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“How can you afford to travel so often?” This is definitely a question I get asked a lot. Often, it is posed as a genuine question from people who are looking to travel more and want to know how I afford to travel as much as I do. So in this post, I’m going to answer that question and tell you how you can afford to travel the world too.
First of all, I will say that I am not rich, nor are my family. I did not win the lottery. I did not inherit a huge amount of money. And I only work part time. So how do I manage to travel the world so often?
Make choices on how you spend your money
The truth is…I make choices every single day. Choices about how to spend my hard earned money. And the truth is, we all make choices based on what’s important to us at certain times in our lives. We all have different interests and, as such, we choose to spend our money on what interests us.
For example, I have friends who love cars, fine wine and dining, designer clothes, decorating their home, or who have children and, as such, spend their money on these things. Every time we choose to spend our money on something, we are making a choice on what is important to us and choosing to spend our money on that particular hobby, interest or way of life.
My main interest is travelling. And so I choose to spend my money on trips. And I make many sacrifices in order to afford multiple trips a year. I don’t have an expensive, new car. I don’t have the latest smartphone. I don’t buy gadgets and appliances for my home unless I really need them and I don’t buy clothing, shoes and accessories just for the fun of it.
I don’t splurge on fine wine, expensive clothes or homewares. I don’t have a mortgage, nor do I have children. I don’t disagree with any of these things, but they are simply not important to me at this stage of my life. And that’s not to say they won’t be important to me in the future. Perhaps they will. But right now, travel is my absolute priority because it makes me happy.
I’m very careful with how I spend my money. This allows me to take multiple trips each year, while still enjoying a good quality of life at home and spending money on the things I value, such as a gym membership, a night out with friends, experiences and clothing and homewares that I really need. I’m quite fortunate that many of the things I enjoy in life don’t come at a cost, such as hiking, nature and reading a good book.
Ultimately, it’s all about designing a life you love. And for me, that includes travel, as often and as far as possible.
Shop around for great deals
Of course, there are times when I have to spend money but I always try to stick to a budget to make sure I’m spending money on the things that really matter to me. For example, when I need a new phone, I could spend £500 on a brand-new device, or sign an expensive contract, but technology isn’t important to me, so I’ll happily go for an entry level smartphone, rather than the latest model.
There are also times when I want to splash out on an item I don’t really need. Like some Kurt Geiger boots that I fell in love with last winter. At £175 retail price, I knew that I could not justify spending that much money on an unnecessary item. So, I shopped around online and found them a brand-new pair on Amazon for £119, and to top it off I had £100 worth of Amazon vouchers to spend. So the £175 boots ended up costing me £19 of my actual money.
It’s not always possible to find such great deals but there is usually a way around paying full-price, whether it is waiting until the item goes in the sale, buying an alternate brand or just foregoing the purchase altogether. You have to decide what’s important to you.
Buy the best quality items you can afford
I also really believe in buying the best quality items you can afford. I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but quality items last longer and this ultimately saves you money in the long run. Buying the cheapest item you can find is often false economy as poor quality items will break and need replacing more frequently.
Not only does this eat into your hard-earned cash, it also eats into your time, having to shop for a replacement. Not to mention the burden that fast fashion has on the environment! I still own clothes that I purchased 10 years ago, that are still in excellent condition because I bought good quality items.
This really ties into my belief that minimalism helps me to lead a life I love.
Make your money go further with budget travel
If you are dead set on staying in 5-star luxury hotels and flying first class every time you go away, it’s more than likely that you’ll only be able to afford one or two trips a year.
I manage to travel so frequently because I invest a lot of time into searching and finding bargain travel deals online. I have a steadily growing repertoire of trusted websites and online travel companies that I go to for the best deals. I know what I am happy to pay and very rarely will I go over my budget. Use websites such as Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights to any destination.
I’m happy to stay in 2-3 star hotels, as long as they are clean and safe. And I’m happy to fly with budget airlines at awkward times because the more money I save, the more trips I can take.
So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you really and truly want to travel more, you can make it happen. You may have to make choices and sacrifices but it all depends on what is really important to you. If you’re not happy to make sacrifices, that’s your call, but please don’t judge me for my own life choices.
For more tips on how to afford to travel more often, see my post 11 Ways to Save Money on your Next Trip.