So you want to travel, but are having trouble balancing travel and finances. Where do you even begin? Here are some tips to get you traveling sooner, longer, and more often.
Cut reoccurring expenses:
Start by analyzing your reoccurring monthly expenses that are more wants than needs. This includes things that are always the same price (e.g. phone bill, gym membership, etc.) and things that fluctuate (e.g. weekly drinks with friends, gas, daily coffee, etc.). Be sure to create a list of these and total costs in some sort of chart to really help you visualize where your money is going.
Once you have a list, set a goal of how much you want to reduce these costs by – $100 a month? $250 a month? Then consider how many months it will take to reach your goal if you were to reduce these costs. Can you wait that long? Are you disciplined enough to not spend the savings on something else?
At the end of the day, it’s all about priorities. Are weekly drinks with your friends or daily coffees worth more than the experience of traveling? If so, carry on. If not, it’s time to start cutting!
Charge up at work:
It might seem extreme, but if you pay for your own hydro at home, get into the habit of charging your devices at work. Stuff like your smartphone, laptop, and tablet can be charged during the day and run off its battery at night. Same goes for your water usage. If you can, wash your lunch containers and cups at work instead of doing it at home.
With electricity costs on the rise, being diligent could save you hundreds over the year without much additional effort.
Start an automatic saving program:
Along with the above, take the savings and invest it into a savings account through an automatic savings program. Have the savings get transferred on the same day as each payday to make it seem more painless. $50 a week will turn into more than $2600 in a year! For context, that’s $10 a working day (assuming 5 working days in a week) so you really have no excuse.
Move back home:
If you’re considering traveling for a good while, moving back in with the parents for a couple months before departure can do wonders for your travel budget (assuming your parents don’t charge you for rent or food) and it will give you an opportunity to spend time with them before you leave.
See your stuff on eBay:
If you haven’t used something in 6 months, you’re probably better off trying to get rid of it on eBay. On average, a user can make over $1000 by cleaning out and selling their excess stuff on eBay.
This applies to buying as well. If you need travel gear, it’s usually cheaper to buy it on eBay or Amazon.
Start planning accommodations early with AirBnB:
AirBnB is a great site to find highly affordable places to stay both on and off the beaten path. It’s also a great way to meet someone that lives locally to where you are going that doesn’t necessarily work in the tourism industry. This usually means more authentic local experiences that most others won’t get to experience.
On the flip side, you can always rent your place on AirBnb (both while at home or while you’re travelling) for some extra cash.
Group travel discounts and freebies:
If you’re planning on traveling as a group, be sure to look for group discounts. For even larger groups, the organizers usually get a free trip or highly discounted rate if they are able to get a minimum number of people together for the same trip.
Pickup some part-time work during your downtime:
Even if you’re ‘time’ is worth more, during downtime you can either make $0/hour or pickup some menial work for $10/hour (that you can do while watching TV) through sites like Elance.