Everyone wants to travel.
If you have ever visited a dating website, you will recall that many of the candidates say they love to travel. When you ask a person what they will do when they retire, many will say they want to travel.
To travel and to discover the world seems to be the deep desire of many people, but very few of us do it. The principal reason for not traveling is lack of money.
Is traveling a priority in your life?
I find that if anyone sets their mind to it, they can travel. All you have to do is to give a higher priority to traveling than to many of your other discretionary income activities.
Once you have determined that you are serious about traveling, then you have to determine when and where would you like to go.
When and where?
The “when” is usually determined by your job or your employer, but if you have a choice, travel off season, or at times when it is nice to get out of your city, like in the middle of winter.
Then next thing to determine is the “where.” I usually determine the “where” by distance and price.
I live in Montreal and I always like to travel south during the winter. So far my choices have been Cuba, Mexico and Dominican Republic. Those trips have been not too far and not too expensive. This year, I am hoping to go to El Salvador.
A nice tool to use is Google Flights which shows you a map of the world with a price tag of how much it costs to fly to any city.
Other important tools are Airbnb and Couchsurfing. Airbnb is a website that allows you to find spare bedrooms or whole apartments at much lower prices than hotel rooms. Couchsurfing is a website that connects you with people who are offering a stay at their home for free. If you are traveling with your family, Airbnb is the best choice. If you are traveling by yourself or with your partner, either Airbnb or Couchsurfing is ideal, it all depends on the experience that you are searching and your budget.
A hypothetical scenario.
So let’s create a hypothetical scenario. Let’s say that you want to get away for one week.
- Go to Google flights and find a flight to a new place for about $600.
- Go to Airbnb and find a room to stay for $40. Or a free place to stay by using Couchsurfing. Let’s stick to the Airbnb scenario. That will cost you $280 for a week.
- Budget $50 per day for food and attractions. $300
- Total expense = $1,180
If you divide this $1,180 by 51 weeks, that comes out to $23.14 per week. That is so achievable. Anyone should be able to do it.
Now, here are some ideas to get that extra $24 per week.
- Reduce your trips to the local coffee shop. I know that the coffee experience is important to many people, but if traveling is more important, this is one of the compromises you will have to take.
- Go less often to restaurants. I used to go almost every day, now I go about once a week. I prepare food at home with fresh vegetables faster than what it takes me to go to the restaurant.
- Rent your apartment through Airbnb while you are away. This this will provide you with a nice wad of cash for an apartment you will not be using anyway. This year, I am planning my vacation around the Montreal Grand Prix because I can get top dollar for my apartment for this weekend of high demand.
- If you still have a TV consider throwing it away, or at the very least cut your cable connection. Cable costs about $40 per month or more while Netflix costs about $8 per month.
- Buy stuff at a second hand store. I save so much money doing that. Almost all my books and furniture come from second hand stores. You are not only helping your wallet, but you are also helping the planet.
- Get into a minimalist mindset. Don’t buy things on impulse. Think twice before you bring any object into your house. Question every purchase. What do you desire more, the object or the extra dollars for traveling.
There are many ways to cut corners in order to have money for traveling. Traveling is not out of regular people’s reach. The most important ingredient is to have a real desire to travel instead of saying, “Yeah, one day I would like to travel too.”
From a money coach’s perspective
I have one thing to add: Never put traveling on your credit card. Save for it and pay for it with money already in your bank account. Being debt free is one of the highest principles in my life.
I offer money coaching services in person for people living in Montreal or via Skype if you live in the rest of Canada or the United States. The price is only $20/hour. To book a session, send me an email at email@example.com.