One question we get asked a lot is how do we afford to travel? There isn’t a simple answer to this, but we’ve created something that works for us. What works for us might not work for you, but it can give you some ideas! One thing to remember is there are different types of traveling. Backpacking on a budget, mid-range that crosses a bit of frugalness with #YOLO and then the luxurious option. Once you figure out what type of travel you want to do, you need to create a plan to get you there. [Unless your bank account already allows you to do whatever you want.]
First things first, pack a damn lunch. Spend 2 hours on a Sunday or Monday to get groceries and do a meal prep. I cannot begin to tell you how much those weekly trips out for lunch add up. [Okay my Tim Horton’s addiction costs me roughly $30 a month, which I KNOW I shouldn’t be doing but I can’t stop. Send help.] Jeff worked it out that our lunches cost around $1.80 a day, which is way better than eating out daily and far healthier as well.
Secondly, dinners. Limit yourself to eating out for dinner. I don’t think that most people realize how much eating out costs. They’d rather see the $15 – $45 a day go towards food than the $120 grocery bill once a week due to convenience. In addition to lunch meal prep, we also make freezer meals that are easy to pop into the crock pot or oven when I get home from work. This frees up a lot of time and is also cost efficient.
Recently we took a long hard look at all of our expenses to try to cut back some costs since we are saving up for long term travels. By doing so, we got rid of our gym memberships and purchased Beach Body on Demand and some free weights to use at home. Of course there are people who definitely prefer the gym over home workouts, but this is something that we are really enjoying. There are copious amounts of workouts to choose from so it never gets repetitive. Let’s be honest, we Netflix and chill a lot more than we should, so cable didn’t make sense. After cutting the cable, I didn’t realize how many people do not have it anymore. There are countless different options out there and they are less expensive. [Check out AppleTV, Android Box or Kodi.] Lastly, we both have work phones and a personal phone. We decided to get rid of one of our personal phones and just use the work phone. It’s more convenient to carry around one phone and cuts back one phone bill, which in Canada, they are the worst. In total, we have saved $200 a month. That’s over 2 grand a year. That might not seem much too some people but in reality, that’s more than enough to purchase a flight for two people! When you have travel on the brain, every transaction you make you’ll think of how far that money would go in another country. If we spend $30 on lunch, we think about how that’s one night at a nice hotel in Bali. Or when I splurge on a Kate Spade purse, that’s a trek to Machu Picchu!
Once we have funds saved, we create a general idea of where we want to go and what are the must do attractions that I’ll cry if we don’t do. For instance, when we went to Vietnam, we knew we wanted to go to Ha Long Bay, Tam Coc, Cu Chi Tunnels and spend time on a beach. Research the cost of all of these attractions, average cost of hotels and food, flights, a realistic time frame of how long to be gone for with a little bit of wiggle room for transportation and unexpected costs, and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what to spend. Some people book their vacations around what flights are on sale. Once we decide on a destination I research the lowest cost of airfare and set a tracker on Google flights and watch it for a bit. Don’t book too late though or you’ll end up paying double at times.
Make sure you know what type of traveler you are as I mentioned earlier. To recap, read some blogs or ask Google what the average cost of airfare, accommodation, transportation, food and attractions are of the area you want to go to. Remember that places like South America and South East Asia are going to be incredibly less expensive compared to Australia and Europe so plan wisely. $2,000 might get you two weeks in Australia but if you are canny it can stretch about two months in Thailand.
There you have it. Our mess of a way that we are saving to travel. We’ve only been to seven countries together, but we are making it work with a lot more in store! We want to know how you are saving as well! What do you do differently than us? Have these tips inspired you? Leave us a comment below!