There will always be people there to tell you that it’s not possible. Because unless you have an amazing job with a high income, how could you ever afford to travel? There’s bills to pay, education to pay off, food to put on the table and the list goes on. Then if you are one of the lucky ones with a high income, where would you ever find the time anyway? It’s all stolen away by your job! You couldn’t afford to lose a job you worked so hard to get, could you? Lastly if you don’t even have a steady full-time job, how dare you even consider travel! You need to get an education and find a job to earn money, get into routine! Because that’s what everybody does, isn’t it?
The Ones Who Hold You Back
Then you do travel, and while you’re embraced with awe-inspired faces as you tell your stories, you’re also greeted with some sour faces and negativity towards your conquered journey’s. Most the time, these people are jealous or have dangerously fallen into societally acceptable ways. Because they have no idea how to do it themselves. Because they’ve been socially conditioned to believe that that’s the way life is meant to work. Because they genuinely can’t and so couldn’t stand the thought of seeing you do something that’s not in their power…
Society Vs Truth On Life & Travel
People spend their entire lives waiting and waiting till they can “afford” to travel, waiting for enough stability and comfort and before they know it, they’re stuck in a job they don’t like (or do) with barely a taste of real holiday time, sometimes a family they need to support and put before them and no time to see the world. Then end up wishing they just did it all when they were younger. The truth is travelling doesn’t stop you from setting up that “ideal life” you’re so afraid to lose by putting your life “on hold” for travel. Travelling evolves our minds into learning more of what is out there and more importantly, more about ourselves. We can pick up a book or a tool and learn a degree or trade at any point in our life. I personally know a 78 year old woman who has just started studying a doctoral degree in university. Crazy, right? Wrong. That’s what life is about. We don’t need routines, we need to live. We have our whole life time to learn, and people forget that there is more than one way of learning. So for those creating excuses as to why you can’t travel, think twice before you make a decision your future self will regret.
No More Excuses
Still here? If you haven’t already rolled your eyes in disagreement of my opinion, then congratulations! You’re ready to make that step into a life you will enjoy so, so much more than the pre-dispositioned one everyone believes you’re meant to have. You’re no longer filled with excuses, but maybe you’re still afraid. How will you ever be able to afford that trip to the Bahamas you’ve always dreamed of? The answer is goal setting, strict budgeting, discipline, sacrifices and a lot of hard work.
Turning your Dream into a Goal
You have a dream, but you need to convert this into an achievable goal. It’s no use sitting there staring at those potential flights you could take and looking at photos of all the beautiful places you could see while there, you have to make it real.
- Where do you want to go?
- When do you want to go? (Make sure to keep these dates realistic in terms of getting time off work and being able to save for it.)
- How much is the whole trip including paying for everything at home while you’re gone, flights, accommodation, food, activities, and spending money estimated to cost? Plan it out!
- How much do you need to save weekly or monthly to achieve this before the day you lift off?
- Do you need to study anything, get any injections or practice anything before going?
Got your answers? Great! Now it’s no longer a wish, but a reality that you’re officially working towards. The next step is setting yourself up to save, save, save! Ideally you want to set up a new Savings Bank Account, you could even name it the destination of your trip to further motivate you! Put in your first deposit and set up a goal as to how much you’re going to deposit each week or each month. (This could even be that little bit more than you need if you’re a high achiever or like to play things on the safe side.)
So now everything is planned out and you know what you need to do to make it all happen. You’ll need discipline, sacrifice and a strict budgeting scheme for it to work. What many people don’t realise is how much we actually spend on that movie date, those couple of drinks, a bite to eat, that fancy dinner and that morning coffee you like to get every day with an extra caramel shot. Sure, most of those are under $20 each… but do them every week or every day and believe me, it adds up. You need to diminish the habits of thinking ‘oh, but it’s only this much’ and instead, ask yourself;
- Do I really need this?
- Is it really worth the money?
- Would I prefer buying this over depositing that same amount into my travel fund?
