How I Afford to Travel

How I Afford to Travel

This is definitely an issue I have to address A LOT. Sometimes 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. Other times it’s posed as a snide remark from people who are either jealous or don’t agree with my lifestyle. Sometimes it even comes with rolled eyes or a sarcastic shaking of the head. And it almost always comes with assumptions about how rich I am, how much in debt I must be or how I must have a well-paying job.

How I Afford to Travel

But let me just clarify…I am not rich (nor are my parents, grandparents, great aunties/uncles, or any other distant relatives), I did not win the lottery, I did not inherit a huge amount of money, I am not in debt and I work part-time at a job which pays not that much more than minimum wage.

How I Afford to Travel

So how on earth do I afford to travel, I hear you ask! Do I have a money tree? Do I have some mind-boggling secret that only a select few are privy to? No and no!

The truth is…I make choices. Choices about what I spend my hard earned money on. And the truth of the matter is, we all make choices based on what is important to us at certain times of our lives. We all have different interests and as such, we choose to spend our money on what interests us.

How I Afford to Travel

For example, I have several friends who are huge car fanatics and so they spend their money on nice cars, car accessories, alloy wheels etc. I have friends who are passionate about fine wine and fine dining, so they spend their money eating in Michelin star restaurants. I have friends who would not be seen dead in high-street fashion, so they spend their money on expensive clothes and shoes. Or some that want to own a house and have children and spend their money paying a mortgage and raising kids. All of these things are fine because we are all different, but they all involve making a choice about what is important to us as individuals and choosing to spend money on a particular hobby, interest or way of life. Nobody questions it when someone buys a house, a new car or the latest iPhone. So why do people question my ability to afford to travel? I honestly don’t know!

How I Afford to Travel

I make many sacrifices in order to afford trips. I have had the same car for 8 years and will have the same car until it dies. I don’t have the latest smartphone, in fact mine has a huge crack across the screen, which I refuse to get fixed because the money I would spend getting it repaired would pay for a flight. I don’t splurge on fine wine, expensive clothes or homewares. I don’t have a mortgage, nor do I have children. Not because I disagree with any of these things, but because they are not important to me right now. 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.

How I Afford to Travel

Now call me stingy if you like. In fact, I know I am stingy in some areas, but this stinginess means I can take multiple trips a year, while still enjoying a good quality of life at home. I’m not saying I am a complete scrooge. I have other interests outside of travel, such as eating out with friends, entertaining at home, cycling, going to the theatre, drinking cocktails etc and I do choose to spend money on these things…but in moderation and always on a budget. Some people might see this as deprivation, but I see it as a lifestyle which enables me to design a life I love.

How I Afford to Travel

Of course there are times when I do need to spend a bit of money on an item I need. For example, earlier this year, my smartphone stopped working and I needed to buy another. I could’ve spent £500 on a brand new smartphone, or signed a £35 a month 2-year contract. Instead, I shopped around for a few weeks and found a perfectly great used smartphone on eBay for £120. I signed a SIM only contract for £10 a month and voila…several hundred ££ saved!

How I Afford to Travel

There are also times when I actually want to splash out on an item I don’t really need. Like some Kurt Geiger boots I fell in love with last winter. At £175 retail price, I knew that I could not justify spending that much on something I did not need. So I thought about it for a while and when I decided I definitely did want them (not just a passing impulse buy), I shopped around online and found them in the sale on Amazon for £119, and to top it off I had £100 Amazon voucher I had accrued from some work I had done previously. So the £175 boots ended up costing me £19. MAJOR WIN!!

How I Afford to Travel

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 full-stop.

How I Afford to Travel

The last thing I will say before I end my rant post, is this…if you are dead set on staying in 5-star luxury hotels and flying first class everytime you go away on holiday. You will never be able to travel more than once or at a push, twice a year (unless you are a millionaire, in which case, I want to be friends with you ;)). Another way I manage to travel so much is that 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, unless I feel like treating myself, which does happen from time to time. I am happy to stay in 2-3 star hotels, as long as they are clean and safe, and to fly with budget airlines at awkward times through the night, because this means I can go on 7-8 trips a year as opposed to 1 or 2.

How I Afford to Travel

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you really and truly want to travel more, you can. You may have to make choices and sacrifices but it all depends what is really important in your heart. If you’re not happy to make sacrifices, that’s your call, but please don’t judge me and roll your eyes next time I say I’m going on holiday :-).

For more tips on how to save money when travelling, see my post ’11 Ways to Save Money on your Next Trip’.

What are your thoughts on this subject? I’d love to hear your comments below.

