Countdown to 100 countries

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

How do I afford to travel?


I get asked this question quite a lot by friends so I figured a few of you might also be curious about it. I always find this quite an odd question because I afford to travel the exact same way everyone else does; working really hard at my job! What amuses me is that usually the people asking me how I afford it earn a lot more than I do and so I'm always like...??? hello??? I'm obviously not going to talk about the actual amount of my wage since that is massively taboo but basically half of my wage goes on my house, bills and food, some goes into my savings and after that the rest I spend on what I want. I could save more but for me it's also about balance and saving more would mean not doing the things that I want to do. Since travel is a massive priority for me that's what I choose to spend it on.

I am quite frugal with everything else. I don't really spend money on clothes very often, or on meals out since I love cooking from scratch. Although I like going for nights out I'm a lightweight and don't tend to drink that much. I have a phone bill, gym membership and always spend something on a type of sport (I tend to go through hobbies quickly) but that's it so the rest I put towards travel. Even when I'm away, although I'm happy to spend money on activities and sight-seeing, I save money on my accommodation by staying in B&Bs, with friends or in AirBnB's for the most part. For example, in Barcelona recently I stayed in a rooftop pool hotel with my friend because we decided to splash out a little - it ended up being really far out, very expensive and the pool was tiny but for the same price as the hotel I could have bought flights somewhere else - lesson learned.

I have a lot of friends who spend like me but then save everything, some who spend lots every month on meals out and fancy drinks and some who travel a lot and save nothing. I don't think there's anything wrong with any of those options, it's just finding what works with you and your budget. I personally would love to be able to go shopping all the time, eat out and have drinks all the time, after all who wouldn't want to be in that situation...but I can't, not without giving up on travelling so that's what I choose to go without to afford my trips away. I would also love to travel even more but I don't want to end up without any savings either. I feel that so long as I pay my bills and have some money put aside for a rainy day then I can travel with the remainder. I also really enjoy travelling and I feel that I work hard so that I can enjoy my life; I don't want to just sit on a (v.small) pile of money feeling miserable, I want to gain experiences and see the world.

When I was younger and earned genuinely minimum wage (working full-time) I used to have another part-time job just so I could still afford to go away. I've also had jobs abroad to mix travel and work when I wouldn't have otherwise been able to afford it. For the most part I've travelled between jobs and I would massively recommend that because when you are not limited by time you can be much more flexible and save yourself a lot more money by taking that flight with the long layover or catching the train where you can. Of course, it's not an option for everyone and I understand that might be impossible for some to get away often but I think if you are really determined and careful with money you can still get away on trips every now and then. It helps that a lot of my friends live abroad (I made them working abroad and at University) so I can also save money staying with them and going to the more local type places when I'm away.

I work by the philosophy that you either have time or you have money. It's rare to get both so if you're ever in a position where you do then I would personally book some flights because you don't know when you will get the chance again. It seems harder and harder to get away as the years go by and responsibilities slowly creep up. I think you have actively carve and shape the life you want to create for yourself or it will pass you by. Another thing that spurs me on is that you really don't know whats round the corner. I hope I don't develop an illness and die young *touch wood* but there are no guarantees for a long life so I want to make the most of it and for me, my current goal is getting to see 100 countries. I'll be 31 countries down after my next trip so there's still a long way to go.

Anyway, I hope that's cleared a few things up and that you manage to get away on some trips this year.

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