Hey you! Yes you! Sitting behind your desk staring blankly at a word document, wishing you were somewhere else. Somewhere foreign, exotic and exciting.
You check Insta and it seems everyone you know is somewhere you would rather be.
Your colleague is sipping sangria at a rooftop bar overlooking the Barcelona skyline. The girl from that group assignment you did last semester is photographing the myriad of colours at Yellowstone’s Grand Prismatic Spring. Your brother’s girlfriend’s sister just went snorkelling in the emerald waters of Cozumel.
And then there’s you, dying to be anywhere but here.
The question is… Why haven’t you packed up and taken off with the rest of them?
For most of us, the answer often lies in the finances. Either a lack of them, or a concern about blowing a big chunk of money that you’ll never get back.
But it’s important to step back and look at the bigger picture.
Travel can provide numerous opportunities to grow as an individual, in as many ways as saving for a home deposit can.
And it wasn’t until I spontaneously booked flights to London that it occurred to me: travel really doesn’t have to have a direct benefit to my financial future.
Strangely enough, spending a good chunk of my savings never felt better.
So what are you waiting for? Here are six fun and achievable ways to fund the trip of a lifetime. I can’t guarantee you’ll have any money when you return, but I promise it will be worth it.
Find a travel buddy
Travelling with someone else makes good financial sense.
Accommodation costs get divided, as does the cost of food and drinks, and hey, you have someone to talk to on those long bus or train journeys. Easy as pie.
Just remember you’re going to be in each other’s pockets, in a new place, where tensions can get high. So whatever you do, choose a good travel buddy.
Choose a destination that offers value for money
Some of the most sought-after holiday destinations are also the cheapest, which means you’re in luck.
Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore and Hong Kong are all very affordable, especially if you live in Australia. It means there’s no huge, expensive airfare, or 36 hour flight with multiple stop-overs.
If you’re heart-set on Europe, accommodation in Italy, Greece and Spain is also very reasonably priced due to the current economic situation.
Feeling Inspired? Here Are the Cheapest Destinations to Go Now the Dollar is Low
Cut out ‘nice to have’ expenses at home
If you buy a coffee everyday, swap it out and make a coffee at home.
If you’re eating out three times a week, cut down to two and put away the savings. It sounds boring and that’s because, let’s be honest, it is. But don’t take your eye off the prize. All that extra cash can build up pretty quickly.
Soon, you’ll have enough saved for a EuroRail Pass, a connecting flight or a week-long Peruvian trek. You can live without a few $4 coffees for that.
Make the most of birthdays and Christmas
Now, most well-meaning relatives will ask what you want for your birthday or Christmas.
And that’s where you bite the bullet and ask for cash. It might be more polite to say “nothing” or “a new t-shirt” but tell everyone you’re planning a holiday and they’ll get the hint and be keen to support your endeavours.
Who knows, if they’re feeling generous by the end of the holiday season you could have enough to pay your entrance fee to Disneyland and buy a pair of Mickey ears on top!
Be smart when spending money overseas
You don’t have to travel on a first class five star budget to have a great time.
Budget accommodation and transport will let you do more, stay longer and spend less, and you’ll probably meet more fun people too.
And while you’re away, save money by heading to the grocery store instead of dining out.
Foreign supermarkets are a great source of entertainment, so if your accommodation doesn’t include breakfast, head to a local grocery or deli and pick up a box of cereal and a carton of milk and skimp out on the cafe breakfast. You’ll save cash and calories and have a great time in the process.
Make money on holiday
If you work casually and don’t get paid holidays, look for some freelance work that can be done abroad.
Creative types can turn to their passions and hobbies, things like photography, creative writing, or blogging. If you speak another language, you can offer translation or English speaking services so you don’t return home with an empty bank account, or to fund your lifestyle while you’re away.
It is absolutely 150 per cent possible to save for a dream holiday and keep your long-term financial goals on track when you get home. It’s all a matter of balance and thinking long-term.
Enjoy your guilt-free travels y’all!