She was decked out in designer clothes and Coach handbag and I knew she drives an expensive SUV. Those items shouted her priorities loud and clear. And they weren’t budget travel.
I have nothing against designer clothes, fancy handbags, or schmancy cars. I don’t fault someone for buying a gorgeous leather couch or big screen TV for their living room. The latest and greatest laptop. The newest version of PlayStation for the kids. Iphones and Ipods and Ipads. It’s all fine…
…if you’ve made a conscious decision to buy it.
What really drives me crazy are the people who say one thing with their mouths, yet totally another with their bank account.
For us, a travel lifestyle was a huge priority in our lives. We made other decisions based on that. We didn’t buy great big fancy cars; we bought a small old used one. We bought our clothes at thrift stores. Our furniture was all hand-me-downs or things we picked up at yard sales.
We’re not independently wealthy (both my husband and I are TEACHERS!) but we’ve made it work. We’ve made it work by being very consciously aware of our priorities and always living beneath our means.
On our teacher salaries, we weren’t raking in the dough, yet we still managed to live on one salary and save the other. We did that by eating at home rather than restaurants, by being satisfied with a small home, and being frugal in our overall lifestyle. We were able to finance long term travel by making tough choices.
If you want a travel lifestyle, you’ll need to make choices. You can choose your Manolo Blahnik stilletos, Versace gown, and 5000-square foot home, or you can choose to travel. It’s up to you.
OK, so I may be exaggerating a bit here, but it’s the idea that counts. We make those decisions with our pocketbook. If we make conscious decisions about where we spend every penny, then we’re actively choosing what’s highest on our priority list.
If you’re not happy with what you’re seeing, change the list. It’s that simple.
Here are some posts I’ve written throughout the years about how to finance long term travel:
I’ve spent hours combing travel blogs looking for posts showing how various people made it happen. We are all very different and have very unique situations, but I think seeing how others made it happen may be able to spark a thought for us. So – here are oodles and oodles of posts from people of every age and background on how THEY made the dream come true. Enjoy!
So Many Places: Patience! Patience and persistence. We just met our savings goal after THREE YEARS of saving and sacrificing. They also have a whole page on saving money with lots of articles.
The Nomadic Family: We took a deep breath and said we’d go for it. Cut almost all extras from our lives and learned to live on half of our income. We saved the rest, and on that, our dream happily floats. Here’s their post on Voluntary Frugality. They also compiled a wonderful post with information from ten traveling families on how they made the travel dream happen.
Budget Travel Adventures: How I do it? I can be a bit frugal and I manage money well so those work well together. Putting together a budget spreadsheet is my way of trying to save money with a tangible, simple way of tracking what they spend. Here’s his post on Using a Budget Spreadsheet
The Dropout Diaries: The first hurdle was getting my husband to believe that a traveling lifestyle was possible. Once he was on board, it was a matter of researching, planning and working my butt off with a second job that paid for the camera and laptop I needed to work while on the move. The second job vanished when the company folded just before we left Singapore, but somehow another offer landed in my lap a few days later! It IS hard work to work and travel (and be a mum) but I think the effort is worthwhile. I see much more of my daughter now than I did when I had a “real” job. Here’s Barbara’s Funding a Dropout post
Europe for Visitors: Writing practical advice for people who are researching where to go, what to do, and how to spend their money.
Leave your Daily Hell: How to travel if you’re young and middle class
Katie Going Global: How I financed my career break
Twenty-Something Travel: How I saved $20K in less than 2 years
This Battered Suitcase: Tips for saving money
Open Travel Info: The 8 best tips to afford long term travel
Nomadic Matt: The secret to long term traveling
Around the world in easy ways: Turning our travel dream into a reality
WorldSchool Adventures: Decide. Commit.
LL World Tour: How could you afford to travel around the world?
Life Without Pants: How to prepare for a vagabonding adventure
Get Rich Slowly: How I save money while traveling
Adventure Sauce: How to sleep for free
Moneyland: How I saved for my dream vacation
Around the World “L”: Loot to Scoot: Strange Secrets to Save Travel Money
Pearce on Earth: Entrepreneurship
Living Outside of the Box: How we made it happen
Pick the Brain: 7 steps to making your dream come true
Around the World in Easy Ways: How many rupees will you need?
QiRanger Adventures told me: Korea is an amazing and diverse country, where you can literally travel from one end to the other in under three hours for less than the price of a night out. Every week, we choose a destination and explore the city and sights, keeping our budget low. During the semester breaks, we take advantage of cheap flights out of Korea to nearby countries for extended vacations. How to we pay for all this? We actively save in preparation for our travels and try to secure paid writing or video assignments to cover portions of the cost.
The Minimalists: How to find your freedom
Professional Hobo: Travel fulltime for less than $14K per year
Never Ending Voyage: How we saved 75% of our income for travel
Travels of Adam: How far will $20,000 take you? – $20,000 gave me the chance to let loose and have fun, to have a boyfriend for the first time, to learn to speak with strangers, to sometimes trust people and to sometimes not. It gave me the chance to learn and to experience. To cook. To take care of myself. To get lost. Twenty thousand dollars gave me the chance to see the world, to experience the world. To do what I wanted when I wanted, for whatever reasons I wanted. It was the best money I ever spent on myself. Adam also wrote This is My Grad School – it’s all about priorities.
With 2 Kids in Tow, It’s Backpacking We Go: How much did our year on the road cost?
Suitcases and Sippycups: How to afford long-term family travel
Discover. Share. Inspire: Landing in the lap of luxury and Nine ways we earn money to fund our travel lifestyle
Voluntourista: Balance, Blogging, Money & Saving the World
World Biking: How can you afford to cycle around the world?
Solitary Wanderer: Five (Simple) ways to build your travel fund
Escape Artistes: Help! I’m Location Independent
1 Dad 1 Kid: How I find our family travel