When people think about traveling the world and taking vacations, one of the first things that come to mind is the cost. This thought usually falls in line right after daydreaming about the cocktail on the beach, when reality sets in. Those of us on a limited income or tight budget instantly feel that to travel the world is nothing more than a dream for now, but that it will happen “someday.”
For many of us, that “someday” is always down the road. We can see it across the field, but as we progress through life, it never seems to get any closer. New obstacles arise, families get started and grow, financial situations change, and we prioritize work above travel because its what keeps the bills paid, mouths fed and we have coworkers depending on us to arrive every day and do our part to keep the workflow going.
Why you should travel now
Traveling anywhere, even a few hours away from your home is a great way to recharge your batteries and reset your soul. You’re given a chance to leave stress behind and reflect on life in a new environment and with that can help to find new perspective and love of life.
Like a much-needed rest after a long day of work, a vacation (even a small one) can have you feeling well-rested and ready to get back to work.
Parents can understand this feeling better when they think about how much a date night or a few hours breaks from the kids can help them to come back to the house happy, distressed and ready to tackle the challenges of parenthood.
It doesn’t make you a bad person for wanting or needing small breaks now and again, it actually makes you human. Taking yourself out of a stressful or overwhelming environment can help lower your blood pressure as well as help you with some levels of depression.
Unfortunately, traveling anywhere comes with a standard setlist of expenses, including gas or airfare, lodging, and food. Not to mention, there can also be the additional cost of taking time off of work. This is all good valid points that shouldn’t be taken lightly, but with proper planning and foresight, you can travel the world on any budget.
Cheap travel ideas
Low-income families with EBT or WIC care capable of getting discounted or free entry into zoos, parks, and museums all across America. This means that with proper planning, you can take a drive a few hours from home and enjoy a frugal vacation without causing financial stress.
Another great idea, weather permitting is taking a fun camping trip. Camping can be incredibly frugal for a solo traveler and a group. By choosing free camping locations, getting low-cost gear and delicious budget-friendly campfire meals, you can have a fun weekend away from electronics and the hustle and bustle of life.
How much to budget for a vacation
The Credit Donkey reports that the average person pays over $1000 per person for vacation. That’s about the same as a mortgage payment in some areas. It also has you wondering, “how do families afford vacations?”
The answer is that a lot of them will take out loans or place the vacation on a credit card so that they can be in the here and now and enjoy some away from home time. This, of course, costs them more, in the long run, thanks to interest rates and while their credit reports might look decent, it may not be the best option for everybody. So I’m going to share some great tips for helping to show you how to travel the world on a budget.
How to travel on a budget
The first step- Determine where you want to go
Location is an essential factor when deciding on a budget. When you know where you want to go, you can figure out everything else.
- Where is your destination?
- How do you get there? Car, plane, boat, train?
- Lodging- will you need a hotel, Airbnb, guest room at a friend’s house, campsite or hostile?
- Will you be able to make your own food or will you be relying on fast food, restaurants, and other plans?
The second step- Decide what you want to do when you’re there
While you can simply arrive at a destination and then just make up your own itinerary as you go along, there is more than likely something specific that you actually wanted to do when you chose your destination. So what is it?
- What do you want to do while you are there?
- Do these come with additional costs?
Make a list of everything you want to do and prioritize them into two columns. Things that you want to do, no matter what. -You will go out of your way to do these tasks. And in the other column have things that would be nice to do, but won’t kill you to miss out on them if time or budget doesn’t permit.
Third step- how long will you be gone?
If you’re traveling overseas and wanting to enjoy a foreign land like Nova Scotia, you will need a more extended vacation time than if you were simply taking a weekend vacation in Austin and walking hiking trails.
- How many nights will you be away from home?
- Will you need a pet sitter, house watcher or plant waterer?
- Will you need to request time off work in advance or train someone to do your job in your absence?
Fourth step- math time
Now that you have all of the facts in front of you, you can figure out how much your dream vacation is going to cost you.
