A question I get a lot is how do I afford to travel so much? And there is no right answer or quick scheme on how to travel the world for free. At least I haven’t found it yet (still waiting for the day when I become famous or my parents surprise me with a trust fund. One can hope right?) All I can tell you is from my experiences.
You see a lot of people writing about how they travel with no money and it’s so hard to take their advice. It all comes down to their jobs, how they stay in places like Couch Surfing homes and tell you all these things that aren’t really realistic for someone. It really comes down to budgeting and saving. Making cuts and not going out so much.
How To Travel When You’re Broke?
So when you have no money and the only way to travel is if you have money, then I guess we’re going to have to figure out how to get some and make it last. I don’t live with my parents, I pay rent and utilities like everyone else, I have to buy my own food, I have car insurance, car payments, phone bills and then I have my going out to eat habit which I made a New Year Resolution for but immediately botched that by noon Jan 1st.
My point is I’m not sitting on a mound of cash.
Trying to live in the 21st century is hard especially in Canada right now where our dollar continues to plummet. It’s actually a nightmare seeing Subway spike up their prices because they don’t want to lose any money while us Canadians are getting hit with the falling dollar twice. Groceries, living expenses. Everything’s going up. Even the price to have drainage and garbage pick up went up. I didn’t even know that was apart of my utilities bill but it is.
But I make it work. Why? Because I have to in order to live the life I want.
My boyfriend told me I have FOMO. Fear Of Missing Out. And you know what? Absolutely I do. I don’t want life to pass me by and to have no stories to tell, no memories to share or to reminisce over when I get older. People are so worried about the future that they forget to live in the present and are so wound up in the past they forget that now is happening right now. At this moment. While you read this.
Crazy when you take a step back right?
But travelling’s not cheap, but it’s also not expensive. It is completely doable no matter what your wage is. You just need to learn to prioritize and figure out what’s more important to you.
Back in 2011, jeez that was 5 years ago, I worked at a good old Starbucks where I made less than minimum wage is now in Canada. About $9.15 an hour and I didn’t get to work more than 36 hours a week because that qualified as full time and if that happened they would need to give me benefits. Fun times in the Capital.
My average pay check was anywhere from $400-$600 every two weeks. I remember one pay check I made $700 and thought I was the richest person alive which to look back on now is kind of funny. I worked there for a year and a half, never getting more than $10 an hour.
But I saved and I saved and I saved. I saved my birthday money, my Christmas money, one pay check went to my saving and the rest to rent expenses. I didn’t have rent at this point in life but I did have a car and a phone and lived out in the middle of nowhere so when I drove to work I was filling up my gas tank every 3-4 days, depending if I went out after and it cost me about $80 every time. Ouch.
But then gloriously came the summer of 2013 and it was time to release my saving account into the world. I let the money fly away from me and I spent it on everything I ever wanted. I went to EDC Las Vegas with my friends, which was the greatest experience of my life, and when I got home I sat in front of the computer and booked myself a solo flight to Paris where I would make my way down to beautiful Budapest.
I was near broke when I got home (ahem.. I was broke) but once again I managed to scrounge up another chunk of money and headed out again four months later to Budapest and since then that has been the cycle of my life. Save and spend, save and spend.
So there’s no quick way to travel with no money. I hear of these unicorn people who use points to travel which is something I’m going to start looking into. Until then we are just going to have to cut down on our expenses, maybe pick up a second job and start saving because trust me, your experiences will be worth it. Good or bad it’s still part of your story.
For more budget and saving tips check out these posts!