I tend to jump at any opportunity to go on a trip, whether it be abroad or within Korea (where I currently live). Many people in the past have asked me how can I afford it, and follow up with comments that if they got paid more, they too would travel. While I do get paid decently well, 55% of all my income goes into paying down my student debt, so often I have less to work with than they do. However, I have noticed that both my priorities, and my habits are different from theirs when it comes to what I do with my money. With a few minor tweaks to your life, you too can go travel. Here are some tips that I implement myself as a way to reduce costs and save money for traveling. While money saving tips and travel tips in general are a dime a dozen, I hope to have a different and fresh approach you can actually use.
#5 Don’t Have Kids!
Got your attention? Good, but let me tone it down a bit. Having kids is important to many people, and recently married couples in particular jump at the chance to start a family right away. If you hope to travel to many places in your lifetime, this is a big mistake. Now, personally, I don’t want to have kids, but I am more addicted to traveling than most people. Let me be clear, I am not saying children are a mistake and that you should never have them, but rushing to have them at such a young age is not necessary.
When you are single, dating someone, or recently married, you have a golden opportunity. You have virtually, one income for every one aspiring traveler. Tough math I know! If your girlfriend, wife, or you have a child, what often happens is that the child bearer stops working to raise them (at least for a while, which is a good thing), and suddenly, you have one income for three aspiring travelers. To add insult to injury, kids don’t even appreciate sites (or even remember them as adults) quite as much as you would. Look, there is really no rush. Take your time and enjoy your youth, either by yourself or with your significant other. Have kids at a later time! If you already have kids, leave them with your parents when you get away.
#4 Pay Cash as Much as Possible
Have you ever read on the news about someone winning the lottery, or a government project costing millions of dollars? Do you dwell on how much that is? A Boeing 787 for example, costs about $200 million, does that sound incredible? While we are aware that it is a lot of money, I am willing to bet no one got out of their seat in a rage about these amounts. That is because money amounts printed on a piece of paper (or on a screen) don’t have the same impact in our brains if we don’t physically see it. Physically feeling money leave our hands tends to make us more careful and conservative when it comes to our expenses. A sweater for $50 USD sounds reasonable, until you are letting go of the money at the counter. Use cash as much as possible and you will naturally start seeing a pattern of reduced expenses.
I used to be that kind of person who paid everything with his debit and never carried cash. I would buy things, even if I couldn’t afford them, but didn’t realize it because it was all about making the next minimum payment. While I don’t shun credit cards at all (I use point cards all the time when booking flights), their use should be minimized.