Whether you’re a business traveler or a shoestring backpacker, one universal truth binds all travel: money!
Money may not buy happiness, but it certainly does buy plane tickets. And that’s what we’re all here for, right?
This day and age, it is easy to let your travel dreams fall further and further back on your calendar with the lame excuse of “well in this bad economy…” Don’t even go there!
Here are some super savvy ways to save money and budget for your next trip.
1. Get Creative with Your Work
To make your travel plans a reality you will inevitably need a job (or a few) to make some money. Rather than heading back to Banana Republic for another holiday season or punching a clock in a fluorescent cubicle, get creative! What are you truly passionate about? Dogs? Cocktails? Organic farming?
Find a way to connect your passions to relevant job postings and leverage your natural talents. I personally have a passion for cocktails and coming up with fun drinks. I spent this year bartending at a high end piano bar, averaging $200 a night in tips.
I took it a step further and created Big Apple 2 Big Easy Bartending LLC (bigapple2bigeasy.com); my own mobile bartending company which services the New Orleans metro area. HelloooOOoooo Benjamin Franklin!
2. Be Prepared to Hustle
Listen, there’s no easy way around it. To save enough money to travel, you’re going to have to sacrifice a little financial freedom. You might need to make choices that you don’t want to make, say no to things you really do want to go to, and pick up extra shifts however and wherever you can.
This is the reality of travel: it takes work to get there. Mentally prepare and commit yourself to hustling to make extra money which you will use for traveling.
Put up a picture of where you’re heading in your room so you can visualize it every day. Saving money isn’t always fun, but traveling is!
3. Live, Stretch & Pay with Cash
Be cool, be frugal. Our current economic situation might be benefiting the 1%, but blessed are the frugal…for they will inherit the open road.
In 2008 and 2009 I spent time in California and Louisiana volunteering. Within both volunteer organizations we were only allocated $100/month as disposable income. During my time of being a stipend volunteer, I really learned how to stretch my dollars and find free events, happy hours, etc.
So, put yourself on your own monthly stipend, and do it in cash! Rather than using a debit card, this is a great way to physically see your cash depleting.
4. Make your money work for you: Electronic Savings Accounts
About a year ago, I heard this gorgeous young blonde at the end of my bar entertaining a crowd of people with her stories of “…Well this one time when my rental car broke down in Costa Rica…” Instantly I knew I had to find out how she was financing such amazing stories of far off lands.
I fixed her another dirty martini and she told me in 4 confident words: High Yield Savings Accounts. Baby, she was right! Why let your creative dollars sit in a checking account when those dollars can be working for you earning interest monthly?
Go! Girls should be checking out ING Direct or Ally to open an account. While the APYs (aka percent you will earn on your lump of cash) are lower than in decades past, every bit adds up.
These accounts also offer automatic transfers so you can have a portion of your paycheck pulled straight into your savings account so that sushi craving will not even be an issue.
5. Start “No Spend” Days
When I’m really trying to save money, I do something I call “no spend days” — literally days where I don’t spend a single cent. I try to do this at least once a week and those savings really do start to add up! Cook at home, pack your lunch to work, and see if you can make it through an entire day without spending a dollar.
6. Ask for Financial Help
Now that you have a solid basis for making that money pile bigger, I would suggest one last idea: Take a risk, tell your story, and solicit for financial support!
The web has made this option easier and less abrasive. No more knocking on doors with forms to fill out; websites like Kickstarter.org and Gofundme.com are amazing fundraising platforms to get you started! I used gofundme and I was graced with enough money to pay for my course of vaccinations.
Happy trails, my little Warren Buffets.