How to Save Enough Money to Travel the World: The Three R’s
Much to my ongoing disappointment, travel (though absolutely possible on a budget) usually isn’t cheap. And alas, it definitely isn’t free.
However, I’ve never been one to think that a lack of funds should be a deciding factor for aspiring travellers. Simply, money troubles shouldn’t stop someone from heading out on an adventure.
I’ve spoken about money and travel a few times before (if you’re interested, you can check out my initial foray into this topic here and read my lengthy budgeting advice piece here). However, as it’s such a big topic I think it’s worth coming back to- this time with a simple travel saving mnemonic.
I hope it helps out when it comes to saving enough money to travel the world!
The Three Rs of Effective Travel Saving
‘Realise’ is the first in my three part travel saving mnemonic.
Simply, a good place to start whenever you’re saving for a trip is to figure out exactly how much you’ll need in the first place and when you need it by. Be as precise as possible- having a well-defined target (amount and date) to work towards is a sure-fire way to facilitate reaching the end goal.
Consider flights, accommodation, transport, living costs, activities and bucket list items; the cost of all the travel gear you’ll need, spending money, cost of souvenirs you might want and so on- the more specific the better.
It might be a scary number. However, having a realistic expectation of the amount is important if you’re going to make your goal a reality.
From here, you could consider ways to bring that hypothetical number down. For example, how about flying from an alternate destination? Or, what about travelling out of peak season? How about borrowing clothing and gear from friends? Do you really need to bungee jump and skydive? Etc etc.
(Read my travel budget tips for a comprehensive list of budgeting suggestions.)
Okay, so you have a target figure for which to aim. Maybe it’s a little demoralising- how the hell will you be able to get that amount together? Far easier not to try, right?
If it’s getting you down, try redefining the issue. In psychology, positive reframing is a technique used to take the emotional edge off a challenging situation. Here, by redefining the challenge of earning the money we need for travel into something positive, we’re doing the same thing.
Instead of thinking it a chore to earn this wretched money, turn it into a positive endeavour in your head. In reality, it’s true that when we work for something we value it far more than otherwise. Initial effort begets later appreciation.
It’s a similar effect to enjoying your food far more when you’re absolutely starving, or realising the sheer magnificence of a simple glass of water when you’re totally parched.
Simply, a reward is far sweeter when a level of suffering has preceded it.
Through a quirk of psychology, if you work for your money and pay for your trip, you will acquire a new found appreciation for it that would otherwise be unavailable. You will own it, it will be yours and no-one elses; you’ll know the value and appreciate it all the more as a result. Look forward to this eventual outcome.
Here’s a Dag Hammarskjold quote I find incredible inspiring:
Do not live off stolen goods. Instead, set your target, see the value in working towards it and look forward to reaping the benefits of that work in the end.
The third R, reduce, is the final step to help you save money for world travel. This is the fun part after realising your target and reframing the hustle.
By reduce, I mean save. And, by save I basically mean living minimally and doing whatever it takes to get that money together. It helps to see it as all part of the fun; to devote and obsess over this process.
Define yourself as someone who is saving- ingratiate it into your identity. We are the stories we tell ourselves, so, tell yourself you’re a saver!
Those micro saving decisions (to cook at home and not eat out, have a coffee at home rather than at Costa, to drink lime and soda (only if they don’t charge for the soda) at the bar, watch a film at home instead of the cinema; refuse party invitations and nights out etc etc etc) will all add up at a macro level.
Just like the old saying goes, if you look after the pennies, the pounds will look after themselves.
It pays to reduce the amount of stuff you have too. You probably own far more than you need and over-owning is a recipe for unhappiness- over time our things tend to own us. Knowing that you can flog your things for extra cash too, it’s a good time to start shedding everything that’s unnecessary.
Over time and with effort, such reductions can lead to a wealthier life both financially and in general. Combined with efforts to scrimp, save and scrounge every last penny together that you can, you’ll soon find that once demoralising and outlandish figure drift within reach!
So, there you have it- my three Rs for travel saving! What do you think? Do you have any other strategies and techniques for saving that I’ve missed out? Let me know in the comments!