Travelling the world is a dream held by many people, but not everyone can see that dream realised. One of the biggest (and most common) setbacks is, plain and simple, money. Most people need to go into work at least four or five days a week to make ends meet, and with mortgages, student loans, entertainment expenses and medical bills, it can be next to impossible to set aside the savings for a massive trip, let alone multiple trips to see everything they want to see.
However, even if you are bound to your job, there a number of ways to travel to exotic and exciting locations without running into financial ruin. It's a game of tug of war between quantity and quality. Here are a few things to consider if you are feeling the tug of wanderlust:
To truly get your trip off the ground, you need to set a realistic figure as to how much you will need to spend around the world. For now, try not to think too much about where the money will come from - that will come in the next step. First, think about the timeline of your travel and what expenses you are likely to encounter. Here are a few things to consider when making this list:
Air travel will likely be one of the most expensive parts of your trip, but rearranging your dates and trying different airlines will allow you to figure out how much you can expect to spend.
Unless you plan to camp your entire trip, you'll need to decide how much you can spend on accommodation. There are some ways to cut down on this expenditure, but we'll discuss that in the next section.
Man cannot live on travel alone. You're going to have to eat, so determine a realistic budget of how much you can spend on food every day. No one wants to eat two-minute noodles every night, and unless you are a restaurant reviewer, it isn't realistic to expect to eat out every night either. Balance is key. Study your current food bills to get a rough estimate, and then apply that figure to the countries you'll be visiting.
Your health and safety should be the top priority. International travel insurance expenses are important to include in the budget. Having support and cover for the unexpected will let you breathe easy and enjoy your holiday.
You aren't travelling to a new place to sit in a hotel or hostel room, you're going to see new sights and experience new things. Even if you are working abroad, there will be plenty of time to get in touch with your new surroundings. Be sure to look up the costs of the tourist attractions you hope to see.
Your budget will be worthless if you don't think about exchange rates - this will also help you determine which countries you may be able to afford. You can go a lot further with a lot less cash in places like Asia and South America.
Now comes the hard part - figuring out what you will be doing to pay for all the expenses listed above. The best method to do this is to find places where you can trim your budget.
When travelling abroad there are many airline companies that are dedicated to offering the lowest prices on tickets. While compromising on a few things, you'll be saving a lot. You can also save money by scheduling travel on less popular days, when prices take a dive.
Couch surfing, hostels and apartment shares allow you to save even more money while travelling. The latter two options will likely mean you can cook more meals on your own and that will save you a lot of money in your food budget.
You can also find short-term jobs that will allow you to travel smart and at a discount. For example, many hostels allow you to lend a hand with cleaning and other chores while you stay with them in exchange for discounted rooms. Certain volunteer organisations will even offer accommodation if you are willing to donate your time.
Freelancing is another option to help fund your budget travel. If you have a certain skill - anything from writing to childcare to carpentry - you may find you can either take your work with you or take advantage of job opportunities that crop up while on the road.
The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and are meant as travel inspiration only. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Cover-More Insurance.