Translated from the German version of this article.
“I’d love to travel the world too, but I just can’t afford it.” How many times have globetrotters heard this phrase?
The bad news: yes, traveling is an expensive hobby. The good news: with a bit of prioritization, you can travel the world as well. How? We’ll show you.
1. Establish your financial options and set a goal
Unfortunately, not everyone’s financial situation allows for traveling around the world to expensive countries a couple of times a year. Or multiple city trips. Or a cruise. Look at your current situation and set yourself realistic goals for the next 12 months. Several thousand dollars for a road trip along the American west coast not in the cards? No problem! How about a trip to India? Calculate how much money you will need to reach your travel destination. With a goal in mind, everything goes a little smoother. There are two things that can help you to reach your goal. One is to reduce spending, and the second is to earn more money. Let’s get started!
2. Reflect on and reduce your daily spending
Now let’s get down to business: take a sheet of paper and write down what you’ve spent in the last few days and weeks. Think of the little items first: a coffee to go, that second beer you ordered, the dinner out with friends – without even realizing it, we can be spending money on things that aren’t really necessary.
Do you subscribe to newspapers of magazines that you rarely read? Is cable TV really worth it? Do you always need to buy books, or can you make use of the public library? What about your electric and gas bills? Could you switch to a less expensive supplier? Many peoples’ energy costs are far higher than they need to be. Do some research to compare suppliers and find out if there is a cheaper option available. Do you frequently eat lunch out? Try cooking a little extra for dinner and bringing leftovers instead. Need new clothes, furniture or fancy gadget? What about checking some second hand shops? Are you really using that gym membership, or could you try running outside instead? Think about items that tend to be impulse purchases and ask yourself, do I really need this? If the answer is yes, then go ahead with a clear conscience. But if the answer is no, then stick it back on the shelf.
Make a note of all of your expenses, even if the potential for savings seems relatively small. For example: when you daily coffee to go is costing your about $5 day, that’s $35 a week, or a whopping $1820 a year! Think about what items on your list you can live without, always keeping in mind your travel goal. Picture the excitement you’ll have as your lift off in the airplane. Once you get started, you’ll find that cutting costs isn’t so difficult after all. Remember though, the idea is not make yourself crazy trying to obsessively pinch pennies. Use your list simply to help keep yourself aware and accountable of your spending.
3. Find new sources of income
Saving alone isn’t always enough to help you reach your goal. Although it might not be easy, finding other ways to earn some extra cash can help add to your travel fund. Start by looking at your possessions. Let’s face it, how many of us have amassed piles of unnecessary items over the past years or even decades? Things you might not ever remember you had! Get rid of any items you don’t need or use. Anything you don’t want to donate or give away can be sold second-hand. Sure, it’s not a long-term money solution, but you’d be surprised at how rewarding your travels can be when you remember all the little things you did to scrape together some pocket change.
And, if all of the above tips aren’t quite enough to get you to your destination, then it’s time to get a little creative (assuming you’ve already given everything else 100%). Maybe you have an extra room to sublet? Do you have any special skills or talents that could earn you a little cash on the side? Brainstorm any and all possibilities! Don’t worry, in the end all of your hard work will be worth it. Because across the world, there are hundreds of fantastic travel experiences just waiting for you.