Travelling is an endless journey and there will always be a new place to discover. Whether your dream travel location is just around the corner or thousands of kilometres away, you deserve to roam the planet and indulge in new experiences and cultures. Unfortunately, there’s no big secret to affording travel - what it really comes down to is how you prioritise your need for travel. If travelling in 2018 is your top priority, then you’ll be jet-setting across the globe in no time! But if travel is further down your wish list then expect to be saving up for a while.
Tips: How to save before you go...
Travel has never been cheap. BUT, there is always a smarter option when it comes to getting from A to B and enjoying everything in between. All it takes is a little bit of planning and some smart thinking.
Travel doesn’t happen without sacrifices. You’ve got to really, really want it to make it happen. For me, this meant cutting out lots of things I enjoy to save some cash. I set weekly allowances for myself which meant no more takeaway foods and coffee dates, no more online shopping, choosing to share a room so rent was cheaper, and biking to work and uni instead of driving everyday. A coffee a day adds up to $35 a week or $140 a month. That’s around $1800 a year! Which could be the equivalent of a return airfare (or airfares?) to those incredible destinations you’ve been pinning photos of on Pinterest for years. I’m not saying you should give up coffee for a year (that would be ridiculous) but that it’s the small things that can really make a difference.
A great place to start is opening a savings account where you can set aside cash specifically for your future adventures.This could be a certain percentage of your pay check, birthday money, or just $10 a week to get you started. Have a spring clean of your wardrobe and sell your unwanted things on Trade me or Depop, with all the proceeds going straight to your travel savings account. Be ruthless! If you haven’t worn something or used it for a few months - sell it! Plan your meals far enough in advance so you wont be tempted to buy takeaways last minute. And if you have the time, try get a part time job (maybe after school or work). A few extra hours a week will help you reach your savings goal surprisingly faster.
Other handy tips…
Check airfares regularly, make sure you’re frequently checking airfares to your desired destinations so you know the prices you should be paying. Booking flights well in advance to ensure you get a good price is key. Waiting for a sale is smart, but this only works when you’re buying flights at least a few months before travel. You don’t want to miss out!
Use a website like skyscanner which shows you the cheapest days to travel of each month, and filters flights from lots of different airlines. Make sure you’re clearing your cookies and search history often, as prices go up based on demand and websites tend to keep information which can be used against you. To be extra safe you should use different web browsers and devices so you don’t fall victim to this cookie tracking.
Choose travel dates wisely. Travel during mid season or off season to avoid higher prices. For example: The Algarve coast in Portugal will be the busiest in the peak of summer months June, July and August. But if you visit here during the months of September or October you’ll still get to experience the hot sun and sandy beaches and prices won’t be as steep as the summer rush slows. This also means there will be more variety in accommodation, better flight deals, and cheaper attractions - Just watch out for wet seasons in tropical climates.
Group discounts! If you’re travelling by yourself or with a small group you can team up with other travellers to get better prices. Things like boat rides, hikes, snorkelling trips, bar crawls and museum visits can be made cheaper if there’s more of you. You’ll be able to find other travellers especially at hostels, that are keen to see some sights and do activities. Don’t be afraid to try barter the price down a bit. If you’re travelling with a big group of close friends, renting a house for a few days rather than all paying individually for a hostel could also end up being cheaper.
Research in advance. Get on the google! Find the best hotels and hostels for a good price in the areas you want to visit. Websites like Trivago will filter lots of accommodation options and give you different prices. It’s a good way to see what’s out there too. Also, talk to people! Everyone who's travelled will have different experiences and might have some great advice for you. When you arrive at your destination you’ll have the knowledge you need to predict how much you should be paying for a place to stay. If you’re staying for more than a few days, try strike a deal with the manager - 8 nights for the price of 6? You’ll never know unless you try. Some hostels you can swap a nights stay and even food for work, which means more money for beers wooo!
This also goes for scooter rentals or equipment hire, like surfboards or bicycles. If you plan to stay in one place for a while, sweet talk yourself a good deal so you're paying a little bit less than the daily rate.
Watch out for road tolls! Particularly if you’re travelling around Europe. More often than not, there are options to take backroads sometimes called ‘national roads’ which may take a little longer but will be cheaper in the long run. Toll roads can cost up to $50 for a few hundred kilometres and even more money if you’re in a camper-van or van. Unexpected tolls will be your worst nightmare so do the research before you drive.
So.. if you plan to explore the globe sometime in the near future, I hope these handy tips will help you on your way. Remember to travel with an open mind, heart and soul as things don’t always go as planned. Sometimes the most exciting and unlikely events will arise when we least expect them to. Say YES to adventure! And always be kind to everyone you meet.
Photo credits: Ellen Taylor