Learn To Make Budgetary Sacrifices
Saying no to that new going-out top or Seamless order can be oh-so-hard (why must it be so hard?) in the moment, but since money is often the biggest thing standing in the way of our traveling adventures, learning to pinch your pennies is crucial.
"Stop buying things you think you need, and save all your money to collect experiences," say Chanel and Stevo, the couple behind popular travel site and social media brand, How Far From Home. "There’s definitely ways to travel on a budget, and spending all your money on exploring the world is the absolute best gift you can give yourself. Go learn about the world, meet new people, try new foods, and collect those memories."
Get Smart About Storing Your Savings
Once you begin making those difficult financial sacrifices, make sure you're socking the money away in a way that makes sense and is separate from your other savings accounts. Reminding yourself that you're saving for something fun and special (as opposed to, like, a "rainy day fund") will make those day-to-day sacrifices seem easier.
"Start your travel-more funds (or what I refer to as a Travel Egg, instead of a Nest Egg) by eliminating the majority of material things you normally purchase that are dispensable or that you don't need. Calculate the money you would have spent on meaningless crap (eating out, definitely Starbucks, and unnecessary shopping), and transfer that amount to your Travel Egg," Alyssa Ramos of My Life's A Movie shares. "Then, calculate a comfortable portion of your paycheque to automatically transfer into your Travel Egg as well. Before you know it, you'll have a big fat Travel Egg ready to hatch into an epic trip!"
Realise That You Don't Have To Go Far
Often, we equate 'travelling' with leaving the state or country, but in reality, there are often plenty of sights to be seen closer to home. For example: If you live in London and have never made it to see, say, Richmond Park or done a weekend in Whitstable, well, what's stopping you?
"If you want to travel more, start local. Get in your car or rent a camper van and set out on the open road," say Collette and Scott, an influencer couple who travel professionally.
Be Flexible... And Get Skyscanner
Would you plan a trip somewhere just because there was a cheap flight available? Why not, right? Anna Vawser, the blogger behind The Legendary Adventures of Anna swears by staying flexible about things like date and location (you know, minor details) and letting Skyscanner do the rest.
"Skyscanner will pull up a list of roundtrip flights to destinations around the world in order of price and display the cheapest month to fly to them in the entire year," she explains. "With all of the competition from airlines, flights have gotten significantly cheaper and Skyscanner is a great tool to find those deals. Just input your home airport, set your destination to 'everywhere,' and choose departing/returning on 'whole month/cheapest month.'"
Make A Plan For Saving Money On The Ground
Sure, a lot of the financial planning that goes into a trip happens before you step off the plane, but that doesn't mean to can't take steps to ensure you
Daniela Hernandez, Head of Growth and Insights at TransferWise and an expert traveller, emphasises the importance of always spending in local currency. "You know when you swipe your debit or credit card abroad and the machine asks if you want to pay in £GBP or in the local currency? That’s called Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) and it’s a complete rip-off. It may seem smart to pay in your home currency, but these machines offer worse exchange rates than the average bank," she explains.
Hernandez also urges travellers do preliminary research and shop around for the best exchange rate, as banks, kiosks, and card issuers can often have different rates. "Some debit or credit cards will ding you with a foreign transaction fee for swiping abroad – usually around 3% of the purchase," she says. "However, card issuers often give better exchange rates than if you were to convert cash at a bank or airport kiosk. Recently, I exchanged some US dollars into Euros and lost almost 8% of my money to my bank’s poor exchange rate. Do the math before you take off to see whether you’ll take the smallest hit by using cash or cards."
Keep Your Wits About You
This mantra applies to pretty much every aspect of traveling, but it's perhaps easiest to forget it during the planning stages, when you're booking stuff online and assuming the best. But, cautions Hernandez, "If something is too good to be true, then it probably is and the most prevalent travel scam is the fake vacation rental."
"Make sure to do your research on the host, only choose properties with verified reviews, and never send money directly to a bank account, because you’ll have no guarantee that you’ll receive the service you paid for. It’s always safer to pay directly through a trusted rental site and to avoid anonymous listing sites like Craigslist," she suggests.
Maximise Your Number Of Destinations
Okay, so we know you don't have to go far to have an adventure, but if racking up stamps on a woefully blank passport is your motivation here, choose a continent where it's cheap to travel from Point A to Point B. In America, we're used to flights in the three-figure range, but in Asia and Europe, budget travel by plane or rail is a way of life.
"You can also travel a lot more by picking cheap destinations! We all know that Asia is cheap to travel in if you stay in one country, but if you want to see as many countries as possible, go to Europe! Flights between countries are as low as £8," says Ramos.
Make Travelling A Lifestyle
Cliche as it may sound, most people who travel a lot are able to do so because they've made it a priority. "The biggest tip I have is to not be scared to spend your money and time on traveling. You can always make your money back, but you can't get more time!" says Ramos.