How To Find Money for Travel (& the Secret Behind How I Afford to Travel So Much)
Travelling is my favourite past time of all and luckily I’ve found a way to do lots of it. Last week I explained how I find time for so much travel while working a full-time job, and today I’ll explain how I find the money for all this travel, as we all know that travelling can be an easy way to burn through savings. As I’m often asked this question I thought I’d give you idea and pass on some of my tips so that you can travel plenty too and not be constrained by budget.
1. I have a stable monthly salary
A lot of full-time travel bloggers struggle to make ends meet and live near the breadline for their art. (It’s the classic conundrum – how to make a living from something you make available to the public for free?) I’m not one of those full-timers and I’m not even one of those bloggers who work in the travel industry in marketing or PR. Not speaking from personal experience, but I’ve heard from numerous people that the travel industry is not a lucrative one to be in. I work in a completely unrelated, but well-paid industry which gives me enough cash to splash on travel. An obvious way to afford more travel is to find a well-paid job that provides enough disposable income.
2. I don’t have a shopping addiction
I don’t have endless credit card bills for clothes and beauty treatments as that’s not what I enjoy spending money on. By not lusting after designer handbags and the latest fashion trends I end up with much more to spend on travel. Don’t get me wrong, I make sure I look presentable in public and I don’t sport an unkempt look, but I don’t go overboard on it either. If you do have an addiction to spending money on something like clothes, then you need to decide which is really your priority and which you’d rather spend your money on.
3. I travel for work and tag on weekend trips
In 2013 I was lucky to have six separate work trips abroad: Prague, Dublin, Madrid, Barcelona, Munich and Johannesburg. With flights already paid for, I always stayed another few days to make the most of it. After Johannesburg for example, I took a whole week off to spend in Cape Town with some colleagues, a trip I couldn’t have afforded if I were paying for the long-haul London-Joburg flights as well. If you don’t get to travel with your current job, then make it a must-have criteria for your next job.
4. I’m a diligent saver
Ever since I set up my Cash ISA aged 16, I’ve been obsessed with saving. I just love seeing the pounds and pennies accumulate into something real and tangible. I then only touch those savings for something specific that I really want, like a post-graduation holiday in Sardinia or flights to Hong Kong and Bali. Each and every month on the day you get paid, instead of splurging straight away, transfer however much of your salary you can afford into a savings account, preferably one without withdrawals or which doesn’t have easy access. By doing it straight away after you’re paid, you’ll gradually get used to living off less and then reap the benefits when you receive the interest.
5. I go on family holidays
I’m lucky to have two lovely, generous parents that still take me on family holidays, which is how I’ve managed to go sailing around Greece and Turkey, go skiing twice in the French Alps and spend long weekends in Paris and Pamplona during the last two years since graduating (and how I’m heading to Iceland in March!). If you still have family holidays offered to you then grab onto them with both hands!
6. I stay with friends to save on accommodation costs
A benefit of having friends all over Europe is you have lots of people to visit, providing the perfect excuse for a trip abroad! And if you’re lucky then they’ll have a spare sofa/bed for you to crash on. This was often the case during uni and was hugely helpful in keeping costs down, and staying with friends is normally lots more fun than staying in a hotel.
7. I enter lots of travel competitions
And I mean lots. I’ve developed quite a skill for winning travel competitions and in the past year have won trips to Edinburgh, Malta, Padua and of course that incredible coast-to-coast trip across North America with DoubleTree by Hilton. And while not strictly travel competitions, I’ve won two work competitions to attend the One Young World summits in Johannesburg and Dublin. What’s my secret to success? All of these competitions require effort – either through writing specific blog posts or in the case of North America, Joburg and Dublin through recording, editing and posting video entries online. Most people never bother to put in the effort and apply, thereby making the odds on these competitions much more favourable. And there are lots more competitions out there than you’d think, you only need look…
8. I’m a travel blogger…
This last trick is not so easily replicable. Since entering this world of travel blogging I’ve been invited on a fair few press trips and other wonderful trips that are either totally or partly free-of-charge. While they’re free in monetary terms, they are always given in return for services rendered: a review in a blog post, coverage in my social media, photos, publicity, etc. They’re not actually “free” trips, they’re instead a form of payment for the work I put into maintaining this blog. And importantly, I spent an entire year working on this blog before I received anything at all “for free”. It is by no means a given that travel bloggers will receive free trips, but I’ve been lucky. I’ll be honest and say that this blog The Well-Travelled Postcard has allowed me to travel a lot more than I might have otherwise been able too…
Beyond these 8 tips above for finding the money to travel and how I afford to travel so much, I could of course spend days and days writing about how to book cheap flights, find affordable accommodation and the like, but a lot of that is common sense to most people by now. If you have a particular question in mind then leave it in the comments below and I’ll try my best to answer it!