“HOW THE EFF DO YOU TRAVEL SO MUCH?!”
Ahh, this question. If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me this, I’d have enough money to travel the world, with some left over to hit up Mars with Leonardo DiCaprio.
Like many wanderlust-fuelled travellers that can’t seem to quit the habit, people on the outside looking in are perplexed about how it all works.
Do you have a trust fund?! A sugar daddy?! Did you sell your spleen on the black market?!
Most people are disappointed to hear the answer. But I’m here to tell you anyways.
Make. it. a. Priority. Or stop pretending it’s one.
The thing is, everyone can save money for travel if they make it a priority. It all comes down to sacrifice.
Everything you have accomplished in your life, it all came at a price. Going to a certain college means saying au revoir to the opportunities other educational institutions provide. Starting a business means leaving that flexible and stable union job. Buying that $79 swimsuit means that you have $79 LESS in your savings that could have been spent on XYZ.
Supply and demand, baby.
So many people “wish” they could travel more. You may tell me you want to travel, but that designer bag you’re holding with your freshly manicured nails tells me you value things more than experiences.
That sentence is where it all begins. In a culture where materialism is pounded into our subconscious at every turn, it’s hard not to fall into the trap.
“MUST HAVE for 2018!’s” and the “ACT NOW TO SAVE BIG” campaigns. Which always makes me laugh.
How much would you save if you didn’t act at all?
Below I outline the top 7 ways to save money for travel (or anything in life). It takes time and effort to save money, but if you keep your eye on the prize, it’s worth it. Let’s get to it!
Walk. Run. Away. From. The. Mall. When I went down to part-time work, I put myself on a strict shopping ban for 6 months. The best part of this experience was the realization that I didn’t need anything new. Besides a moment of weakness at the Aritzia Warehouse sale (that silk jumpsuit tho..) I am staying true to the ban to this day.
Action Item #1: Put yourself on a shopping ban. It can be 1 month, 6 months, a year even. Stay out of the mall and refrain from clicking those enticing subject lines filling up your email, guilt tripping you to “HURRY BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!” You’ll be surprised at how this exercise turns into a lifestyle, and how much happier you will be.
Read this article for more tips on How to Save Money by Shopping Smarter
Invest Your Money
From a young age, my dad instilled in me the importance of smart banking and investing. I was contributing to my RRSP by the time I was 15 years old working at the Safeway deli (and smellin’ like cold cuts every step of the way).
After taking a few accounting and economics courses in college, I realized just how valuable these financial principles were, and I started getting serious about investing.
I can’t stress this enough. Figure out the best way for your hard-earned money to work for you. Talk to a financial advisor.
Even if you only have a modest amount of money to spare, do it! Investing my money is one of the main reasons I was able to go down to part-time work in order to give more attention to my blog, and what helps me recuperate expenses to save money for travel.
Action item #2: Ask around to friends and family and see if they have an advisor they trust, and book an appointment. Meet with them and go over your financial goals, and the amount of risk you are comfortable with.
Whenever I want to save money for travel, I take a good hard look at my spending habits. Afternoons at the nail salon, hair appointments every 6 weeks, a new pair of shoes for a special occasion. Eyelash extensions, facials, random trips to the mall for no reason. It alll adds up. And what do you have to show for it at the end of the day? A sweater you’re bored of after wearing it 4 times? A pedicure that has chipped by the time Sunday night rolls around?
I am all about self-care, but it’s time you start subbing out the superficial for the smart.
Ask yourself: do I really need this, or do I want it? Can I live without it? Don’t fall into the trap. These companies are playing on your insecurities and capitalizing on your FOMO. Don’t let them.
Action Item #3: Write down a list of all your expenses that you don’t need to be doing each month. Slowly start eliminating these things from your routine, or find ways to do them cheaper AKA yourself.
Make More Money
You’re probably rolling your eyes and thinking “well duh, we all want to make more money!!” It can be difficult, but that’s where you need to get creative. I sold my car to go to Bali. That’s how much I value travel. I’ve also started to sell things online that I no longer need that might be a little too valuable to just give away.
Action Item #4: Brainstorm the best ways you can make more money for yourself. Set up a Craigslist account or find a good local consignment store near you. Pick up extra shifts a work. Get a part-time serving job and take all the money you earn from that and invest it. What are your skills? Set up a freelance gig! Build up a nice cushion for yourself, label it your travel fund and start planning your next adventure.
Change your Habits
As I get older, I value more time at home. Some of my favorite nights are spent on the couch with a few bottles of wine on the table, a pizza in the oven, chatting with my best girlfriends about life.
Before agreeing to go out on the town with friends, or go out to eat, consider having people over at your place instead. Make some bomb ass margaritas from a Pinterest recipe that don’t cost $12 a pop and have a fiesta.
Another habit to take home with you? Coffee. I spend about 40 cents on my morning coffee after investing in a coffee maker. Buying a $4 coffee a day amounts to $1,460 a year. That is a weeklong all inclusive vacation in Mexico!!
Starbucks doesn’t need your money. You need your money. Buy some coffee pods, some coconut creamer and stop fucking around.
Action Item #5: Cook your own meals, make your own coffee. Stop being a lazy ass. Which brings me too…
This is a really tough one, and one I still struggle with. People can charge more for things if it brings convenience to people’s lives. A car is more convenient and more enjoyable than public transit. Ordering in is easier than a sink full of dishes. Paying a cleaning lady is easier than scrubbing the floors yourself.
Action Item #6: Look at all the things you are paying for that are simply for convenience purposes. Are you willing to sacrifice these in order to save money for travel? If so, do it, do it, do it!
Travel Credit Card
A travel credit card is a game changer!! Find a good travel credit card and make ALL your purchases on it (as long as you trust yourself enough to pay it off each month). It may seem contradictory to tell you to spend money in order to save money for travel, but this is for need-to-purchase items only ;-). I have already accumulated enough points to fly to London AND Bali and I’ve only had mine for a few years. Try to find one that is offering a big welcome bonus!
Action Item #7: Research the travel credit cards at your bank and find the best fit for you.
I strongly believe if you implement these habits into your daily life, you will be able to save money for travel in no time!