Anytime that I have mentioned that I am going to be traveling to family, friends, or co-workers a lot of them have the same question, “How are you able to afford travel” or “I wish I could do that”. The thing that bothers me about that question and statement is that anyone can travel, but it depends on how they want to travel, and the sacrifices that they are willing to make. When I first booked a trip, I was paying about $150 per month, a full time student, and was in between jobs, but knew about what I would be making, so only the first payment would be what I considered “scary” to make because that was something I hadn’t planned for that month.
Now two years later, I have booked more trips, and was able to justify them, and come up with ways to pay the bills for each trip in the same manner as the first trip that I ever booked on my own. I make a “sacrifice” of something that I used to do weekly, monthly, or daily in order to save the money needed in my budget for this travel. I use the term sacrifice loosely because the things that I cut out aren’t things that are going to effect my well being, and I would never want someone to cut out something that keeps them healthy or living, but there are things that everyone does that we can all get rid of from our daily life, which will open up enough money for you to afford to travel.
I’ll start off talking about what I cut out since I think that this is probably a good first step in the process. So for me personally, working full time, I know that almost every morning I end up at the gas station, usually to grab a snack, a water/gatorade, and an energy drink. Combined this probably averaged me $5-6 per day, not including when they have the 2 for $3.33 deals (or any other deals like it) so I throw in a second to save the few cents, even though I know it will be gone by the end of the day, and that I saved a whole lot of nothing. So for the sake of argument we are going to say $5 per day that I can “sacrifice” right there, that means I can save $35 per week by cutting that habit, and all I really have to do for that is refill my water bottle everyday, so great I help the planet a little too and stop eating and drinking so much crap. Now for the sake of of easy math we will say there are 4 weeks in a month, which means that this $35 per week savings is actually $140 per month. And that number right there is only ten to twenty dollars short of booking a trip, so maybe cut out that Starbucks coffee twice in a month or going out with friends once, and you easily have at least $160 per month towards your trip.
The biggest step that I take is booking as far in advance as possible. This means that you can get the lowest monthly payment possible which means there are trips that you can get almost to that $150 per month mark (Using EF College Break as an example here) This may mean you cant book your dream 35 day trip with them, but it does mean that you will be able to take a trip somewhere, and that is always a good start. Another part to this step if you’re using EF College Break would be putting as much money down as you can afford. A simple way to do this would be to sacrifice those runs to the coffee shop or snack runs at the gas station for 3-4 months before you book, but put the money aside for a initial payment when you book. Thats $420 – $560 that will help lower your payments right away.
The final part to this is one that I am really bad at because I seem to be what I call a spontaneous booker, and I just book when I am ready, but its always a good idea to wait for a sale if you’re booking with EF College Break or a similar company, and even booking a trip completely on your own. Especially around holidays there are sales, but there are always going to be sales going on, so it might be good to email or call them and see if they can drop some hints on if there is a sale coming up. Speaking of discounts (for EF College Break, sorry everyone else) there are referral codes out there that can help you save some money. If you’re interested in traveling with EF College Break, or have any questions, please contact me here for more information and a referral code to save some money on your trip.