Everyone is always trying to find the cheapest ways to travel, or complaining that they can't travel because they can't afford it OR my personal favorite, questioning me about how I afford it. Well, it might be your own fault that you can't afford it, especially if you have expensive taste for handbags or fancy dinners.
Even if you aren't spending obscene lump sums on single purchases, all those little stops at Starbucks, weekend shopping trips and Ubers really start to add up. Most people are so focused on the "saving money by gaining money method" that they don't realize how much unnecessary spending they are doing that could be going towards their empty travel savings piggy bank.
Want to know how I can afford to travel so much? I don't spend my money on anything besides rent, food, wine, car and health insurance (that's right, I'm responsible as well!). The rest of it all goes towards traveling. I also work a lot, just like you, and put time into finding the cheapest ways to travel.
I've got the whole "how to afford to travel" thing down, so now let's figure out what's keeping you from being able to afford to travel.
1. You Suck at Saving
Don't feel bad, I'm pretty sure no one is actually good at saving money. BUT, if you actually put effort into it... or lock yourself out of your savings account... you can probably save up enough to travel for a week in about six months.
I take a certain amount out of every pay check I get and put it immediately into my savings (a.k.a. travel) account. I also suck at saving money, so I went ahead and locked my account and made it so the funds can only be touched after a certain date.
2. You Buy Expensive Things
What would you rather have, a purse or a plane ticket? If the answer is purse, you're going to have a really tough time ever being able to afford to travel. All I see when I look at a $2,000 price tag on a designer purse is a $2,000 plane ticket that could probably get me around the world.
If you really want to be able to afford to travel, put anything that's over $100 back on the shelf, and put that money in your travel piggy bank instead.
3. You Buy Unnecessary Things
Nobody actually needs an iWatch, a 3-D pen or half the shit you order on Amazon or Groupon that end up being crappy or never used. But if you keep buying unnecessary items that slowly subtract from your bank account, you're not going to be able to afford to travel. Stop buying random crap. Start traveling.
4. You Don't Consider Other Ways to Make Money
9-5'ers loovveeee to question me about how I afford to travel, since apparently being freelance "isn't a real job." Well, not only is it a real job, but it's an extremely flexible job that allows me to work for multiple people or companies whenever I want. If I want to make a little extra travel money, I'll pick up another job.
Just because your work hours are enforced, doesn't mean you can't do other things outside of them. I'd say on average I work 10 hours or more per day, and work for three other clients not including my own stuff. It IS possible to make extra money online; you just need to make the time to do it. Check out sites like Fiverr.com, elance.com or even Craigslist jobs for a ton of online work opportunities.
5. You're Terrified of Debt
I didn't get a credit card until literally a few months ago. I was so proud of the fact that I don't owe anyone any money that I just kept buying things with money I already had, not realizing the benefits of using credit, and the idea that I was sometimes turning down travel opportunities because I couldn't afford them with cash.
Using a credit card has not only allowed me to gain credit and a ton of travel reward points, but also to take the trips I want to take now and worry about paying them off when I'm older and not as adventurous later.
Oh, and yes, I understand you have student loan debts, almost everyone in America does, but hopefully that great job you got with your degree will allow you to easily pay your student loans and travels off when you're older.
6. You're Terrified of "Losing" Money
If you've ever found yourself thinking, What if I spend all this money on this trip and then it sucks, then that's a big reason why you probably think you can't afford to travel. In case you haven't seen this little quote all over social media, "You can always make more money," but you can't always make more experiences.
7. You Don't Research Affordable Travel Options
Traveling is not cheap. But it also doesn't have to be insanely expensive. Everyone wants affordable travel options, but they usually want it to just magically appear for them on a silver platter. Well get in line, sweetie. And be prepared to wait a while.
In case you haven't heard about this useful little thing called the Internet, it works wonders for just about anything, including researching cheap travel websites, flights, hotels, etc.
8. You're Not Willing to Downgrade
Oh you don't want to travel in coach, or stay at anything less than a four star hotel? Well have fun not going anywhere, and while you're at it, stop complaining about not being able to afford to travel. Getting somewhere and where you sleep shouldn't be your main concern when it comes to spending money on a trip. The important thing is actually being there and seeing the sites and culture, which will only happen if you actually get there first.
9. You're "Saving for the Future"
I hear this one a lot as well. You can't afford to travel right now, because you're saving money for a house, and kids, and a sailboat, and a golf membership, and retirement, and a funeral. I'm sorry, but did you consider that you're never going to be young and able to travel without worrying about other people soon? I really don't get why late 20s/early 30s people are trying to save for the future instead of living in the present.
Plus, do you have any idea how much valuable knowledge, skills, and character traits you gain when you travel? It adds an entirely new perspective to life, which will only help you more in the future!
10. You Really Don't Have Any Money
If after considering all of the above, you still don't have enough money to travel, it might be time to find a better job. A lot of people are underpaid, and know they're underpaid, but are too scared to ask for a raise, or try looking for a better paying job.
If that's the case, than I suggest quitting your job, maybe getting TEFL certified and moving to Thailand to teach English.