How I Afford to Travel

38 thoughts on “How I Afford to Travel

    1. People always say to me that I’m always going away – I’m single, no children, minimal outgoings, which they never stop to consider. Instead, I shop about for travel deals, house sit when I can and often eat ‘in’ when traveling….make for cheap but afford exploration 🙂

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      1. There are always ways to travel on a budget if you are prepared to put in the hard work to look for the good deals and house sit instead of staying in 5-star luxury hotels! Thanks for the comment and happy travels 🙂

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  1. Pity people’s nosiness caused you to have to put finger to keyboard. But I enjoyed reading your thoughts/reasons and totally agree. I like to travel too and find people raise their eyebrows when I go so I dont tell them. It is, after all, none of their business and if they cant be happy for me then do I need to tell them. I love reading about your jaunts and learning about different countries through your eyes. May you have many more and I look forward to reading your blogs. xx

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    1. Thank you Jean. That is so lovely of you to say. Really appreciate you reading my blog 🙂 I agree that it is not really any one’s business but sometimes you just have to address these things. Hopefully makes people think. xx

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  2. Just discovered your amazing blog through Travelettes!
    I can’t agree more with this post. I am ALWAYS asked “How do you afford traveling??” not just in terms of money but also TIME. Most of my friends directly started working after graduation and they did not work while studying. I did the opposite: I worked while studying and was able to save money for traveling after graduation. It is the best time to do so because once you start working (office job particularly), you don’t really have holidays.
    I also have an “old” iPhone 4 – it never broke, works perfectly and I have no intention to change it no matter what, even if the trend is to have the last iPhone 17 LOL.

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    1. Hi Ji

      Sounds like you had it all planned out perfectly with working while studying! It’s so true, you just have to prioritise what you want. Personally, not having the latest smartphone doesn’t bother me too much, neither does not having a fancy car. To other people those things are important and that’s fine. But for me, travel is the most important thing as it brings me so much happiness, so I prioritise it over everything else!

      Thanks for your lovely comment! Happy travels 🙂

      Zara

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  3. HALLELUJAH!! Someone has finally said it. I needed this article for my own sanity and to send it to every single person who is always so concerned about my frequent travelling as if they are paying for my trips. I could not agree with you any more because you are so damn right and so on point I was “mhm”-ing reading every single word like I am Beyonce. Thank you for writing this.

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    1. Ha! This is one of my favourite comments ever! So happy my blog post had you “mhm”ing like Beyonce! It seems this is both a popular and controversial subject but one I was more than happy to address! Thanks for your lovely comment and happy travels!

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  4. This is great! I completely feel you (and many commenters here) about why others feel the need to question anyone’s lifestyle, but then again travel is one of those things. Yep it takes money. But more than that it takes courage. 👍😊

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  5. Yes yes so much yes to this! My husband and I quit our jobs last year to travel and everyone keeps asking how we paid for it and my biggest answer is we don’t have kids! Like you said, people make choices. No one asks why people have kids and given how expensive they are maybe they should! 🙂

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  6. Yep, I totally agree, it’s all about priorities. I have one friend who constantly gripes about how I can travel so much, while she and her husband spent a fortune on their wedding — enough to pay for 2-3 trips at least. None of us get to have it all, we all have to make choices. Granted, not everyone can afford travel even if they scrimp and save, but it’s becoming cheaper and more accessible every day for people who really want it.

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    1. Yes, it just depends on what is important to you. A big fancy wedding, great…a nice car, great…a big house, great…but we can’t have it all and as you said it just depends on what you really want. I’m glad to choose travel though…I love it! 🙂

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  7. So many people I’ve spoken to about this seem to expect you to have some sort of secret formula to having more money to travel, when there’s not. I’m exactly the same as you – spend less on other things and get the best deals so you can travel more! It’s all about priorities, like you said.

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    1. This is so true! And some people have even said things like ‘Oh you’re so lucky’ or ‘you always fall on your feet’…but it’s got nothing to do with luck. It’s got everything to do with hard work, saving and making choices!

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  8. Thanks for sharing! It’s all about priorities. My husband and I are the same way. We save our money to travel. We don’t buy nice cars, we don’t buy fancy dinners. We do our best to travel as light and as frugally as possible so that we can squeeze another trip in later in the year. Keep doing what you’re doing!

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  9. *A LITTLE LOUDER FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE BACK*
    Haha, in all seriousness, thank you for writing this article. What you said about making a choice is so important, and something people who don’t live this lifestyle don’t ever consider. It’s hard to reason with people (especially family members) who can’t wrap their brain around frequent travel, and it unfortunately comes with a lot of judgement. Jokes on them though – we’ve seen way more of the world.

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  10. I can totally relate to all of this, so it’s quite refreshing to read a post from someone who feels the same way as I do. I’m constantly being called “rich” and having assumptions made about me, simply because I live my life in a way where I spend smartly and am able to prioritize travel above everything else. Much of it really does come down to where you decided to spend, and what you sacrifice.

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