Saving Your Cash For An Adventure
"Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of life are not only indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind".
When you are saving for your dream trip, you have to think about how spending cash at home equates to spending cash when you are travelling. For example, a Dominoes pizza will cost the same as a night (maybe two!) in an Indian guest house. A Starbucks coffee will get you dinner and a beer in Cambodia.
In the west, it's easy to get caught up in the materialistic consumerist society in which we live. We are made to think that we need things that we don't really need and want things that we don't really want. We are bombarded on a daily basis by TV ads, billboards and the media, telling us about the latest smart phone or the new miracle moisturiser. We are in a constant cycle of consuming and throwing away.
Although there are movements to change this attitude, many people still buy into it. When you have an incentive you see through it all and focus on what is important to you. Our decision to travel full-time meant that we had to change our financial perspective. It opened up a whole new way of living, which is in the long-term not only beneficial on a personal level, but also to the planet.
Here are a few ideas of how to get some cash stashed away, so you can start living the dream. Good Luck.
SAVING - Open a high interest savings account. Many accounts give you a decent rate for a year and then the interest rate falls. At that point, you should transfer your cash to new, more lucrative account.
FOOD - Instead of sending out for Chinese or pizza, cook your meals. Instead of buying sandwiches at lunchtime, make your own. Buy drinks in supermarkets rather than individually. You can save a ton this way. It's just a case of changing long established habits.
SHOPPING - As much as you can, shop around. Compare prices and use vouchers. Buy in bulk when there's a deal on. Think of long-term methods of saving money. We used to buy bottled water, but changed to water filters. Not only were we saving money, but we stopped adding to the plastic landfill. It's also worth obtaining supermarket loyalty cards. Every little helps
SOCIALISING - Check out 'cheap drinks' nights in local bars and pubs and go out on those nights. Instead of dining out, get together with your friends at home. Cooking at home or having snacks and drinks works out cheaper.
MOVIES - Instead of going out to see movies, join 'Lovefilm' or something similar and get good value DVD's for a low monthly fee. If you do go to the cinema, go to a matinee (which is cheaper) or a 2-4-1 night.
TRANSPORT - If you have a car and it's at all possible, get rid of it. Cars are a drain on finances. If you don't live too far from work, walk or cycle. It will get you fit for your travels to.
EXTRA WORK - Take on a part-time job. It won't be for long and it may allow you to escape sooner than you originally planned. Cleaning, bar work, stacking shelves......whatever it takes. It's also worth checking out online surveys such as One Poll or Global Test Market. You only get a few pence for each survey you take part in, but it soon adds up. The payout is about £40-£50 or sometimes you are offered store vouchers. It all helps.
SELL YOUR STUFF - You don't need it while you are travelling, so sell it and make some money. We did numerous boot sales leading up to our departure date. We also sold books, DVD's and CD's on Music Magpie, Amazon and Ebay. Part of the beauty of travel is minimising, so ridding yourself of 'stuff' serves a double purpose.
On The Road Budgeting
It's always a little tricky to budget before you go, because often it's not until you arrive somewhere and start travelling there that you get a sense of how much things will cost. Obviously, travelling in Asia is going to cost a lot less than Europe, but even India isn't as cheap as it was a few years back. The period when you are saving for your trip is an ideal time to form strict spending habits in preparation for when you are actually on the road.
When we worked out a budget for a recent trip to India, we split the expenses up in the following categories:-
For food and accommodation, we worked out roughly how much we anticipated spending per day
and multiplied it with the number of trip days.When you have added the other expenses you can work out how long you can actually afford to travel for.
The transport and miscellaneous expenses really depend on :-
- Your route and how you plan to travel
- Whether you intend to do many extra activities ie whitewater river rafting, tours, safaris etc.These add substantially to the cost of the trip.
Miscellaneous would also include souvenirs, entrance fees, the internet, taxis or tuk tuks fares, tips, toiletries and medical purchases and the occasional beer or two!
Wherever you are travelling to, you will inevitably spend more than you anticipate, so take as much as you can and try and keep a contingency sum for emergencies and also your return.
Long term travelling is a very different experience to 'being on holiday'. It isn't so intense, in that you aren't spending money on various activities every single day and going out every night partying.
We try to do things that don't cost too much such as hiking, visiting art galleries on their 'free days', exploring cities on foot and generally choosing activities that or free or cheap.
If not travelling in a less expensive country (when it is just as cheap and more convenient to eat out all the time) we will go shopping and cook our own food. To save accommodation costs consider house sitting, couch surfing or camping to keep costs down.
Of course, it's important to splash out occasionally on something that you really want to do - there would be no point in travelling if you couldn't do that sometimes. You just have to selective with what you choose to do
An article on budget wouldn't be complete without a nod to couch surfing - a shoestring travellers dream!
Couch surfing has become a phenomenon, and rightly so. A free internet based organisation connecting travellers and hosts worldwide, it's a great way to make friends, gain cultural insight and of course, travel cheaply. Travellers and hosts review one another on the website, which gives everyone a fair idea of what they are letting themselves in for.
Check it out atwww.couchsurfing.com