A lot of my friends ask me how I do it, how I obtain a budget that allows me to travel. I certainly don’t have a good paying job and I am still in school, so being rich is definitely not the only requirement to travel. The advice I follow is to have a goal and stick to it; as simple as that sounds it takes patience, planning and a sense of adventure.
There is a balance of priorities. Ask yourself, what is the most important thing(s) you want to do during your life? Whatever it is, make it happen. When I ask myself what I want out of life it is to travel, to love and find peace. So when my friends ask me how I manage to do it, to save money, I can only think, how can I not?
I want to make it clear in my blog that I don’t have a high paying job. I live in southern California, one of the most expensive places to live. Even the gas prices are sky high. I make about $260 a week at my regular job. I have bills like everyone else. I pay $300 a month in rent, $90 a month in car insurance, add that in with buying groceries, filling up my gas tank for $70 and taking care of my cats, it gets exhausting.
It all adds up. Living paycheck to paycheck is something I have gotten used to. But what I do differently is I save a little bit here and there. Even saving $25 a week adds up in the end.
During tax season my second job is doing data entry with my parents for their business. I am very fortunate and try to never take it for granted. All the money I make with my second job I put in my savings account.
Also, I save my tax refund and used that for most of the plane ticket expense. A lot of people that get a refund I hear saying are going ot use it to pay off some bill or car payment. But, is that what you really want to do? Instead of putting all your hard-earned money into responsibility cubbies, make your own happiness a priority and duty.
My last not-so-secret ingredient is to use those vacation hours! I recently read a fascinating article I found on the Expedia website about vacation deprivation: http://viewfinder.expedia.com/features/2013-vacation-deprivation-study
A lot of people don’t use all their paid time off which on a tangent totally boggles my mind. Why would you not use your vacation hours!? I cashed mine out and used it to buy my bus passes for Ireland. It definitely won’t cover my rent/bills while I am gone, but that is a worry for another time. Even if the vacations hours aren’t enough to afford time off, it can cover the cost of part of your trip.
My trip to Ireland certainly won’t be a four-star resort experience, which truthfully doesn’t entice me anyway. You have to be up for adventure and excitement if you really want to get out there and explore. The cheaper, the more time you can go and the less worry you will have when you return to your life back home.
Also, don’t be impulsive and hasty when it comes to buying plane tickets, places to stay, etc. Shop around and make sure you are getting the best deal. This takes patience, but will save you so much money in the long run.
The moral of the story: don’t feel vacation deprived anymore! Start saving a year in advance even if it is only a few dollars every week. Just set it aside and don’t find any excuse to take it out of your savings. A year from now you will be going on the trip of a lifetime and you don’t need to be rich to do it.