If your answer is ‘no’ to the above 3 questions, then let that coffee go, skip that drink and learn the art of making things at home more often and socialising without spending so much money. It’s amazing how much you can save!
Creating A Strict Budget
Next you need to physically create a budget you can visually see, so that you’re able to keep track and see your progress. An app I personally like to use and would highly recommend is ‘Pocket Expense Personal Finance’ this allows me to track and assess all my finances with budgeting, pie charts and monthly data. Write a list of all the things you put money towards and a budget you’d like to stick to for that section weekly or monthly. Below is mine to use as an example;
- Rent: Self Explanatory
- Loan: I personally like to pay things off quickly, so put a higher budget than the minimum requirement for this section because I want to be rid of my debts.
- Utilities: Water, Electricity, Internet, Phone bills all in one.
- Transport: Car expenses and public transport. Mine ranges from $20-$100 a month depending on car usage. I like to ride my bike where I can and sometimes public transport is the way to go!
- Groceries: Do you really need to buy everything you buy at the grocery store? Budget for what you need so you don’t spend money on the wants. I strictly only count consumables in this section and personally budget myself to $120 a month.
- Eating Out: I like to budget $60 a month to eat out. That for me equals about 3 dinners, or 6 lunches or a lot of snacks here and there! Keep in mind I don’t drink and so don’t budget for it.
- Entertainment: For me, $30 is enough. That’s 3 movies a month or a nice show.
- Hobbies: If you do anything such as dance or yoga that requires weekly/monthly payments. Put those costs here.
- Treats: You do have to treat yourself sometimes! Maybe to a massage, a new hair style or a new outfit! I budget $100 a month, but tend to not use it most the time.
- Misc: Here I budget for any other expenses. Cleaning products, medicine, fines, presents. Anything that only happens every so often. For me, $100 is plenty and I don’t use it most the time.
- Total: Add up all those expenses and you’ve created yourself a budget to stick by! Make sure you’ve put figures in that both give you an opportunity to save what you need to and that you can follow – even if you do have to strip yourself from some of those comforts! You have to remember it’s all to get you on that plane to a far away place.
While you’ve put a budget in place on how much you can spend for certain things… it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend that money. It’s there for if you need it… but if you don’t use it – that extra money is a bonus you can put towards your travel fund! Then all of a sudden you’re saving even faster than you planned.
Working hard is just as important as setting yourself a budget and sticking by it. Take those extra shifts at work, get that second weekend job, clean your mother’s house for a little bit of extra cash, hold a garage sale to sell all the materialistic things you’re harbouring but don’t need. The possibilities are endless! Be creative.
So now with your hard work and smart budget, you’re quickly on your way to achieving a bank account that’s ready for an adventure. However you, yourself still aren’t! Make sure you do your research on the location you’re heading to.
- Will you need any vaccinations?
- Is there any places you should avoid to stay safe?
- Planning on climbing a mountain or going scuba diving? (Or didn’t even think of it but now you want to?) Check if you’ll need to bring your own special gear, do any courses or practice anything before leaving!
- What’s the local language? Will you need to learn a little to get by?
- What’s the local currency? Keep an eye on the best time to exchange!
- Short trip? Make sure you find out as much about your destination as possible so you can fully take advantage of your time there. You don’t want to arrive back home disappointed for missing out on something. (Don’t worry if you do, it’s just an excuse to go back!)
- Long Trip? Make sure you’re fully equipped with everything you need to take on your big adventure and roughly know what you’re up against.
- What style of travelling do you want to do? Are you going to be a back-packer or a suitcase roller? Either way figure out what you need to bring and try your best to pack light for optimal comfort! Remember, you can always buy things when you arrive.
You’ve Made It!
Wow! Suddenly that dream destination isn’t looking so foggy. You’re saving, you’re working hard and you know what you need to get done to make it all happen. It’s real and it’s possible. Congratulations, your travelling dream is now a reality and you will be on that plane before you know it!
Take me with you?