How I Afford to Travel Around the World
If you’ve ever dreamed about exotic vacation or, like me, an epic travel around the world and thought you will never be able to afford it, think again. Despite some suspicions, I didn’t quit my job to travel the world because I had won a lottery. On the contrary, I’ve realized very early in life that getting what you want is all about smart money management. The math was simple. No matter how much money I made, if I kept on spending, I would not have anything left for the things that I truly enjoyed.
So, to make my dream life a reality, I prioritized my spending and instead of wasting money around, I focused on how to save it instead. When saving money, many try to save up and fail quickly because the process is too difficult, too restrictive and not fun at all. Thus, my system is not about depriving yourself of your latte or your favorite play. Instead it is about spending your money only on what’s really desired in your life, avoiding unnecessary expenses and creating low cost alternatives for day-to-day activities
That is how it all stared and eventually allowed me to save lots of money, quit my job and travel the world. Here is the list of the Top 11 things you can start doing today to save your money and set yourself up for a top notch vacation or quit your job and travel the world like I do.
1. Coffeehouse coffee
If your heart just stopped and you are about to scream “NO”, don’t despair. I also love gourmet coffee and at one point thought I wouldn’t be able to live without my Starbucks Carmel Frappuccino. Unfortunately, even though, the $5 cup of coffee may not seem too expensive per se, believe me, before you know it that little thing may cost you over $1000 per year. Yep, over $1000.
The alternative: play your own gourmet coffee barista. Figure out what you love about your coffee and make you own, unique version at home. My guilty pleasure was the heavenly whip cream on the Carmel Frappuccino. So I bought my own in a grocery store and for a few cents made my own deliciousness each morning.
Save Money Count: $5 x 20 days per month x 12 months = $1200
Dream Travel and Vacation Fund: Use the $1200 for a round-trip flight to Europe.
2. Dinning out
Oh I was so guilty of this one. The truth is I don’t really like to cook so any excuse to eat out was always a good excuse. But when I looked at my wallet, I immediately headed for a grocery store. The truth is, if you go out for a dinner at least every other day, with average dinner costing at least $20, you may be setting yourself back over $3000 per year.
The alternative: make your meal preparation fun. Play some music, watch a movie or invite friends to cook together. If lack of time is the problem, pre-make all your meals for the week over the weekend and freeze Monday-Friday portions for easy reheating during the weak.
Save Money Count: $20 per dinner x 15 days per month x 12 months = $3600
Dream Travel and Vacation Fund: 5 star hotel accommodations anywhere in the world.
3. Sodas and snacks
This one is so common. We all like it. A little drink here, chips there, peanuts to keep us going until lunch, chocolate for the evening… Well those definitely add up. If you are picking up your snacks from the vending machines and convenience stores, you may be looking at over $1000 per year.
The alternative: figure out what your absolute guilty pleasures are and buy a big pack at a wholesale retailer like SAMs or BJs, then dispense one small pack when needed. The cost will be drastically lower, few cents vs few dollars and you may even see some weight drop for an extra bonus.
Save Money Count: $5 per snack x 20 days per month x 12 months = $1200
Dream Travel and Vacation Fund: Luxurious yacht sailing through Mediterranean.
If you are a movie buff this one may be tricky but give it some time and you will find your way. If you plan your weekends around movie releases and go to see a movie at the movie theater every weekend, that pleasure may cost you over $700 annually.
The alternative: subscribe to Netflix for $10 per month or for a special occasion venture out to the $1 movie theater in your town. Depending on the movie, you may see new movies only few weeks following the official release. I promise you, it is still the same movie whether you watch it for $15 or for $1 few weeks later.
Save Money Count: $15 per movie x 4 times per month x 12 months = $720
Dream Travel and Vacation Fund: Posh dinners in top restaurants around the world.
5. Designer bags, shoes and clothes
This is a BIG one. I will let you on a little secret. I love top fashion but even at my six figure income, I have never bought any top brand name clothing or accessories. Ever. Yet, I am still enjoying life. Unfortunately, that type of pleasure may set you back $10,000 or more per year and that is simply too expensive for me.
The alternative: remember that before great fashion designers became famous, they were equally amazing without that price tag. So make an adventure of finding amazing designers in local boutiques, new online sites and bazaars. Find your gems. Be unique. How do you think the vintage trend started?
Save Money Count: $1000-$2000 per month x 12 months = $12,000 – $24,000
Dream Travel and Vacation Fund: Truly, for this amount you can easily travel the world for 1-6 months!