Using the information you gathered to figure out an estimated cost, and round up the price to the nearest whole number. If your math says, your vacation will cost $1,500- round it up to $2,000. Having a bigger goal than necessary is actually a great way to have enough money to cover incidentals, spontaneous adventures, and souvenirs.
Of course, it doesn’t help to look at different ways that you can cut costs too, especially on eating out at restaurants. All of those meals will add up quickly and can cost a small fortune after taxes and tips, so looking for ways to save money when eating out is an excellent way to stretch your budget even further.
So now that you have an estimated cost for your trip, how can you afford it?
Using your high estimate of cost as your target goal for the amount of money you want to save before your trip, let’s brainstorm some ways that you can make that money appear.
To make it even easier, you can set a deadline for your financial goal and break it up into smaller portions. If you want to save $2,000 for your dream vacation 1 year from now, that means you’ll need to save about $166 a month. It doesn’t seem nearly as daunting when you put it that way.
How to save money for a trip fast
Even if you have plenty of time to save up the money for your vacation so that you can travel on a budget, it’s nice to get the money saved as quickly as possible so you can move on to other things.
Here are a couple of ideas that can help you to save money for your trip quickly.
- Cut down your grocery bill.
- Choosing to eat a little cheaper doesn’t mean you have to give up health to do it. Just be more aware of prices and buy things that are in season and opt for the cheaper proteins.
- Reduce your eating out and fast food intake.
- A lot of people overspend on their eating out because they are too tired to cook, in a time crunch or just want to enjoy this luxury. By cutting back, you can easily save a lot of money every month.
- Reduce your bills.
- Cable tv can be reduced to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Youtube TV, or Sling. There are so many cheap options to choose from that you will never feel like you’re missing out.
- Being more aware of your electricity and water usage can have you saving more money by turning off lights and fixing leaky pipes.
- Calling your phone provider or car insurance company and asking about discounts you may qualify for can have you saving money as well.
- Canceling subscription packages (even if for just a short period) can also help you to save.
- Make a household budget and stick with it.
- You know what your income is and what your bills are. This will help you figure out how much money you can put aside for your vacation fund without going in debt or missing any necessary payments.
How to make extra money
If your budget doesn’t allow for much wiggle room to set money aside for your budget-friendly travel plans, the next thing to do is start finding additional streams of income. By figuring out how to make extra money and getting some side hustles underway, you can pay for your vacation without using much of your own money.
There is a lot of different ways that you can make money even if you have a full-time job or are a busy college student.
Some popular ways to make money include:
- Selling unused items
- Walking dogs
- Doing lawn care like mowing lawns or raking leaves
- Drive for DoorDash, Lyft, or Uber
- Clean houses
- Data entry
- Mturk with Amazon
- Start a small craft business
- VIPKid or another similar job (requires a bachelor’s degree)
If you are restricted to time constraints and need to find a job that you can do from home, during any hours of the day, your best bet is to find things that you can do on a computer or finding customer service jobs with flexible hours.
For faster money-making options, freelance writing is great.
Starting a freelance writing career doesn’t take much of an investment on your part and can have you making as much money as you want because you set your own pay scale and hours. It’s one of the most significant ways to make money from home or anywhere in the world because as social media and the need for the internet continues to rise, more and more virtual jobs like freelancing become available.
You never need to worry about a shortage of jobs because there is plenty for everybody and you don’t need a degree to do most of the work. On the job, the experience you gain will teach you everything you need to know to impress your clients. With different skills and experiences, you can write for companies big and small while doing it on your own time and from anywhere in the world.
Traveling the world on a budget isn’t impossible. You can go anywhere on any budget no matter what your income levels may be.
When you know where you want to go, what you want to do and set yourself a deadline and goals, you can achieve anything with hard work and perseverance.
Whether you want to go to Disney World, visit China, or just travel a few hours up the road to a scenic beach, you can do it all on any income.
Don’t let your financial fears get in the way of letting you travel the world and feed your inner wander.
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