Every time I tell a friend or coworker I’m going off on another adventure, I get the same reaction: “Where do you get all this money from?!”
Let me assure you, my family is not rich, nor am I. My parents do not pay for my trips. I don’t have a side hustle that earns me extra cash. I’m making an honest living as a Copywriter in pharmaceutical advertising in suburban New Jersey. I have just as many financial responsibilities as many other people my age.
Let’s see a rundown of my expenses, shall we? My car lease, my car insurance, gas, my hefty student loans, a cell phone, savings, retirement plan, dental insurance, Netflix (priorities), and honestly, I can’t even remember what else.
The key to traveling? Don’t spend your money on anything else. You may not like it, but it’s the truth.
There’s no secret formula. There’s no magical equation to fit into your budget that will allow you enough money to travel. It’s about being smart and adjusting your priorities.
I used to be a shopaholic. I would “need” new clothes and shoes before I could wear the last thing I bought for the first time. I preferred to eat out rather than cook myself a meal. I was a money-spending machine, and I know many people who can validate that.
If you want to start traveling a lot, you just have to start prioritizing it. The truth of the matter is this: if you value something, you will pay the money for it. If you value going out with your friends over going on a road trip, that’s what you’ll spend your money on.
If you’re looking for ways to put more money into your travel piggy bank, look no further, my friend:
If you’re a foodie, start making your meals at home more often.
The average American spends about $232 per month to eat out. You could save big time by making your meals at home. With that money you save, you could purchase a round-trip flight to Austin, TX instead. Get online and search up some yummy recipes that are easy to make. There’s plenty of them out there and totally worth it.
If you’re a shopaholic, ask yourself what’s more important.
According to Who What Wear and award-winning financial planner, Pete Dunn, you should be spending 5% of your monthly earnings on clothing. While that’s great advice, the money could be spent elsewhere if you’re dying to travel. If your take home pay each month is $3,000, there could be better ways to spend that $150 allowance.
For example, a weekend in this cabana from Airbnb could cost you $157.
So, you decide: a weekend in a Colombian cabana or that new outfit?
If you’re a smoker, consider another benefit from quitting.
In 2011, the average smoker spent about $1,500 a year on cigarettes. With the rising prices, I can only imagine that number is much more now.
I spent less than $1500 on my entire road trip to Portland, Maine from New Jersey. I also spent less than half of that on a round trip flight for a two-week trip to England and Scotland for Christmas and New Year.
Besides the health benefits to quitting, there can be some travel benefits, too!
If you’re a partier, spend some quiet nights in.
The average American spent $454 on alcohol last year. Making a couple stops at the liquor store per year will still cost you some money, but with the extra cash from avoiding the bars, you can reallocate it to a trip.
Put it towards meals while you’re away, use it for gas to go on a road trip, or purchase tickets for an activity in a new place. A couple hundred spare dollars can go a long way when you’re booking a vacation.
At the end of the day, everyone will prioritize areas of their life differently. I will always prioritize travel while my friends may prioritize nights out. You may prefer to buy some new clothes each month while others would rather go to the movies every weekend.
Do some research and take a look at where your money’s going. When you make some changes and shift your budget, you can set off to see some pretty cool places!