“So, where are you off to next?”
I took a deep breath as I sipped my soy latte, not wanting to answer the question asked by a family friend I’d run into at the beach kiosk. I forced a smile as I looked up and replied, “Oh, well, Scott and I are heading to Tahiti in a few months”.
“Tahiti?!” he exclaimed, “Wow, that sounds amazing, you’re so lucky!” I smiled unconvincingly as I nodded in agreement. He went on to ask the friendly questions one does when talking about another person’s holiday, and I answered them all while simultaneously trying to hide my guilt.
Later that day, I got home and wondered why I had felt so guilty talking to my friend about my upcoming trip to Tahiti. Was it because I’ve already been on more trips in the first half of this year than most people have been in the past five years? Was it because Tahiti is such a far-away, exotic place? Was it because I didn’t feel like I deserved to travel as often as I do?
HOW DO I AFFORD TO TRAVEL SO MUCH?
To those who know me personally, or follow my blog (thanks, Mum for ticking both boxes), it may seem like I’m ALWAYS travelling, and I must be super loaded to afford all the adventures that I have.
As much as I wish this were true, it really isn’t.
I work full time, and am as far from super loaded as one can be. I spend just about every day in a tiny office with no windows, constantly dreaming of my next adventure. While social media may allow you to believe that I am coming home from a trip one week, and immediately jetting off on another the next week, I’m actually sitting in my little, cold office, trying to imagine a life where travel is my full-time job. However, I still manage to travel quite frequently. So, the question is, how do I afford to travel so much?
I MAKE SACRIFICES
When you’re not super loaded, you have to save your money in order to spend it. Wow, crazy, right?! In order to save money, you’ve got to make sacrifices. I’m not talking about the ‘spilling the blood of a virgin at dawn’ kind of sacrifices, I’m talking about the ‘choosing wisely about what you spend your money on’ kind of sacrifices.
I have a confession to make – I’m an addict. A shopping addict, to be more specific. I’ve tried to control my wild spending binges, but with the introduction of Afterpay (I love to hate you, Afterpay), I must admit that I’ve had a few relapses lately. Hey, I’m only human.
Anyway, whenever I relapse into a spending spree where I think I’m as rich as Beyonce, I think about all the places in the world I’m yet to explore. While another pair of Nikes would look REALLY good on me, I always have to remind myself that a glowing tan after a European summer would look even better. Making sacrifices is all about determining what you want to save your money for, and what you’re willing to give up to make it happen.
For me, I’ll always be a bit of a shopping addict, but I’ll also always love to travel more.
I WORK & SAVE HARD
While rich in life experiences, I am certainly not rich in a monetary sense. Yes, I have a full-time job and a couple of freelance gigs, but that still doesn’t afford me a glamorous life of never-ending travel. It does, however, afford me a very exciting life of regular travel, and this is because I work hard for my money, and I work hard to save it.
My salary is quite modest, especially considering others in the same industry. I make enough to get by, and am very lucky to have little living expenses, so I am able to save a fair chunk of my weekly wage for travel. I literally have a separate account called ‘Travel Fund’, and it increases every single week, without fail. Sometimes I deposit $500, sometimes I deposit $50, but no matter what, something goes into it every single week.
I also have a couple of freelance jobs, which I work on in my spare time. That’s right, I not only work full-time, but I also work a few extra hours a week to make a little extra coin. At the end of every month when my invoices are paid, all my earnings from my freelance jobs go straight into that trusty Travel Fund account, no matter what.
I CHASE BARGAINS
This year alone, I’ve been to Brisbane, Samoa, Byron Bay, Cairns and Melbourne. That is a total of 12 flights (my flight to Samoa wasn’t direct), and they cost me a grand total of $490. This doesn’t include the trip to Samoa, which I netted for a total of $975 including return flights and accommodation for a week. With the exception of my trip to Byron Bay, which I booked last minute during the Easter Long weekend, all the other return flights were under $100.
So, how did I manage to find such cheap flight deals? I mean, Cairns for under $100 return is ridiculous, right? It’s all about being a savvy shopper, and a bargain hunter! I’ve signed up to plenty of airline mailing lists, meaning that when they release sale fares, I’m the first to know. With Jetstar and Tigerair constantly competing with each other on price, it’s actually really easy to nab a cheap domestic flight these days! I’m also really flexible with my travel plans, so if I see a cheap flight to somewhere, I’ll just book it and plan the rest later so I don’t miss out on the price.
I MAKE TRAVEL A PRIORITY
The simplest answer to the question of how I can afford to travel so much is this – I make travel a priority. To me, travel is the biggest priority in my life, and I make an effort to ensure that it is something that I get to do as often as possible. Other people my age may be working just as hard as I am, and saving their money for different things, like a new car or a deposit on a house, because that is what they prioritise in their life.
At the risk of sounding like a typical Millennial, I honestly don’t have a single bone in my body that wishes to buy a house. Sure, it may the most financially responsible thing to do at this stage in my life, but why would I want to bog myself down with a colossal debt in one place? Travel gives me the freedom to adventure far and wide, and I don’t think I could make my travel dreams work if I had to spend all my savings paying off a mortgage!
There you have it. If you wish you could travel as often as I do, I hope you now understand that you can, as long as you make sacrifices, work hard, chase bargains, and make travel a priority in your life!