Think you can’t travel? Think again.
Just a decade ago, the only place I’d ever been outside the States was Canada. And, let’s face it; crossing the border for a few days barely counts.
Fast forward to 2017 and I’ve visited almost 20 countries (some multiple times) and have booked plans to visit several more this year. So, what changed?
My Journey to Affordable Travel
Before I started traveling, I believed a lot of things that just weren’t true. I knew traveling was super expensive. I was certain that only rich people could afford to travel in style.
I resigned myself to the fact that I’d have to see the world when I had the time and money – which probably meant during retirement. Of course, I was also spending $1,000 a month on food, pumping out hundreds a month in car payments, and bleeding money out the wazoo.
So, I put my bucket list on hold, waiting for the day when the stars would align and my travel dreams would fall into place.
But then, an almost magical thing happened – I decided to get my financial house in order. Once I started tracking my spending and sticking to a budget, it became clear that I already had the money I needed to travel. The time was now!
5 Limiting Behaviors Standing Between You and the World
When it comes to affording travel, we’re often our own worst enemies. We get stuck in a rut, not making the most of the money we already have. But, just because you aren’t a millionaire doesn’t mean you can’t travel like one. Here are some common things that may be keeping you from seeing the world.
Believing Travel is “Too Expensive”
Money. It’s the most common excuse for locking your doors, shutting your windows, and staying at home. Yes, travel costs money… but that doesn’t mean you can’t afford it. There are dozens of ways to save on travel if you’re willing to put in a little bit of effort. Researching cheap destinations, using credit card rewards, purchasing city passes, gathering loyalty points, shopping through travel portals – these things can save you thousands of dollars. Heck, we use them all to travel the world for pennies on the dollar, and you can too! You just have to know where to look.
Did you know that a majority of American workers (55%) don’t use all of their vacation days? That’s appalling! You deserve time off. It’s good for you, it’s good for your family, and it’s good for your productivity. Don’t let co-workers or bosses guilt you into forgoing a vacation. Refuse to feel guilty for using your money wisely and creating a plan to see the world. Misery loves company, but don’t let others pressure you into joining them in theirs. Use your vacation benefits. You earned them.
Everybody has debt, right? Wrong. Once we decided to become debt-free, it changed our lives. We believe debt is the single biggest obstacle standing between you and the life of your dreams. It weighs you down and keeps you stuck exactly where you’re at. If it’s bad enough, it might even pull you under. When you owe money to others, you have fewer resources to use on yourself. So, the next time you think about picking up a new car loan or making payments on Christmas gifts, ask yourself if it’s worth it. Without debt, you may be able to afford that trip to Aruba you’ve always dreamed about.
Living Beyond Your Means
Accumulating debt is a symptom of living beyond your means, but that’s not the only warning sign. Even if you’re not running up big credit card bills or taking out huge car loans, you could still be living on the edge. By spending every dollar you make, you’re costing yourself the chance to enjoy the things you truly love. If you really want to find extra money for your travel budget, cut back on the things that don’t matter so you can start spending on the things that do. Using a monthly budget and tracking your expenses is a great way to help with this.
Being Inefficient With Your Money
Sometimes, we falsely convince ourselves that a goal is too difficult to achieve. As a result, we don’t even try. We throw our hands in the air and claim we can’t afford to travel; then, we go and blow our money on drinks, clothes, and other crap instead. Here’s the real story: If you’d like to travel, you can – but you might need to make some hard decisions. Creating a plan helps you do just that. Here’s a good way to start:
- Research where you want to go and how much it will cost.
- Create a travel fund and start saving specifically for your trip. It helps to keep it in a separate account.
- Start a monthly budget. This helps you save money on things you don’t care about so you can spend on things you do – like travel!
- Search for ways to save even more – including sale prices, traveling off-peak, using loyalty points, etc.
- Follow through with your plan!
Financial Tools for Planning Your Travels
Now that you know where to start, here are some tools that can help you save money for the trip of your dreams:
Tiller – Tiller is a great new app that helps you create a budget and track your expenses in one place. After setting your monthly goals, Tiller automatically tracks your expenses and updates them on a daily basis. That way, you know exactly where you’re at throughout the month. At just $5/month, I highly recommend it. Use this link and get your first month of Tiller for FREE!
Debitize – Speaking of great new apps, Debitize is one of my favorites! This app allows you to pursue credit card rewards without worrying about debt. Just connect your accounts, and Debitize will deduct money from your checking account each time you swipe your card. About a week before they’re due, Debitize will automatically pay off your cards for you so you never spend more than you have. I think it’s brilliant… and it’s FREE! Join here and get a $10 credit toward your next credit card bill.
BBVA Compass Checking Account – Starting a travel fund is a great way to save for a big trip! Generally speaking, these funds work best if you keep your travel money in a separate account from your general funds. That way they don’t get mixed up and accidentally spent. Plus, watching your travel fund grow is a fun way to stay motivated. You can open a free online checking account with a deposit of $25 here.
Free Rewards Advice – If you’re ready to take a trip and plan to use credit card rewards, I’m happy to help. Just tell me where you want to go, and I’ll create a customized rewards plan to help you get there. Get started with your FREE plan here!
You don’t need Warren Buffet’s bank account just to get your travel on. By planning ahead and making a few simple financial adjustments, you can use the money you already have to see the world. Discovering this changed our lives, and I hope it changes yours too.
Thanks for reading. Until next time, happy traveling!