I work full time and am a full time student with 2 more years to go.
If I can afford to travel, so can you.
We all have to set them. I just so happen to set mine on two things. School & Travel.
Sure, I can AFFORD to have a car, rent my own place and eat out all the time.
I choose to save my money by taking public transportation, getting a house with family to save on rent and make most meals at home (we do go out from time to time.)
All the money we save from foregoing these things, goes into our travel fund.
We're even saving so much money by getting a house with family members, that we will both be getting new (super fuel efficient) smart cars soon but will still be saving enough in other areas, that this will be cost effective for us.
We also don't overspend on eating out and novelties like coffees, shopping etc. We do every once in a while, but to us, that's just extra money being thrown away on calories we don't need and experiences we're missing out on.
2. Creative Thinking
We always try to find alternative methods for income.
One method (we are soon to try) is to use our cars for advertisements. Companies will pay you to advertise for them on your own vehicle, and they will pay monthly for it. You can receive up to $500 a month per vehicle doing this. More than enough to offset the cost of gas and even your car payment.
I also do freelance illustrating, graphic design & teaching locally. These are small odd jobs, but it's something to add to the travel pot.
When thinking about where we want to go next, I take to the internet.
I search peak travel times in the countries we want to visit and look for the off season times when prices are going to be lower.
Use tools like Skyscanner's anywhere/everywhere (just type in everywhere in the destination box) tool to search all flights leaving your city. Ultimate flexibility to be had here.
Because of this, we usually end up travelling in the fall. Climates are cooler, not as many kids because they're all in school and lower prices makes for a great vacation.
We also remain flexible by not tying our finances down into things like buying a house. It is definitely a part of the "American Institution of Tradition" for young people, when they reach a certain income level or point in their lives, to buy a house.
Maybe this was a viable investment 20-30 years ago, but today it's fucking stupid.
The US housing market has not quite recovered from the recession. You are essentially tying up your hard earned money in something that is depreciating rapidly (depending on your market.) You might get lucky, your house could appreciate and you might make a profit in a few years, but most likely, you'll just barely tread water or break even.
If you don't sell it, that's 30 years of debt and upkeep to deal with on top of everything else...like student loans.
We've worked really hard to keep our debt to just our student loans and cars because putting yourself in a lifetime of debt like that makes no sense (to me.)
I'm just speaking from a lower middle class perspective. Travel isn't impossible if you lay the ground work now.
4. Be Realistic
We don't stay in the poshest hotels and resorts when we travel. We certainly don't stay in rat infested hovels, but in order to travel more, we sacrifice extreme luxury.
All the places we've stayed at overseas and here at home have been perfectly adequate and lovely to us even though I'm sure most people would turn up their noses upon first glance. In fact, some of them turned out to be wayyy better than we expected.
If you really want to travel, but feel like you can't unless you stay in that super expensive hotel, I guess you'll be waiting for a while then won't you?
Obviously, my way is not the one size fits all method. I'm sure a lot of people will read this and think we are goddamn lunatics that live like hobos.
We don't. We are happy with this arrangement & the freedom it affords us to travel. Anyone can cut corners to put $ into a travel fund, it just takes action rather than wishful thinking.
Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments and check out some budgeting resources below as well.
Until next time,
Online budgeting tool mint. com helps organize your finances.
Because a Baby Sloth can only help at this point.