How To Afford Your Big Travel Plans With A Small Paycheck

So you want to travel? OF COURSE YOU DO! It’s a new year, with new goals and my personal favorite, a new set of vacation days just waiting to be used. The prospect of traveling the world, with your friends or on our own as an intrepid solo traveller, is incredibly exciting, but affording it sometimes isn’t so much.



"SAVE DAT MONEY"- LIL DICKY

In addition to courage, the most important resource you’re going to need in your pursuit of a phenomenal travel adventure is having some money behind you.  Some people are lucky enough to have parents who are happy to fund their gap year - but theres a hint of satisfaction having to work your guts off then when you sit back on that long-haul flight as the plane takes off and you embark on your very own adventure; it feels more magical because you earned it.  You put your own blood, sweat and tears into making this happen - and that sense of pride will be worth all the hard work.

The first thing you’ll need to do is to start saving for your trip. There’s a couple ways you can go about this.

You can start saving the money you currently spend (e.g. if you get an allowance from your parents, or a consistent paycheck, you can spend less on day-to-day living and syphon some of that cash into a savings account). Cha-Ching!

Another approach is to increase your income; which would appear to be a much more enriching strategy.  Whether you do odd jobs such as mow lawns, get a small part-time job, or even take up an e-bates account… this will propel you into a position of feeling more personal power and independence.

You can also look into the best cash back credit cards that you can put certain expenses such as flights on - and earn rewards in the form of cash back, air miles and so on. This may not seem like the most sensible idea in the long-term but is certainly the easiest and path of least resistance.

You can always try to do all three if you’re feeling super ambitious.

BE LIKE A BIRD AND FIND CHEAP, CHEAP, CHEAP FLIGHTS

If you’re looking to travel internationally, then flights can take a large chunk of money from your travel fund. Spending $1,000 on a plane ride seems a little absurd if you ask me. However, if you can be flexible with your flight dates then searching for cheap flights via comparison engines such as skyscanner or momondo that compare hundreds of flights by almost every airline in the world to present you with the cheapest deals for the dates and destinations you are looking for can save you a heap of cash. That was a long sentence but I just got so excited and had so many thoughts.

Being flexible with your departure and arrival airports can be a huge contender in price points as well. For example if you were flying into London (England) - it might be worth searching for flights to the whole of the UK, as, let’s say there is a flight to Manchester (just two hours from London by train) which is $200 cheaper - it would make financial sense to book that flight and travel to London on a cheap train ticket. Sight seeing and money saving! The more flexible you can be in terms of time and location, the cheaper the flights you will be able to find.

WORK HARD, PLAY HARD FOR YOUR ACCOMMODATIONS

Yet, ANOTHER huge expense when traveling is accommodation; hotels, AirBnB, hell, even countries known for being cheap such as Thailand, a basic room can be around $10 a day - which adds up to $300 per month.  But what if you could stay somewhere for FREE. There are sites such as workaway that essentially allow you to volunteer for four hours a day, and in return you get free accommodation and food.  This is not just a cheap way to travel, it’s a great way to be part of a community and meet other people while making a difference. Think of the good it will do for your cheap soul.

Real talk, all you want to do is save up some money and then keep your costs as low as possible - particularly in terms of the big expenses of flights and accommodation. Granted, this is easier said than done but you’ll have more disposable income to spend on bangles and baguettes or whatever fits your fancy. OR just say YOLO and put it on the credit card. Eventually you'll pick up the tab, right?






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