So you’ve made the decision to travel long term, and therefore looking at your bank account to figure out where you’re going to pull the finances from to fund it. Firstly, congratulations on making the best decision of your life! That first move to make your dreams into a reality is one that you’ll never regret. Secondly, don’t get too panicked by the money side of it all – if you’re focused and truly want to achieve full time nomad status, it’s very possible.
I’m not saying it’s easy, and the worst part about travel is the time leading up to it, where you have to tuck away every penny you lay your hands on in order to afford your goal. Depending on how you’re use to living, it might be a huge shake-up in terms of cutting out things you can’t afford, and that can be difficult when it’s not your normal life. However, the rewards you get back from doing so during the time you’re traveling are more than you could ever imagine, and all those months of saving feel seriously worth it and seem like a thing of the past. Just to get you going, here’s a few tips about how to save up for that trip of a lifetime.
Set Yourself Goals
When you first start looking into travel, have a think about where you’re going to go and consider how much money you might need for each leg of your trip. If you’re going for a very long time then this might be a little more difficult, but whatever your plans you’ll probably need to figure out the first few months at least.
From that point, you can start looking at the time between now and the time you’re going to leave and maybe decide some milestones you’d like to achieve along the way. For example, if you decide to give yourself a year before you set off on your trip, decide how much money you’d like to go away with then break it down to a monthly goal. This way each month you can see if you are on track, and if not, you can adjust your goals to be able to meet your final target.
Cut Out the Luxuries
The second you decide to start saving is the time when you really have to start looking at your outgoings and cutting them down as much as possible. Our lives took a serious hit when we decided to start saving for long term travel, and the things that once came naturally in our spending were the first to go right out the window, such as eating out or having hundreds of cable channels.
Cutting down the luxury items in your life is a bit weird for some at first because you’ve grown accustomed to a certain way of living, but taking these small things out can make a huge difference collectively in your savings account, which you’ll be very glad of later when you’re lying on a beach with a cocktail in your hand.
Want vs. Need
Following on from the last point, once you figure out the difference in your life between want and need, it makes a lot of changes in your spending. We often convince ourselves that we need the latest technology or bits and bobs for our homes, but when you’re leaving the majority of these things behind, it just becomes an unnecessary want that is cluttering up your life. If you’re in the supermarket or out shopping and see something you’d like to buy, think twice about the gap in your life that object is going to fill, and see if it’s really necessary. Once you manage to eliminate your want for things and focus your efforts on your travel fund, you’ll learn very quickly just how little you actually need in your life. In truth, it’s a very liberating experience not to be tied down to the things that you just want, but don’t need, and it’s certainly something you’ll get used to on the road as well.
Make Garage Sales Your Best Friend
Once you manage to let go of the things you don’t need in your current spending, you can also look at the things you don’t need around your house and finds ways in which to sell them to top up your travel fund. You can do this with almost anything on websites such as Gumtree or Craigslists, which is what we did for many of our items, but never underestimate the power of a garage sale as well. From our very own front garden we could pull out the things that we thought no one would ever want to buy, and as it turns out there there’s always someone who happens to need such an item.
Not only is this very effective for boosting your travel savings, but it’s also very therapeutic, as well as necessary. You won’t be taking any of these things with you on your long term travels, and once you’re on the road you won’t be missing them at all, so why not make some money from selling them? There might be some things that are hard to let go of because of sentimental attachment, but the more brutal you are the more money you get, plus you won’t have to find a place to store your things whilst you’re away.
The key thing to remember about saving for long term travel is that it takes time to see results as it’s a long, hard battle, but it’s those small changes you make that will help you achieve that goal in the long run. Always have that picture in your mind of your end goal, whether it be lying on a beach in the Caribbean, taking your first sight of the jaw-dropping Machu Picchu, diving in Thailand, or any other adventures you have in mind; every single penny you put away is going to help you achieve that goal.
Plus, everything you left behind in terms of material things won’t matter one tiny bit when you’re in those moments. You’ll be so proud of yourself that you managed to achieve your dreams through hard work and sacrifice, and with that you can really focus on having the best time of your entire life knowing that you earnt every second.
What else would you suggest for how to save money for long term travel?