all other trips have been 100% from my own pocket through two magical things: saving and budgeting.

Nothing annoys me more then people who whine about not being able to travel but never actually try to save money for it, or they blow their money on other things. If you want to travel believe it or not you need to save and budget your money wisely.

People who travel do not have money just appear in their wallets to fund their trips, they save, plan and budget.

They are not lucky. They just know what they want.

And as someone who is not a lucky recipient of limitless credit cards and zero debt, I wanted to share my tricks and tips for saving for travel while on a budget.

BE REALISTIC


I am guilty of having unrealistic goals sometimes with my trips, but overtime I have learned that focusing is important and also being realistic about what you can afford and when you will afford it. Setting a date to travel across Europe and only giving yourself six months to save while working part-time is unrealistic. Generally I plan my trips atleast a year to two years ahead so I can give myself a decent amount of time to save without stressing myself out. As much as it would be amazing to be able to travel around and visit every country and spend limitless amounts of time there truly enjoying your trip, unless you have pockets full of galleons that is just not going to happen. Being realistic is also you being fair with yourself and not setting unreal expections for your trips.
The best thing is to focus on exactly what countries you want to visit and go from there. Also being realistic with your accommodations and being flexible is helpful.

BUDGET WISELY

So many people I know do not budget and that is something I cannot wrap my mind around. I am what you might call a "chronic budgeter", every month I make sure I have my bills covered and a certain amount going towards debt and savings, and anything extra going into savings again a.k.a travel funds. When you want to travel and you are on a budget that will mean cutting down on other things to be able to afford your trip; less nights out, less eating out, less shopping sprees and cutting back wherever you can. To a lot of people this sounds like a drag but to people who travel and specifically save to travel, they know that this is how it works. A lot of people who travel do not have loads of money, they just know the importance of saving and budgeting to get there.

SAVE

The simplest concept seems to bother most people because we live in an age of material things and spending. There is always something new and cool to buy that distracts people from saving. People who claim they just cannot save are people who need to learn to save the money. Every little bit counts and every little bit adds up. At the moment I have a little jar which I lovingly called my "Adventure Jar" where I put all my change, no matter where it came from, that change goings into the jar and I do not touch it. Tips from work, changing from grocery shopping or random coins I find it my pockets end up there. Change adds up and can add up quickly. Sure it seems like you just have a few dollars but give it a few months and you could end up with $200.00 in that jar and saved a chunk without even realizing it. It is also really satisfying to watch that jar slowly fill up, because you know what that money is going to go towards, which is very exciting.


The key is to not touch that jar. And to not touch your savings.
Once you dip into it, even one time, it is hard not to do it again.

SLEEPING ON A BUDGET

This is a topic on it's own but I will touch on it. I know a few people who are very adverse to staying in a hostel (nothing wrong with that, but when you are on a budget, accommodations is where you can really cut down on the cost) we can thank Hollywood for making hostels sound like scary places where doe eyed tourists go in and only their severed limbs come out but honestly I have stayed in many a hostel, even lived in one a bit, and I've never had a near murdered experience. Hostels are a great choice if you are travelling on a budget and saving on a budget. They are a fraction of the cost of hotels, often centrally located, most often then not they have their own tour discounts ( a hostel I stayed at in London had discounted theatre/broadway tickets which was amazing) as well I have never seen a hostel not offer complimentary breakfast and free wifi.
You can save money a variety of different ways when you stay at a hostel. The accommodation costs less, you don't need to spend money on breakfast and your tours can be less plus if the location is central you spend less money and time in transit getting form point A to point B.

MAKE TIME FOR WORK

I mentioned previously that I am saving for my own trips and I also mentioned I am a full-time student, what I didn't mention is that I also work: at a cafe and I sell artwork commissions. Basically whenever I can find time I am working because work equals money towards my savings. I know a few people who will work one, to two, to three jobs at a time while at school, saving money for trips because it is just that important to them and they wants it that badly. Now I am not telling you to burn yourself out over saving money for travel (this is where having a realistic timeline to save would help) but what I am saying is that if you can find extra time to work, do it. Of course it can be a drag sometimes and the last thing you want to do is go into work and spend more time there (personally I don't mind it but I have had jobs in the past where working more made me want to throw myself into traffic) but if you keep your eye on the prize, that prize being travel, it can really help.

LOW SEASON

I am a huge fan of low-season travel: less tourists, less lines and less money. I generally travel in the Fall time (though for many countries Spring is also a low-season) because it is my favourite season and I find cities and countrysides look just that much more beautiful in the autumn seasons, that and it costs far less then travelling in the summertime or over the holidays like Christmas and New Years. Take advantage of low-seasons, often there are flight sales or reduced tickets because they are trying to sell seats and in general flights cost less. That and low-season does not just apply to your flights but also accommodations, most hostels have a high-season/low-season rate just like hotels.

Did I mention less tourists?
Yes that is a major plus, trust me.

THE LIE OF BEING LUCKY

Throw out that idea that only lucky people get to travel. I hear all the time when someone says they are travelling somewhere and there is always that one person who says "oh your so lucky", its especially annoying when you know that person going away worked very, very, very hard to go on that trip and their effort is totally disregarded by that one comment. I have heard that line many times myself in regards to more then just travel: good grades, selling artwork, my trips, and a variety of different things but the reality is: none of that was me being lucky, it was all work, drive and me knowing what I wanted. Throw away the idea of lucky and of focus on what you want. It is so easy to just tell ourselves that someone is just luckier then us, that they just have those chances that you don't have. Sure there are those people who maybe were born into a larger bank account but most people you see travelling and backpacking worked to get there and guess what...you can get there too.

I am convinced that people who hide behind "your so lucky" just find it easier to say that then work towards something. This may sound harsh but it falls right into the pit of "judging a book but its cover". Luck is an assumption and those are overrated.

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The thing with travel is that it is not an unreachable goal, I don't come from a family with lots of money and when I would say I was broke, I meant it, contrary to what many people thought. After really putting my mind to it and focusing on my finances, I found ways to make more, save more and put more money towards something that is very important in my life and that is travelling.

If you want to travel and you are on a budget I hope these tips help in some way. I know they seem very straight forward but through conversations I have had in my life it is clear that it is not as common sense as they may seem to many people. If you want to travel and have plans to I wish you luck and hope you get to see all the places on your travel list!

Life is too short to spend in it one place.

xoxo

Nicola

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4 comments

  1. Nice share. I don't hang out really often and go shopping to save extra money for travel. You're right, everyone can travel. There's no such only lucky people can travel

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    Replies
    1. Thank you :) Ya the thing with travel is that if you really want to...you will find a way to save the money.

      Delete
  2. One other suggestion I'd make to add on to your saving statement would be the importance of saving both consistently and when you have extra money. When it comes to saving consistently, putting in a little money with every paycheck will slowly add up to larger amounts. As for the extra money saving, if you're the type of person who purchases things with cash, hang on to the change you have after buying anything. Even a few coins here and there eventually become more tangible monetary figures.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am a solo traveler and I don't buy extra stuff for my wardrobe and by doing this I save lots of money even if I am in expensive city.

    ReplyDelete

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