Money Shouldn't Stop You Travelling: Here's Why and How
On lists of potential travel plan challenges, I'm guessing money, or the lack of it, sits towards the top. Unfortunately, money can often feel like a deciding factor when it comes to travel. What with all the costs involved, the price might seem out of reach and put aspiring travellers off going. Here's how to stop that happening.
Reframing the Issue
Rather than letting financial restraints get you down, I want to propose a new way of thinking about the problem.
Having insufficient funds in the bank shouldn't deter you from travelling. Instead, think about the cost of travelling in terms of the rewards of delayed gratification.
Simply, there is huge value in putting in the time and effort to earn the money necessary for your adventure: everything feels better when you’ve worked hard for it.
I cannot emphasise this point enough: you will enjoy your travel experience more if you’ve earned it. You know when you’re absolutely starving, doesn’t food taste way better? Or, when you’re so thirsty that you'd drink practically anything, how much more satisfying is it when you eventually get your hands on a drink?
It is exactly the same thing with travel.
If through sweat and tears you earn every penny of your experience, you’ll be rewarded in kind.
Sure, there will be people whose relatives are able to pay for their trip and that’s great too- it is unlikely to take anything away from the experience, and they’ll definitely be there sooner.
But, and this is a serious but, it is impossible to get the satisfaction of having truly earned the experience this way.
I promise you, every single thing you pay for on your trip, from flights, to your breakfast, to a sky dive, will feel more gratifying in the knowledge that it is your money that you’re spending, which you worked hard to earn.
What’s more, spending your own money will make you far more sensible with your expenditure while travelling, prolonging the experience.
It is far easier to spend someone else’s money than your own!
And, finally, spending money on the trip that you've earned gives you a feeling of ownership over the experience- it is yours and no-one can take it away from you.
An analogy might be this: winning a race with no other competitors does not feel like a victory; only with stiff competition can we relish the achievement of coming first. And so it is with travel: earning your money the hard way will provide a similar sense of satisfaction.
So, embrace the challenge of earning the money for your trip and reap the rewards. Your travels will feel far more satisfying. The respect you'll have for your money will reduce expenditure and so extend your trip. The experience will be imbued with a lasting sense of ownership and achievement that no one can take away from you.
For anyone deterred from travelling due to financial struggles, I hope that this promise will make you reconsider and get you back on the track towards travel.
Practical Ideas on Money and Travel
Part 1 was about the benefits of earning the money for your travels.
However, if you're strapped for cash, the question of how to get enough money for your trip remains. Enter part 2! Here are some suggestions for how raise the cash and how to spend the money you have.
I'll dive straight in.
Know how much you're going to need
When you travel it's a good idea to work out a rough budget- how much are you going to need each day, each week, each month? Obviously, remember that the answer to these questions often depend on how you want to live while you’re away and the things you want to do- the cost of hiking around the Cotswolds will probably differ to scuba diving in Australia!
However, the idea is the same: sit down and get an idea of the costs.
Good starting points are flights, costs of living, accommodation, and the price of activities you definitely want to do. With this knowledge, try setting yourself a target. For example, “in six months time I will have saved £500”.
From here you can keep track of your progress and adjust what you’re doing to get the money accordingly.
Through hook or crook, get the money together
How you actually get your hands on the money is up to you, but it isn’t as hard as you think to earn enough for your trip.
Whether you get a job, dip into your savings, fund raise, sell your stuff, or all of the above, there are ways to do it. Remember, as long as your expenditure is less than your income you’re on the right path!
Saving your money is key in this process. Like I mentioned in part 1, accept a certain amount of delayed gratification. Think like this:
Quit smoking, buy less stuff, downgrade your phone, walk more, socialise less- or differently, eat out less, make a packed lunch instead of going to the shops, drink less etc etc etc.
You will be surprised at how much money you can save very quickly and realise how much you’re currently spending on things you don’t need!
Sacrifice is essential
There’s a level of sacrifice to saving up for your travel experience. I’ll reemphasise my earlier point though- these kinds of sacrifices make the experience all the sweeter.
If you have limited funds but a relentless urge to travel, think about altering your preferred destination and length of your trip. Travel doesn’t have to be the extravagant round the world shindig that people always picture.
I promise you, there is great uniformity across travel experiences regardless of country or longevity. You will be excited, scared, do new and amazing things, meet inspiring people.
Ultimately you'll come back fundamentally changed and desperate to go again.
Think outside the box
Alternatively, here's a suggestion if you're an adventurous sort and have neither money or patience. Earn only enough to pay for a one way ticket and a few days worth of food and accommodation. Then simply find a job when you’re out there.
You will be surprised at how easy it is to get a job in some places. It is also a great way of meeting new people and attaining some stability when you first arrive in a new place.
Now, bear in mind that it will be more difficult to find a job in some countries that others and there may also be visa requirements too.
However, the point is this: when you have little money and an irrepressible urge to travel, there are ways around it. Indeed, travel is also absolutely possible on a budget. In fact, I’d even recommend travelling it.
Rough travel is cheap travel
Some ideas: hitch hike, free camp, rough it, eat porridge for breakfast, lunch and dinner, busk, work for accommodation etc etc. These sort of things will challenge and put you out of your comfort zone and as a result, will create new experiences and memories that will last far longer than the trip itself.
Some final thoughts
Remember these things:
- The longer the process of earning the money, the richer the experience will be
- Getting the money together is easier than you think
- You will be rewarded for the sacrifices you make;
- If you can't wait, try altering your travel plans to match your current budget
- Travelling does not have to cost as much as you think.
With these in mind, I hope that money, or a lack of it, seems like less of an obstacle. To all aspiring travellers, I wish you happy saving and happy travels.