Scroll through Instagram, everyone seems to be traveling more than you. Somehow everyone you follow is finding a way to strike things off their bucket list. So how do they manage it? How the heck do they travel so much?
I figured it out. Within 2 years I went from an empty passport to traveling for 4 months of the year, to 21 countries while maintaining a consistent income… without winning the lottery.
I figured out how to travel more. Here are the 5 ways to fill your passport’s pages.
1. Start Managing Yourself and Your Budget
If you aren’t managing yourself, who is? Managing yourself means learning self-discipline. The first step is to start tracking everything you do. Use your phone to make notes of what you eat, how much you go out, and where you spend your money. You can’t save money until you know where it’s going in the first place!
Most people are living above their means. What I’m proposing is not for you to live as a peasant but find little ways to save money - plan your meals and grocery shop around them to avoid unnecessary spending, buy your next bottle of wine from the store instead of the restaurant or go to the movies on a cheap-night. With just these little tricks I made it possible to save an extra $500 every single month on a relatively average wage.
2. Know Where to Look
“How do you afford to travel as much as you do? ” My answer is “know where to look! ” Everything from your flights to accommodation can be found cheaper than you anticipate.
For flying, I use Google flights to get a general idea of when the cheapest flights are available. Their system is easy to use and will give you a good idea of when the cheap flights will be available. From there check out those same dates on sites like Skyscanner, Orbitz, or Hopper for rock-bottom prices on those same flights.
Accommodation can take a big toll on your budget, knowing where to look will make or break your wallet. Most travel gurus know about sites like Airbnb, but that's not always where you'll find the most competitive rates. By looking into services like VRBO.com or HomeAway.com there are fewer options but you typically can find cheaper prices for similar homes. Alternatively, if you don't mind caring for pets you can make a profile on trustedhousesitters.com. You offer to care for the homeowner’s pets in exchange for room and board. This is an excellent option for those who are more flexible with their travel plans and are looking to seriously slash the cost of accommodation.
3. Talk to your boss
The most common thing I hear with those looking to travel more; “I can't afford to take that time off work”. And while this is a valid concern, it rarely is without a solution. Start by spending the next week at work analyzing everything you work on and come up with a way to complete that task out of the office. Once a large majority of your tasks have an out of office solution; schedule a meeting with your boss.
Your bosses biggest concern is that your work can't be done if you aren't at the office, luckily you thought of everything. The key is to not ask for too much the first time, ask to work from home for 1-2 days as a test. During the days you work from home, work the kinks out of working remotely. Figure out what works and what needs improvement, and then inform your boss of how things are going. This is the only best way your boss will start letting you take the next two weeks to work from a hostel in Costa Rica.
4. Don't Plan Everything
A good way to spend too much money is to plan the whole trip and book everything before you get on the plane. Often, prices online are inflated from what locals charge for the same service. Some of the cheapest and most enjoyable things I've done traveling were the activities planned the day or two before they started. Many hostels have a number of trips and activities you can book the day before or even day-of. This may stress out the planners out there reading this but I was there once too. Planning entire trips before leaving tended to be more stressful than staying relaxed about my schedule. Just remember you are probably not the first tourist or traveler, they are expecting you and will have tons of options upon arrival!
My official recommendation: Book your flight and your accommodation for the first night you're there after that go with the flow, you'll thank yourself for not only having the most relaxing trip yet, but you saved a pretty penny. Of course, there are exceptions. Some areas have limited spots available for booking. If this activity is the reason you are traveling to that particular area and you wouldn't want to miss it for the world, book it ahead of time. It'll give you something to look forward to and you can book other activities based on that one; just don’t plan the whole thing!
5. Quit Your Job
Who says you have to wait until you're 40 to have a midlife crisis? Have you been “waiting” for the perfect moment for you to take the time to travel? Right now might be a perfect time. Quitting your job doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a job. Today, you have options; freelance work, contract jobs and working a job remotely give you the freedom to explore like never before. Take time to discover what you can do; discover how you can help someone else and make that into your job.
Want to start your own company? Perhaps the risk-free way to try that is by using Shopify+Oberlo to start your first dropshipping business. Want to work remotely and work with different people all around the world? Check out Upwork.com and start building a portfolio! Want to get a job when you get where you’re going? Sometimes the best thing you can do is pound the pavement and start meeting people! Keep in mind quitting your job doesn’t necessarily mean relaxing at home with your feet up, expect to work hard towards the goals you set for yourself!
About the Author:
Thomas is an avid adventurer by day, digital marketer by night. Every piece of advice in his blog has been battle-tested by himself. You can probably find him right now either surfing in El Salvador, Kite Boarding in Cape Hatteras or working in a coffee shop pretending to drink coffee.