How I travel on a broke budget. Ha!
I remember watching the movie "Coming to America" featuring Eddie Murphy. Eddie plays a Prince who comes to America. It peaked my interest. I was so inquisitive at a young age. I wonder what was beyond my block, beyond my television, beyond the American Border. In third grade we performed "In San Francisco" by Tony Bennett. The passion in the song resonated with me and I would always have an interest to live in San Francisco one day.
'I knew I wanted to travel. I planted the seed.'
I knew I wanted to travel. I planted the seed. I didn't think about money. I didn't think about any complications. I thought about my goal. To travel. With that mindset I was destined to make my dreams come true. When you have a vision, hard work and sacrifice isn't even a factor. It's natural. It's apart of the vision. I don't look at it as a negative. I think of it as a journey to the final destination.
I started traveling to New Jersey in my younger teens. Developing a keen sense of travel etiquette and independence. These small trips helped to create a sense of direction. By the age of nineteen, I was on my first plane to Chicago. The next four years would be a focus around adulthood, isolating my travel to neighboring states. I traveled to Washington DC and Maryland frequently. I would buy a bus ticket and stay with friends. As I got older , my desire to see the world increased. I created a dream travel list.
I created a dream travel list.
However, funds would always keep me local. I would never travel far, due to the fear of bills or debt.
My goal was to start to invest my money into my travel list. Every time I came into a lump sum of money, my first investment would be a ticket to a place on my list. Based on my budget, it could be a train to Canada or a flight to Asia.
Every time I came into a lump sum of money, my first investment would be a ticket to a place on my list.
It took a lot of planning , sacrifice and focus. So here is some honesty; to be a business student , I am the WORST at saving money. Ahhhhhhh! Hate to admit it , but there I said it. I have a shopping addiction, I eat a plant based diet and I support myself one hundred percent. So money can be scarce sometimes. So do not feel alone. I am much better with my finances as I have approached 30. Going back to school has cut my funds in half. However , it has also taught me the value of a dollar and how to invest it wisely. At 22, I would spend viciously. I am talking about hundred dollar weekends at the club and five hundred dollar shopping sprees at Zara. Coming into adulthood has help me to understand money better. Once I began to have a desire to travel , I started to invest money differently. Do I buy Starbucks everyday or ground coffee for home. Do I spend two hundred dollars in Zara or buy off poshmark/EBay. These things started to become realistic questions. Every time I swiped I wonder what place could I travel with this money.
So, objective number one : STOP SPENDING MONEY ON DUMB SHIT.
A lot of times we can convince ourselves we need almost everything. We are over consumers in America. This is something you will learn as you travel the world.
Objective number two : Break the trip up
Sometimes I cannot afford a $1500 ticket in one shot. Especially as a full time student living on a dime. So at times I will split the ticket in two. Buying one way for $300 is much easier. With research and planning, sometimes it's actually cheaper to split the ticket in two "one way" trips. Other times it's more expensive. But either way , it gives you breathing room financially. So when going to Asia , I purchased a one way trip to Indonesia and a one way trip back to America.
Objective three : Research
I research flights in multiple sites to compare prices. The lowest days are Monday's around noon and Tuesday mornings. Every once in a while, Friday mornings before 8am, may have low prices as well.
Objective four: Hotel
Air b n b tends to be a cheaper alternative. However , with thorough research you can find a nice affordable hotel, especially abroad. You sometimes have an option to pay for the hotel when you arrive, which always saves you financial stress in the moment.
Final objective : Spread sheets
Plan! Plan ! Plan! This will help your budget and break down exactly how much money you will spend during the trip. This tends to be more efficient and helps you save money. Secondly always spend wisely. If your have similar stores back home, don't spend your money in those places. The idea is to experience the culture abroad. So no do not eat McDonald's in France. Instead go to a nice bistro or cafe. Think of your travel as investment. What will get you the best yield.
Lastly, have fun and know that money is printed everyday. The chance to live life is only given once. Stop saying one day and say today! You have bills, you will always have bills. Plan , save, invest , and live a little