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YOUNG & TRAVELING: HOW I AFFORD IT

Surprise, I did not sell all of my possessions, quit my job and decide to travel indefinitely. I am a full-time college student, and I have a car payment and rent to worry about along with other bills. My mom is not funding this expensive dream of mine. (Shout-out to my mom though, she’s the best.)

Since January, I have traveled to eight countries and I will be traveling to at least five more by December.

 

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Playa Red Frog, Isla Bastimentos, Panamá

 

I frequently get asked the question, “But how do you afford to travel so much?”.

For me, it all really comes down to five key things.

1. Travel Cheaply

Traveling used to be a rich man’s hobby.  It isn’t anymore.  I book budget airlines like Wow Air, Spirit, Southwest, etc (most of the time when they are having sales).  I book a $30 Airbnb instead of spending $100+ on a hotel room.  When possible, I use public transportation instead of renting a car.  While traveling, I prepare most of my meals and eat at a restaurant maybe three times a week.  By doing all of these things, I was able to spend an entire month traveling during which I visited Washington D.C., Iceland, London, Paris, and Chicago for under $1200.

 

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Meal that I made while traveling in Panamá

 

2. Prioritize Your Wants

You will never forget a trip to the Himalayas.  You will never remember all the cappuccinos you bought your freshman year of college.  And while I completely understand the love of all things coffee, latté, and cappuccino; if traveling is really a priority in your life, spending $5 bucks for a macchiato might become a less regular occurrence. I pack lunches, make my own cappuccinos (for the most part) and I don’t buy super expensive clothes.  My spending money goes to plane tickets instead.

3. Don’t Limit Yourself

I grew up poor.  My childhood was shaped in part by financial instability and as a product of it, growing up, I never thought I would be able to travel the way I am now. During my freshman year of college, a professor mentioned studying abroad and my first thought was ‘oh no, I can’t afford that’.  But then my advisor mentioned it, then my classmate and I started to think it may be possible.  I researched cheap flights to Europe, work-exchange programs, au-pairing, etc.  Try to get out of the mindset that it is impossible for you to travel.  Because it isn’t.

4. Go for Flexibility

A job with flexible scheduling or a remote job is immensely helpful when you want to travel.  Thankfully, I work at a school so I have summers off, a month-long winter holiday, and a week off each fall and spring.  My boyfriend, Chris, works at an indoor soccer complex and they are just incredibly flexible in their scheduling.  Since we both have flexible jobs we don’t have to quit or take a leave of absence to go on a trip.

5. Leave Everyone Else’s Expectations and Opinions Behind You

As corny as it sounds, please don’t let anyone keep you from following your dreams.  If your dream is to travel but your significant other is pressuring you to settle down and get married, get on a plane and go.  If he or she isn’t there when you get back (or if they didn’t go with you in the first place) then they most likely aren’t the right person for you.  If your parent/s are skeptical of you traveling, and try to scare you out of it, still get on a plane and go.  Your parent/s will still love you, they’re your parent/s.  Whatever the situation is, try not to let other’s opinion and expectations of you become an excuse for you to not take a risk and do something a little outside your norm.

Be brave. And good luck.

 

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