Traveling can get pretty expensive, airfare to international locations can run thousands of dollars and that’s just to get where you want to go, once there you’ll spend hundreds to thousands more on lodging, transportation, food and any activities you might want to do. Depending on your work situation it could also mean taking days off which effectively cuts off your source of funds which can also get dicey if you’re not prepared.
These following solutions were written with the intent of providing tips, strategies, and advice on how to cut back on the expenses of travel to make it more affordable to see the world. Not all of these recommendations will be feasible depending on your situation and you probably won’t be lounging in a five star hotel with celebrities anytime soon, but with some careful planning and preparation you fill find that many countries are within your price range and you can begin to invest some of your money into the best life changing experiences you’ll ever have.
Budget Your Life and Your Trips
The first thing anyone should do when wanting to travel is to sit down and figure out a budget, how much money is coming in and how much of that money is getting spent in a week, a month, and a year. Then once you find out how much your life costs, find ways to cut back and increase the amount you can save each month. This is absolutely critical to affording travel for a number of reasons.
You Can’t Go Anywhere Without the Funds
If you are bringing in say $20,000 a year and you are spending $20,000 a year, travel is going to be impossible. If you have $1 at the end of every month that you can put in your savings account dedicated to your trip to Bermuda you are going to wait a very, very long time before you can afford to go. You need excess cash to pay for your flight, lodging, food, rental car/public transport, activities, souvenirs, etc. Money might not buy happiness, but it does buy trips to other countries so start budgeting.
You Need to Know How Much Your Time Abroad Will Cost
If you have no idea how much money you spend on yourself in your home country you’re not going to have any basis to determine what traveling is going to cost you. Creating and keeping track of your expenditures at home will give you an idea of how much you spend on groceries, eating out, transportation, activities, and so on. Once you have an idea of how much those things cost it just takes an online calculator to convert to the currency of the place you’re traveling and a little research on how much those things vary from where you live.
It’ll be next to impossible to save up enough money for a trip if you have no idea how much money you’re going to need. The last thing you want is to get there and have too little, or wait several years saving up only to realize you only needed half and could have gone much sooner.
You Need to Control Your Spending
Controlling your spending at home will allow you to save up faster for your trips. Keeping yourself to a budget by limiting unnecessary expenses and cutting back on the cost of necessary ones will grow your savings faster than if you were just to throw whatever happens to be left over into your savings each month.
Controlling your spending abroad will also enable you to get the most while you’re traveling. Shopping around for souvenirs to get the best price, buying groceries instead of eating out every meal, and other frugal strategies will cut back the cost of the trip and make it more affordable.
I am not saying you should live in a shack eating beans like a hermit both at home and on your trip but recognizing you could have a water instead of soda, waiting for clothes to go on sale before buying them, and even clipping the occasional coupon can save you a few bucks here and there without being too restrictive.
Creating and following a realistic budget is the single best way to afford a trip. It doesn’t matter if you make $15,000 a year like my wife and I did when we went to Belize for a month or if you make $1,000,000 a year, you need to control your spending, save your money, and learn how much your trip is going to cost in order to go.
Author: Benjamin Baker
After serving abroad in a religious capacity for two years Ben has felt the pull to travel and explore ever since. This desire was further fueled by his wife Maddie and the two have traveled to many places over the last few years. Ben’s hope is that by sharing his knowledge and experiences obtained while traveling that others can improve their lives and the lives of others through travel. Check out additional articles written by Benjamin.