So, you want to travel, to experience new things, meet new people, try new foods, but everything in your life seems to be stopping you. There’s never enough money, never enough time, never enough energy.
It’s time to take a look at what’s really getting in the way. It’s time to reprioritize your life to make more room for travel.
Reprioritizing Your Money to Travel More
Unless you’re a whiz at airmiles or travel hacking, travel can add up quickly.
Take us for example: We’re a family of five. So, when we travel, we have to buy five plane tickets, five meals, five attraction tickets, five metro cards… It adds up.
Even if you’re traveling solo, travel is more than just the plane ticket. There’s a lot to consider with hotels, meals, on-location transportation, and attractions. That’s not even taking things like insurance, souvenirs, taxes, or tipping into the mix.
So how does anyone afford it?
By prioritizing it! Look at your bank statement and see what you’re spending your money on every month. We did this a few years back and noticed so many things that weren’t necessary. Inevitably, you’ll find some obvious things- unused gym membership, magazine subscriptions, daily gourmet coffees. Find some things you can live without.
When you choose one thing, you give up something else.
You’re also bound to run into some things that aren’t necessary but bring you a lot of enjoyment. You’ll have to weigh it out and ask yourself if it’s worth it. Friday night drinks with your girlfriends might be the thing you look forward to most during your week and you don’t want to live in a world where they don’t exist.
Whereas, your subscriptions to Netflix, Amazon Prime, AND YouTube Premium might be more than you really need. When we moved to American Samoa, we canceled our Netflix account because the internet was too slow. When we got two new internet cables to our island and our download speeds skyrocketed, we considered restarting Netflix, but realized that we’d lived very happily and comfortably without it and we didn’t actually miss it at all.
I was recently so impressed by a friend’s story, that I have to share it. Lynsie wanted to travel so badly, but as with most of us, plane tickets were not within her normal budget. She decided that she needed to do something about it. She got a job working for an airline, at the local airport. The job was not glamorous and didn’t even pay enough to cover her gas, but the benefits she received as an airline employee were exactly what she needed. She took quick getaways with her family nearly every other weekend and when an opportunity presented itself to take her daughter and parents to Europe, she jumped at the chance!
Is there something you could be doing to make a little (or a lot) extra income? Or someway you could get similar travel benefits? Lots of people take on side jobs or create side hustles as ways of creating more income.
Reprioritizing Your Stuff to Travel More
This goes hand in hand with prioritizing your money and again, I’m going to break it into two parts.
Just like I asked you to look at your bank statement, I want you to look around your house. I’ll bet there are a few things that you rarely or never use, that you probably wouldn’t even miss. You know that you could sell them, right? There are so many avenues for selling your unwanted possessions- eBay, Craigslist, local Facebook Marketplace pages, good old-fashioned yard-sale (although you rarely make enough from these to make them worth the effort and headache). To name a few.
Not only will it help declutter your house (and thus your mind), but you’d be a few bucks richer, too. Maybe you could get enough to pay for a meal out on your next trip. Or maybe you could pay for the plane tickets for your next trip!
Now, I am not going to tell you to go out and buy ALL THE STUFF! Remember, you’re trying to save up for travel and purge yourself of unnecessary crap. But keep a running wish-list of things you would like to have. That way, when a birthday or Christmas comes along and people start asking what you’d like, you have suggestions all ready for things that 1- you would actually use and 2- that would help get you one step closer to your travel goals.
I’ve been doing this for the last few years and have received some great travel related gifts, that are completely guilt-free on my part. Heck, this last birthday, I asked for plane tickets to Apia, Samoa for my upcoming trip. This made my trip guilt-free, as my meals and accommodations were provided.
Also, gift cards are always an easy gift. Just don’t waste the them; use them wisely.
I just got this Thule backpack for Christmas and I’m LOVING it already! It carries all my camera gear, plus has extra room for packing anything else I need. I’ve used it on a couple hikes and can’t wait to use it as my carry-on for our first trip of 2020.
Reprioritizing Your Time to Travel More
Okay, moving away from money and physical products- let’s talk time.
Unless you’ve unlocked the secrets of location independence (ability to make a living, regardless of your location, think digital nomad), you probably have a certain number of days you get to take off work each year. For those in the US, the norm is two weeks. Depending on what you’re doing, those two weeks could FLY by!
So, what kind of travel do you want to do?
If you want to travel more often, plan more short trips. Take advantage of holidays, taking just a day or two off in addition to a three-day weekend could make for a very decent trip.
If you want to have the time to really explore and immerse yourself in a location or fit as much as you can into one epic trip, then go all in and plan a full, two-week vacation. Plan it around a weekend and you can get an extra two days.
Make it work for you and make it worth your while.
One more option is to work remotely. Nate had a job a few years ago, working for a tech company. After a few months of working there, he asked if he could work from home just one day/week. On these days, he made sure to be super productive, to show his employer that this could be mutually beneficial. After a year of working from home progressively more frequently, he asked if he could go completely remote. After some negotiating, they agreed to it!
Do you work a job, where that could be an option? Remember that side-hustle I mentioned above, could you turn that into a full-time income?
Reprioritizing Your Responsibilities to Travel More
Nate and I made the decision a few years ago to not get a pet. It’s important that we have the freedom to travel. Having three kids already makes this more complicated, but we wouldn’t trade our kids for more travel! They’re stuck with us 😄
However, neither of us are necessarily animal people. So, as fun as a dog or cat or turtle might be, it wasn’t a priority to us, when compared with the freedom to pick up and go whenever we want.
We all have responsibilities in life that we can’t just ditch. And those are different for each of us. It could be family obligations, a job, volunteer work, etc. But there are definitely some things in our lives that we can choose to let go of.
Opportunities are going to come up and you can never know what alternatives might be next. Instead of sticking with what you’ve always done, choose to move in the direction that seems to be leading toward your end goal. Be bold and dare to try something new.
Do This Today!
Are you feeling overwhelmed? I know, it feels like a lot.
What I want you to do today, is this:
Choose one item on this list and commit to it for one month. Say you choose to cut your spending. Make a list of all the things you are going to resist spending money on. Then, track how much money you save. Every time you’re tempted to make an unnecessary purchase, keep track of how much it would have cost. Imagine what that total will look like at the end of the month.
They say that it’s best to make goals public, then you have someone to hold you accountable. Tell someone what you’re going to be working on. If you want, leave your goal in the comments below and I would be happy to be your accountability buddy!
And since I’ve asked you to do it, I’m going to do the same. I’m working on “Make More”. I have a book coming out soon and I’ve been working on a few side gigs that will provide our family with more resources to make our travel goals attainable.
Okay, I’ve given you the steps you need, now go out and make it happen!