Every single time I tell a friend that I am planning on travelling over Summer, their expression turns into a picture of astonishment and confusion.
Didn't you go travelling last year?!... and the year before that?! How on earth do you afford it all?
Let me give you some background information.
I am a full time university student with a 0 hour contract part time job. Basically, I don't have a regular income. Whilst I am living at home with my parents this year, for my first year of university I was living on campus. Paying for rent, food and for my transport. So when I announced on Facebook that I would be travelling to Thailand and Bali for 6 weeks with my best friend, my other friends were unsurprisingly astounded.
It wasn't just my friends who were confused. Even when I went to get my jabs for the trip, the doctor asked me how long I would be going for. When I said 6 weeks, his jaw dropped and then a knowing smile crept across his face, "Ah. Are Mum and Dad treating you?" My Mum looked horrified! "No! Absolutely not! Stephanie pays for all her own travel!" I would be lying if I said I didn't feel a little smug.
If I'm being completely honest... There are times when I have doubted that I would be able to go without borrowing money. But my desire to travel motivates me and I am determined to make it happen one way or another. Which means doing tonnes of research and finding the best deals to make it as affordable as possible.
Work Part Time
Unfortunately, I could not afford travel if I didn't work. Having a part time job definitely makes travel seem much more affordable! I am lucky enough to finish university at the end of May, giving me plenty of time to save up. I am also fortunate in the sense that I enjoy work. I love the satisfaction of knowing I have earned my own money. Plus the people I work with are like my second family, making a dull job way more fun. I am also on a 0 hour contract which means that if I have lots of uni work then I can give away shifts/ pick up any extra that I may want.
Choose your destination carefully
It is too easy to choose the obvious destination. For me, it would be somewhere in Europe. A cheap 3 hour flight and your trip is sorted.
Whilst the flights maybe cheaper, the cost of living is not. For example, say you were travelling around Italy. (Just a two hour, £90 return plane journey for me.) A hostel in Rome is around £15 a night for each person, Venice averages to about £20 a night and Florence is around £16 a night. Of course, depending on how long you are travelling for, this amount will accumulate into a very large sum very quickly! There is no way could I afford those prices for 6 weeks! A flight to somewhere in Asia may be a significant amount more but food, accommodation and transport is so much cheaper! The most I spent for one night's accommodation was £15.
I would rather save money than spend it on alcohol
I know, I know, you probably doubt that I'm even a university student now...
A student who doesn't like drinking?! Does that mean she's even a student?!
Hide your looks of disgust people! Yes I am still a student!
It's not that I don't like drinking... But I used to waste more money than I care to think about on nights out and I have absolutely nothing to show for it except for a few blurry photos and a completely drained bank statement. Don't get me wrong, I am definitely not saying cut nights out completely. Everyone needs to let loose every once in a while
but you don't need to go drinking every night!
Honestly. You will feel healthier, more productive and your bank account will feel replenished. Meaning, you avoid the feeling of horror when you see your overdraft is completely maxed out.
"Oh. Shit. How am I going to live for the rest of term?! We're only a week in!" *dials Dad's number immediately*
But seriously, why spend money on a night you won't remember and feel like crap the next day when you could spend your summer lying on a beach, visiting temples and exploring the unknown? I know which I would choose.
In fact, take any opportunity to save
|Photo taken from pinterest.com|
I try not to spend money on snacks and food at sainsburys/tescos/asda (your supermarket of choice) by bringing a bag of snacks from home. Believe it or not that £2 you spent on work snacks and that£2.40 hot chocolate from Cafe Nero does count towards something. That £4.40 could pay for one night's accommodation or two meals in Thailand.
It's taken me a long, long time to figure this out but my bank account feels so much healthier without these little withdrawals draining it! I still do occasionally treat myself to that Cafe Nero hot chocolate when having a catch up with a friend, but then it feels like a real treat because you haven't had one in so long!
The more you travel the more people you meet...
The more people you meet, the more countries you have free accommodation. You only need to travel once to meet friends who live abroad. So the next time you plan a trip, you can orientate it so you meet up with them and have a free place to stay and a free tour guide!
I worked in a Summer Camp for 2 months back in 2013 (read about it here) and my campers became my best friends. Their parents loved that I was a good role model for their children and offered me their home whenever I decided to cross the Pacific. I can now visit New York, California and Hawaii without worrying about spending any money on accommodation.
And those, are my 5 top tips for affording travel!
I guess some of them seem pretty obvious once you think about it. But all of this is worth considering if you're desperate to travel like me!
How do you afford travel?
Love, S xo