Isn’t that always the defining question. How do I pay for it? Where do I get the money from? Or the one that always get’s under my skin… I’m not rich enough for travel. There is only one thing you need to fully understand before you decide that you can’t afford to travel: how bad do you want it?
You don’t have to be rich to travel. Half the people I meet abroad are broke, rough it, and have the craziest, most amazing experiences and stories. The other half I barley talk to because their the ‘rich’ ones who stay in nice hotels and dine in luxury. If you want luxury, then you half to work twice as hard to get it… but if you just want to relax live, be free, have experiences and not worry about tomorrow? Then all you need is a plane ticket!
WHERE TO GO:
It is pretty obvious, that where you want to go determines how much money you are going to need.
Europe: although the most popular, and the easiest to travel around within, it is the most expensive. I would love to backpack Europe, but I don’t have enough funds to spend four months travelling through every nook and cranny or it.
1) At the end of any big trip I plan, I try to throw in a week to ten days in an new European Country. This way, I do Europe slowly, and affordably.
2) Go in the off season. Summer time is a mess when it comes to booking hostels, and trains. Go in the fall or early spring seasons for the best rates.
3) Try to avoid flights at all costs throughout europe and use the EuroRail.
4) Hostels, ten minutes outside the city center are actually on average ten dollars cheaper.
5) Also, don’t be afraid to bunk in a dorm room. Lock up your valuables, but other than that.. no one is going to steal from you, because then you might steal from them!
South- East Asia: It may sound scary, it may sound to exotic, too far, too expensive.. blah, blah, blah… excuses! South-East asia is the most affordable place on earth, and there are plenty of westerners backpacking it all year long!
1) A pitcher of Sangria in Cambodia is $1.50, 3 months living in South-East asia could only cost $800. Affordable!
2) The off season, there are hundreds of deals, trying to get more people there. However, the off season is the rainy season, but when it’s 45 degrees outside, rain is the best thing! Go in the summer time, may to august is the wet season. The most popular time to go is November to March, when it’s cooler. (Don’t get too excited, it’s still a scorcher over there on the equator)
3) Most of South-East asia accepts American dollars, so you wont even loose any money in the conversion.
Those are the two extremes in relation to expensive back packing and cheap affordable backpacking, so pick your destinations wisely, because that determines if you can go or not. Other affordable areas include Central America and South America. Africa, although it is cheap is difficult to travel around, so it may take extra planning and a few flights, however it is still cheap here too.
WHERE DO I FIND THE MONEY?
Back to the main question: How bad to do you want it? This will determine, how much effort you will put into actually making the money for your big trip. There are the obvious ways… and the other little idea’s you may not have even though off:
1) GET A JOB. Yeah it sucks, and then theres the problem of taking time off your job. But if it’s just part-time, then start to work full time. I have a lot of travel friends who work full-time and go to school full-time, just to feed her traveling addiction.
2) SAVE. We all pretend we can do it, but in reality, no one can! The best advice is don’t put yourself in a situation where you know you will spend money. Don’t tempt yourself at the mall, or in a fancy restaurant. Try not to kill your social life, but if your friends want to hang out, just offer up a more affordable, or free solution. Picnic in the park anyone?
3) PIGGY BANK. Get one. Put a sticky note on it with the name of your big trip. Put it somewhere obvious. A few nickles here and there really do add up.
4) FUNDRAISE. Ask small companies to support you, tell them of your trip, it’s international, scholastic or volunteering benefit. Really promote what your doing, and how they can help or be a part of it. Offer to show case their company in return for some sponsorship money. Be public about what you’re doing, hand out flyers at the mall, and talk to people about how to get more involved, and how they can help you.
5) IF YOUR A STUDENT: Set up a booth on campus. Make thing’s, sell thing’s. I have a friend who sold her jewelry on campus to fund her trip to Africa.
6) HOST EVENTS: Hold a car wash, a bake sale, auction of items, hold a raffle, dance-a-thons etc..
7) PARTIES: Throw a giant party or keggar in the name of your trip, or volunteer work. All the profit goes towards your cause. If it’s your birthday, ask only for twenty dollars from each person instead of presents… then invite everyone you know!
8 ) COLLECT EMPTY BOTTLES. Go around on Monday mornings collecting empty beer bottles. If you live in a college town, go door to door, explain your cause and help clean up their mess by taking their empties. Return this at your local beer store for some change, and this add’s up quickly, especially the more you do it.
9) SCHOLARSHIPS AND GRANTS. There is ton’s of money out there, that people are just willing to give you especially for international travel. Google them, see what you can do and just apply! What’s the harm?
10) SELL THINGS ONLINE. Ebay, Kijiji, Craigslist… so many websites out there for this purpose. Sell that old guitar you havn’t touched in years, those designer bags that are last season. You could even sell that blender that you thought was a good idea to buy! Someones trash could be another persons treasure, and you reap the rewards.
Ultimately, it comes down to: How bad do you want it and how much will you put in to get it? No one said money grows on trees, but there are hundreds of alternatives to harvest it yourself!