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How I save money for a trip

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How I save money for a trip

“To travel is worth any cost or sacrifice.”

 —Elizabeth Gilbert

People I have met around the world would often stop and ask me how I travel for so long without working. The truth is I worked hard for it. I saved enough money to allow me to realise my dream of a one way ticket.

One of the main reasons people don’t travel is money. I often hear people say “I can’t afford it”, “I have bills to pay”. It’s funny, a lot of expenses disappear when I travel the world. Yes, I still have the obvious like house repayments and insurance, those will always be there. But, when I travel I don’t have the weekly fuel costs of a car or its repayments, no cable TV, I’m not spending money eating out as much, I don’t need the latest electronics or style clothing, no monthly phone bills, etc. When I sit down and add up every dollar I spend on my weekly routine, these costs are surprising.

But I also know it’s achievable to travel on the bare minimum. I met many travellers young and old. Some had just finished school and were on a 6 month trip with only a couple of thousand dollars. Similar with other people I met who had been fired from their job and just decided to escape the rat race for a while and see out their small amount of savings on a world tour. For these people and myself, we have the same thinking – money comes and money goes. We don’t let money and material things take control over our lives. We are content with only having the basics in life and our values on this have only been bolstered by solo travel.

In summary, here is my list of tips to save money:

Make travel a priority: remember why you’re doing this, your dream for a around the world trip is worth a few sacrifices.

Set a Budget: create a spreadsheet in Excel or somewhere that allows you to track each purchase you make. Do this for a few weeks and see where you spend every single dollar. It adds up quick. This should prompt a few changes in future expenditure.

Create a savings plan: Write down on a bit of paper your goal. How much do you need to save for a trip and for how long. Look both short term and long term. It’s a good idea to open a new account specifically for travel funds. Money can go in, but not come out. Don’t lose track of your goals, continue to assess and monitor these goals to stay where you need to be. You could also set an automatic transfer to savings.

Simplify your life: Review your budget spreadsheet and analyse what purchases are needs, what purchases are wants. Get rid of what you don’t need and whats not assisting you reach your dream.

Make money: Sell some stuff. Reduce or eliminate your car usage. Stop the cable TV. Reduce your utility bills. Quit smoking. Drink tap water not bottled. Cancel your gym membership. Skip the spa. Get fewer haircuts. Borrow your reading material. Do Free Things. Buy second-hand clothing. Limit Entertainment. Save on Utilities. Rent DVD’s from a Library – its free. Give a gift of service or a home made gifts. Cancel Subscriptions and Memberships. Stay in at night.

Eat out less often: For example cut back on fancy coffee drinks, try going without that chai late few days a week. Eliminating coffee from your life just might be impossible. So, instead try thinking about drip coffee, not the usual extra large with extra espresso shots. Paying $2 instead of $5 every day could save you over $1,000 a year!

Earn extra income: Try pouring beers in a pub a couple of nights a week. This will keep you from partying and spending money as well as a second income for your travels. Try working online from home to earn a little extra or mowing lawns and tending to the neighbours gardens for some extra cash on the weekend.

I was never given a free ride in life, I made the necessary sacrifices to put some money away making travel a priority. I’ve always been a hard worker. As a young whippersnapper I would go out and assist my dad on building sites to earn some extra pocket money – even giving up my school holidays and pumping waves. I grew up with a sound understanding of the importance of saving money, so as I became older it was already second nature to me. Once I knew I wanted to leave and travel, there came a point where I said I would stop buying. I knew my priority was to travel and this meant that anything I bought then would be useless now. Whatever I could do before leaving to boost my funds further was only going to add to a better experience. I sold my car, some furniture as well and appliances from my house, stopped eating out and cut down my expenditure wherever possible.

Finally, I’m stoked to have saved the funds that I needed to kickstart my trip. Originally I had planned to travel for 9 months on the funds I had. It’s now been over 12 months and I’m not done yet. I’m passionate about what I’m doing, for this reason I find a way to make it work. Wouldn’t you?


Photo by LovaLinda

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One year ago Mitch realised his dream : to leave his amazing routine on the east coast of Australia to travel from Buenos Aires to Los Angeles. He exchanged his self renovated house for a backpack, quit his great career, left his dog to his amazing parents, said goodbye to great friends and family and began a new adventure with his surfboard always waxed, ready to surf every wave on the way. He should have returned to Port Macquarie last January, but his paths since crossed LovaLinda and their destinies are now sealed. What started out as two solo travellers on their own journey has now combined into one.

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