So many people put off travelling for years or never end up going simply because they think it will be too difficult to save up the money to go. Others scoff at young people who want to travel and assume that they are privileged or their parents are paying for them to jet off to exotic places.
But that’s not the case!
If travelling is something you desperately want to do, then nothing should stand in your way. Provided you have an idea of the length of trip to want to go on, the general area (i.e. Asia is super cheap whereas western Europe is not), how many activities you want to do, and what sort of transport you’ll use, it is possible to roughly estimate what your budget will be and how much you need to save.
Firstly, the most obvious thing you can do and the easiest if you’re not in college or at university, is to get a job. Try not to be too picky (although don’t land a job that will make you miserable for months while you save) and work as many hours as possible to save those pennies! In my gap year I worked in a camping store for 7 months and travelled for 5 months, so it balanced out well and I managed to save enough for a couple of big trips. Overall, even if it’s not that exciting, it’s a means to an end.
If you find it difficult to save, though, or think “but where do I start? How much do I need to be saving per week/month?”
Well, try to start off with a small amount; if you begin by saying you’ll save £700 a month and you’re earning £800, then that’s probably not realistic. Take into account whether you’re paying for rent, house bills, food, petrol, and social activities.
Cutting things out altogether is also unrealistic, and will probably affect your mindset negatively over a prolonged period of time and lead you to resent saving and maybe even travel altogether. Instead of saying you’ll not eat out at all for the next 3 months while you save, try to just limit yourself to how often you do eat out. Then try to do the same with how much fuel you put in your car, how many snacks you buy (admittedly difficult/impossible), how often you get your nails done or how many new clothes you buy, and you’ll eventually be saving little bits here and there and eventually you’ll realise how easy it is to save on the bigger things and end up putting away a significant portion of your wages.
Secondly, let your friends know that you are saving for something you really care about. If they are true friends, they will understand that you can’t afford to do all the things you used to do.
Don’t feel guilty about saying no to social events; instead, try to persuade your friends to meet up and do things that are cheaper (or better yet free) and still have just as much fun. My friends were great when I was saving for my travels, and instead of expensive nights out where we couldn’t even talk to each other properly (at the risk of sounding like such a grandma), we went for walks around the local lakes and parks, had movie nights, BBQs, or went for coffee and cake!
Another way to raise funds for travelling is to work with a charity and raise money through them. This is only really applicable to those who want to get involved with some kind of volunteering or charitable cause while they’re away, as you can’t really expect people to ‘sponsor’ you to go on a luxury holiday!
However, if you did want to do something for a good cause while you travel, there are plenty of options, such as bag packing in your local supermarket, hosting a bake sale or a dinner party for family and friends, dog walking in your neighbourhood, doing a beach clean-up, or doing a sponsored sporting event. The list goes on and there are so many opportunities to raise money in this way, just make sure to do plenty of research beforehand and try not to ask the same people for sponsorship every time.
Finally, don’t go overboard with buying things for your travels. It’s important to bear in mind the size of your backpack or suitcase, weight restrictions and your general comfort when carrying your luggage. I promise you will never need as many clothes as you think you do, as more often than not you will have access to laundry of some kind, so don’t waste your money on buying loads of new clothing. Also be mindful of how many expensive pieces of equipment you take, like phone, camera, tablets etc. Try to look for a good deal on gadgets, make sure they’re well protected, and if you’re really unsure or worried that they might end up lost, damaged or stolen, then again I just wouldn’t waste money on them.
I hope some of these tips might help you realise that it IS possible to save up enough money to travel! Of course there are many other methods of saving but over the years I’ve found that these work best for me and are really simple to incorporate into my everyday life. Please share if you have any other helpful tips!