A few weeks ago we had another Creating Money Magic Live Class, which was all about creating a life that allows you to travel.
One of the students in the class asked a question I know most people are mulling over:
How do you travel when you don’t earn a lot of money?
The assumption that most people make is that you need to earn lots of money to be able to travel, which is a big fat lie.
I started travelling as a waitress, earning minimum wage and waitressing tips, which weren’t all that much.
I slept in some dodgy places and ate some sad looking foods but the point is: I did it. I made some lifelong friends along the way, learned some valuable lessons about money and life and also learned to trust the universe.
1. Decide what kind of traveler you want to be
This is the very first thing you have to decide – how do you want to travel?
Are you the weekend traveler, the 10-day getaway traveler, the stay at a resort and get a tour guide traveler, are you the backpacker, the slow traveler or are you the expat?
Knowing the kind of traveler you are will influence how you budget and the way you plan for your trips.
I’m definitely the slow traveler and expat.
I can spend months in a country and never see one tourist attraction, but I can tell you about the old lady who sells fruit on the street, her son, where the local artists hang out, where to perform poetry, where to find the social justice activists, which non-profits need help or how the people feel about the local politicians.
I have a way of immersing myself in local cultures and building relationships with people. I don’t know how it happens, but I very rarely leave a country without at least one close local contact that I keep in touch with forever.
I suck at going to countries for less than a week (a week isn’t enough to know people), in fact every country that I visit for a week or less, I end up moving to or visiting again.
I prefer going to countries for a minimum of 3 weeks or longer so I can actually live with the locals and see the world through their eyes.
2. Decide on the country and length of stay
Once you know the kind of traveler you are, you can decide where you want to go and for how long you’ll be staying.
Decide on the city and the kind of experience you want to have when you’re there. Do you want the ocean, mountains or nightlife?
These decisions will shape your trip.
3. Consider going off-season and exploring countries with weaker exchange rates
If you don’t earn much – it’s easier on your budget if you visit countries with weaker exchange rates because your money will go further in those countries.
You can live like a queen or king and not have the stress of watching every penny. You can do a lot of fun things without breaking your budget if your currency is strong enough.
I highly recommend looking at countries in South East Asia, East and West Africa.
Most people want to go to Europe or the Caribbean (which I love, thanks to my never-ending obsession with Trinidad) but that’s not always feasible on a small budget.
But then again it depends on your intention – why do you want to travel?
If you’re traveling for adventure, then let me assure you, you can find adventure anywhere.
4. Do the math – know the cost of your trip
Figure out how much your trip or your move is going to cost you.
Tip: use a private browser to check for flights, if you search flights publicly, the search engines pick up on it and suddenly everything becomes super expensive when you eventually book. I learned all this the hard way.
Google: restaurants + city you want to visit and look at the cost of food and then do the math for 3 meals over x number of days.
So now you have cost.
5. Choose a date and start saving
In the same way that you save and invest for your future, invest in your travels.
Open up a separate savings account, which will be your travel account.
Look at how much the trip is going to cost you and decide when you’re going to leave. Look at how much time you have between now and then.
Work out how much you have to save every month or every week to reach that goal.
Commit to putting aside that money every month.
Something you may also want to consider is doing the same thing with your travel account, as you do with your fun account – put aside 10% of your income every month into the account and then use that money for travels, whenever the urge hits.
6. Have a blast
Once you get to the country, remember to unwind and relax and just have a blast. And celebrate you for making this happen.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.