How do you afford to travel?
This is a question that I get asked all the time, and it continues to baffle me that people still haven’t figured out the answer yet. It’s almost as if people think that I have a massive trust fund behind me, or that I had to work for 5 years solid just to pay for a plane ticket.
Of course, none of the above are true.
When people ask me how I afford to travel, the honest answer is simple: I work for it.
It sounds dismissive, cocky even, to answer in such a way, but it is the truth. You don’t need to have exceptional circumstances to be able to afford to travel. You just need a good head on your shoulders and an ability to save money.
It’s that simple.
So, let’s break it down.
Just how do I, a twenty-something English graduate with crippling university debts and no place to call home, afford to live on paradise islands while all of my friends are struggling to make ends meet?
I don’t have a job that earns me a lot of money.
I never have.
But what money I do earn, I save. I don’t go on shopping trips, drink £8 cocktails, or eat in expensive restaurants. I don’t take a taxi when I can ride the bus, I don’t drink spirits when beers is cheaper and I don’t buy new shoes until mine have holes in them. I’ve had my winter coat for 4 years, I never take more than £20 on a night out and I don’t remember the last time I bought anything from Topshop.
People mock me for being stingy, but when I’ve saved a few thousand pounds and they’re still fighting to get out of their overdraft, who gets the last laugh?
When I was at university, I lived on my maintenance loan. I had about the same amount to live on as everybody else that I knew at the time. However, when it was coming to the end of the year, everyone I knew was stressing out because they had 27p in their bank accounts and rent was due, while my current account never dropped below four figures.
Because I was sensible!
It really isn’t rocket science guys. If you want something badly enough, you’ll find the money to do it. That might mean working every hour of overtime that god sends and not seeing your friends for a month, but if you want to see the world badly enough, then you’ll do it. You’ll gladly sacrifice every cocktail, every new pair of shoes, every lunch date in favour of meeting your end goal as quickly as possible.
If you’re already working 40+ hours a week and can’t get anymore, then do something else! Start up an etsy store or sell your old clothes on eBay. Partake in online surveys, start a blog or a YouTube channel, do phone sex, freelance writing or design or whatever!
Honestly though, none of these things are necessary if you learn to budget.
In my old job, I used to earn £280 a week after tax. £100 of that went straight on rent & council tax. I took £60 for myself every week. That left £120 a week, untouched, in my bank.
That’s over £480 a month.
If you develop a routine like this, you’ll be surprised at just how quickly the pennies turn into pounds, and within 6 months, you’ll easily be able to fund a few months of travel.
All you need to do is stop making excuses and do it.
Nobody is going to fund your travels apart from you, and the longer you sit and moan about how your job just doesn’t pay enough, or how you simply don’t understand how people ever make it out of their overdrafts, the further away your travels become, until they’re nothing more than a missed opportunity that you should have taken.
What are the best ways that you found to fund your travels? Did you save up a lot before you went, or did you work as you travelled in exchange for food and accommodation? Let me know your tips and tricks in the comments below!