6. Weekend entertainment
Since most of us work countless hours during the week, it is not surprising that when the weekend comes we just want to escape. Unfortunately, we often go for the well-advertised entertainment that usually is also the most expensive. You know, the amusement parks, water parks, expensive concerts. If you make that escapade each weekend, you may be looking at almost $5000 per year.
The alternative: spend some time exploring the area. Check out the mountains, beaches, lakes, parks and free concerts in town. You will be surprised how many amazing things you will find. Do some hiking, biking, and swimming. Get together with friends to play Frisbee or volleyball. It is all free and great for you!
Save Money Count: $100 x 4 times per month x 12 months = $4800
Dream Travel and Vacation Fund: Fully paid winter vacation. Flight, hotel and skiing!
That is so common. We are so busy working that when we finally get that 30 min for lunch, we run to the nearest place and spend, well, whatever it costs for lunch. Unfortunately that may add up to over $700 annually.
The alternative: spend some time in the evening as you are finishing watching another reality show and prep a healthy salad or a sandwich. It will cost you a dollar or two each time but will save you hundreds overtime. Bonus: it will most likely be much healthier too!
Save Money Count: $12 x 20 days per month x 12 months = $2,880
Dream Travel and Vacation Fund: Exotic safari in Africa.
8. Expensive gym
So you have that goal to get in shape, lose some weight, tone up. You buy the membership to this expensive gym because it has all the newest equipment and great classes. And then…you rarely go or find yourself spending most of the time on the treadmill or lifting weights; activities that really don’t cost that much. So if you are still spending close to $1000 or more per year just to workout, time to be creative.
The alternative: find a cheaper gym. I used Planet Fitness for $10 per month but there are a number of other gyms at similar low cost. Trust me, they have all the machines you will ever want. Or better yet, go completely free. Run in the park, do push-ups in the backyard, lift a gallon of milk. For great workout ideas, check out: Natalie Jill Fit. Since I started my travel around the world I follow her program online and love it!
Save Money Count: $80 per month x 12 months = $960
Dream Travel and Vacation Fund: Bucketlist adventure: skydiving, sailing, hot-air ballooning, you choose!
9. Cable TV
In the beginning, this was difficult for me. I wondered how I will ever function without my HGTV but then I realized that I am setting myself back almost $1000 per year to see lots of commercials and flipping through hundreds of channels that I don’t even watch.
The alternative: purchase over the air HD antenna that will bring lots of regular channels such as ABC or NBC for free. That, combined with Netflix subscription that is already saving you money on movies, ton of free TV show content online and you will forget about cable TV in about 2 seconds. And that HGTV addiction… Well, I found my favorite HGTV shows on Netflix. No commercials.
Save Money Count: $80 per month x 12 months = $960
Dream Travel and Vacation Fund: Top notch cooking class in France.
10. House repairs and other maintenance
House maintenance can be very expensive. Hiring anyone to mow your grass, paint the house or fix the caulking can set you back over $2000 per year.
The alternative: instead of hiring anyone to mow your grass, try it yourself. It is really not that hard and I promise it is a phenomenal workout. Saves you money on the gym too. Same thing with painting or fixing things around the house. No experience? No problem. Just YouTube it. I was able to fix most of the stuff in my house and my car just by watching Youtube videos. You will never know how good you are until you try it.
Save Money Count: $200 per month x 12 months = $2400
Dream Travel and Vacation Fund: Wine making experience in Tuscany.
11. New Ways of Couponing
This the most well-known but somehow difficult to execute. Well, you need to collect the coupons, then remember to bring them to the store, right? Wrong. Trust me, I don’t have that kind of commitment although I wish I would and save even more.
The alternative: in this digital era most stores have all the coupons online. I never collect any coupons, but whenever I enter a store, restaurant or any other place where I may be spending money, I pull out my phone and google: “Discounts for…. (name your store)” or “Coupons for (name restaurant)”. This usually comes up with some active retailer coupons on the spot. All you need is to show it at the register and voila. I can easily save at least $100 month that way.
Save Money Count: $100 per month x 12 months = $1200
Dream Travel and Vacation Fund: Luxury sunset sailing in Puerto Rico.
So, let’s add it up. By cutting out unnecessary spending and substituting expensive purchases with lower cost alternatives, you can save up at least $30,000 – $40,000 per year and afford at least two luxurious international vacations. Or, considering that most vagabonds can travel around the world for about $100 per day, that is $100 x 365 days for a total of $36,500. Holly molly, I think you may be getting ready for that too!
What do you think? These are just few examples of my favorite easy ways to save up. What are your favorite money savings options? Comment below and we may feature yours in the next blog posts!