One of the biggest complaints I get to listen to is how people "never have the money to travel". Sadly, for some people this is the truth in their current situation. For many though, this situation is one of their own doing just from their daily habits, and it was one that I found myself in before I booked my first trip abroad to Costa Rica. at the time I was making a little more than minimum wage here in Massachusetts, and wasn't spending money wisely. In the middle of this learning experience, I also had to buy a car and get my own insurance, which lead to me seeing what was important, what I could sacrifice, and what I didn't need. In the end, I paid for my trip and was able to book (as of this writing) three more trips, as well as fund upgrades to my travel gear. In the end, I hope that my experience can help others see how they can afford travel too.
Step One: Snack Smarter
This was one of the biggest ones for me. Snacking smarter. At my job we are always on the go and I would spend $5 in the morning and probably $4 in the afternoon everyday at work on waters, gatorade, snacks, or candy. Thats at least $7 per day, or $35 per week that I was spending on snacks. Lets face it, theres no cheap way to snack at a gas station. Drinks and snacks can add up fast there, and there are better ways to do it if you have to snack. You can buy in bulk at wholesale stores, and even ditch Gatorade for water. Instead of buying a bag of popcorn to snack on, pop it at home and pack it in a baggie. Doing this can save a ton of money. If you were spending the same I was at the gas station, thats $140 per month in savings. Just to reference that, my first trip to Costa Rica was paid in monthly installments equalling about $160 per month. You're already almost able to travel.
Step Two: Eat Smarter
While this one is a great way to save a lot of money, its also a good way to be healthier, so theres a benefit to you, and to you're wallet. If you eat takeout even three days per week for lunch, thats probably going to cost you $10 per day. You're now spending $30 per week on fast food. If you decided to bring a sandwich to work when you would normally go out to eat, you might spend $10 per week on the food. Thats going to save you $20 per week, or a total of $80 per month. For people that normally eat out for dinner or lunches more often, you're going to save even more money, and be able to travel even more, if work lets you of course.
Step Three: Ditch the Subscriptions
While this one won't save you much, it will save just a little, and a little can go a long way over the course of a year. If you have Netflix, and only watch shows that come out in the spring on it, cancel your Netflix the rest of the year. if you only have a Netflix subscription for 3 months out of the year instead of keeping it year round, thats going to save you $81. Have a game console that you pay your yearly fee to access online, but don't even use it anymore? PS4 is going to cost you $50 a year. If you cancelled both because you're not using them, thats a combined $131 that you just saved.
Now put all those savings together, because in total they just helped you save $2,771 per year. If you did that for two years, without any other changes, or any other excess savings going to this account, you would end up with $5,542. That means that you could book any of the trips that I have booked, or currently have booked, because the highest priced one was $4,200 including flights. It was simple little changes that helped me afford traveling, and it is the same small changes that I hope helps more people afford to travel anywhere their heart desires around the world.