As much as we would all love to think otherwise…money really does make the world go round. And sadly, we need $$ to travel. BUT the glorious truth is that you can afford to travel. All it takes is proper budgeting and determination. You HAVE to make travelling your priority. That is the key.
If you have a dream vacation that you want to take, but treat it as a “one day when I walk into some extra money I will go” situation, it is never going to happen. Lets be honest, there is always something else to pay for. There is always something else that money can go towards. You will never have the money handed to you. So you have to make it a priority.
I will be honest and say that I cannot speak for those who have debt in their pocket. I have been lucky enough and budgeted well that I have never dealt with large amounts of debt that eat up my monthly income…that o fcourse can make things trickier, so I just wanted to add in that quick little disclaimer.
Before my trip to Europe, I never really thought about saving for big trips. I just did not think it was possible. Travel for two months, how could anyone with a normal income afford that? I really thought that was just for rich kids. But then I was proved otherwise and began saving for it myself. And I realized that it was very much possible to save for travels, short or extended. It just takes hard work, patience and wanting it really bad.
Now first things first, BUILD a monthly budget. I cannot express enough how much just having a simple excel spreadsheet with all your income and expenses laid out in front of you can make the world of difference. It really is as easy as this. Just add up all your income, and then go through your expesnes. I include everything – all my bills, and all my variable expenses like groceries for example. Then I give myself a set amount per week spending for entertainment etc. The important part is to give yourself a realistic amount to still enjoy life. You dont want to stretch yourself too thin here, otherwise it will be impossible and you will get downhearted. Now once you have done this math, the number you are left with is the amount per month that you should bank in your savings every month. Once you have this, you have an idea of the kind of savings you can put away.
From here, I would start budgeting out your trip. I go way into detail, probably too much detail. and try to budget airfare, lodging, food, entertainment, daily mis expenses and a safety fund in case of emergencies. Once you have done this, you can see how much said trip will cost, and then you can see how long it will take you too save up for this trip.
But again, make this is your PRIORITY. Savings go in the bank right away, and try not to even think about it. I treat my savings as money that I do not have. It goes into that account and does not come out until my departure date. Also, when I get extra money from wherever, it goes straight into my savings because its money you never had right? So do not even think of what you can buy from it, just put it right in the bank.
The important part is realizing that you don’t have to be rich to travel, you just have to make it your priority and recognize that it takes time and determination to make it happen. I usually give myself a year to save up for a trip. Depending on your income and the type of trip, you might need less or more. I know that it could feel like forever away and its hard to visualize going that far in advance and in turn, saving for something that far in advance. But it is soooo worth it.
There is such an amazing feelings knowing that you paid for that vacation, you earned it. I remember the year and few months of savings before my Europe trip, and the feeling of realizing that I paid for the entire thing (well majority of it, aside from gifts of cash towards it). It is such a feeling of accomplishment and earning. The best part is? When you do it once, you know that you can save up for it again!
This may all sound simple, and it is. However, 7 years ago, I never would have thought it was possible to save money for travelling like I do, and but then I did and it feels great. So I want others to realize how possible it is for them as well! I get told that I was so lucky so be able to travel Europe or that I am so lucky to be take part in the travels that I do, etc, but the truth is – luck has very little to do with it. I just know that I love to travel and so I have made it a priority for my money to go towards that. I accept that it means not spending my money on material things, or not saving towards big life purchases like a house. But I get to enjoy one of my passions and get amazing memories from all those trips, which is priceless at the end of the day.
My point in all this is to help you realize that money should not be a reason to stop you have from pursuing a dream. I talked about travel as the example here, but really, apply this to anything that you want but need $$ for. Yes, everything requires cash, however I truly believe that money is just a small roadblock and once you work your way around it then you can keep on heading towards that dream. So don’t let the price tag stop you from pursuing your something more than planned!
– xoxo Veronica
** photos are taken by others-please click on them to follow the link to originals