Authored by Kara Perez
Travel is a dream for many people. Laying on exotic beaches, roaming the streets of ancient cities, tasting foods you’ve never heard of- it sounds like heaven! Though unfortunately, many people consider travel something utterly beyond their reach.
Travel takes time, money, and planning. And people always seem to find themselves coming up short on at least one of those things.
I know. I’m a freelance writer who only makes $32,000 a year. Money is often in short supply. But I was bit by the wanderlust bug as a child, and I’ve always made travel a priority.
I’ve been to seven countries and 30 US states. Do I have to live in a van down by the river in order to do it? Absolutely not. Travel isn’t just for someday when you’re richer. Or someday when you have the time. Regardless of your circumstances, it can absolutely be for the here and now!
Travel Isn’t Just For Someday – How I Travel on a $32,000 Salary
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The biggest thing you can do to travel more is decide that you want to prioritize travel. You have to make a dream a goal, and start taking real steps towards it.
If travel seems like it’s totally out of your reach in every way, then you’ll never come up with a way to make it work. So decide that you’re someone who travels. Say it out loud as many times as it takes until you believe it. Once you believe it you’ll start finding opportunities to do so.
Work it Into Your Life
Believing you can make travel happen is the first set, for without that mindset you’ll never take the second step. And that is to look for chances to work it into your life.
Do you have a friend who lives six states away? A family member who lives in the Caribbean? Can you spend the weekend camping an hour away from home?
Explore options other than ‘I bought a round the world ticket and never looked back!’ You don’t have to live that travel story. Not everyone has to quit their jobs, sell their homes and live the life of a nomad.
One of my favorite ways to travel is to take a road trip to see friends, or to camp. Driving is cheaper than airlines, and staying with friends eliminates the hotel cost.
Travel CAN be Frugalized
Remember that any means of travel can be frugalized. (I definitely made up that word). If you want to fly to Europe for two weeks, don’t just buy a ticket and go. That will drain your bank account fast! Use things like credit card rewards to score a free or discounted ticket.
Instead of paying for a hotel or Airbnb in pricey places like Europe, see if you can exchange work for a free place to stay. Many hostels will provide free housing in exchange for a certain number of work hours a week. (This can also be a great way to practice a language!) Or look into opportunities for house-sitting or home exchange.
If you’re dreaming of the day you might have enough money to travel, you need to constantly save. Even if all you can manage to put away is $20 a month, save it. Even if you don’t have a trip planned at the moment, save some money. Small savings add up to big things.
I started saving for a four week road trip that started in September in February. I knew I couldn’t pull thousands of dollars out of thin air in the last few weeks before I wanted to hit the road. By saving small amounts over eight months, I had enough money to take a dream trip.
Travel is within your reach, even if you’re a small earner like me. Be deliberate about where you actually spend your money, and take every opportunity to save that you can. You’ll find that travel presents itself in lots of little ways!
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