Charity (a 2012 TEFL Worldwide graduate) and her husband have been traveling the world on a budget. Here, Charity shares her advice on saving money to travel.
By far the most repeated question I get from people is, “How can you afford to travel so much?” I am still surprised at the shock people receive when my response is just, “Anyone can do it.” Seriously. As most of you know, I was a teacher in the States and Amauri worked for Disney. We are not the highest earners and we did not win the lottery. So what’s the big secret? Simply put, we consciously worked at reaching our goal. We just did it.
Along the way, we both learned some valuable lessons. In my personal experience, I have found that these are some tips to help you save for that dream destination.
–Set a goal. It doesn’t matter if it’s a weekend trip to Miami or a year in Bali. It could be to save $200 or $20,000. The principle is still the same. When you know where you want to go, you will make an effort to get there. It’s amazing how different you will feel when you are making strides towards your goal and can see the finish line. It helps to think about this goal when ever you’re about to spend money on something stupid. I have even been known to put up pictures to remind myself of where I want to be or create a countdown to to keep myself on track.
Which leads into my next tip…
–Don’t spend money on something stupid. This one is a tough one for me. To me, how a person spends their money is their problem. If a woman truly values beautiful purses, why can’t she spend her earnings on an expensive Coach? It’s her money. Obviously I would rather spend the money on a trip, as seeking new experiences in another country is what I value and find happiness from. It may not be to you, and that’s ok. However, if you are saving for a dream travel destination, creating priorities is a must. Eventually, you will begin to learn what is just not necessary in your life.
The most common sense, but challenging way to save quickly is to reduce those extra expenses.
–Extra expenses. For Amauri and I, this meant closing our membership at the gym, turning off our cable (everything is available online anyway!), feeding my book obsession at the library instead of amazon, brown bagging it to lunch, and eating dinners at home. That alone saved us a few hundred each month. It adds up. In addition, each week we put a portion of our paycheck into our savings. I understand that this can get quite challenging and everyone has a different budget, but there are small things you can do to make a difference. Skipping your daily Starbucks alone could fund a trip. ($5 a day for 365 days? $1825! Think about it.)
It took Amauri and I about two years to reach our goal and after we met it, it was time to sell our belongings.
–Sell extra junk. I’m not saying you should do it to the degree we did, but because of this I came to learn that people will buy anything on Craigslist. Old hangers? Shoes you never wore? Someone will buy it. What’s the harm in listing your old stuff? You just never know and may earn a few extra bucks towards your goal.
Traveling costs money and saving can be a daunting task. However, even if your income is on the lower end it is still possible to save enough for your goal. With a little creativity, determination, and yes, a bit of sacrifice, you can find ways to fund your travel dreams. We are proof of that.