Its odd gauging reactions to how much you spend on travel and adventure activities. To some people, they are as enthused as you are and are blown away such an adventure exists let alone that I went and did it. Others are confused, only focusing on the dollars instead of the experience or possibility showing a bit of self-reflection and jealousy. It’s part of the reason why I didn’t advertise my trip too much and don’t talk too much about it afterwards. I’m more than content with my memories.
I am often asked how I saved for such an activity. Most travelers would take that cash and take off for a full year of travel. You can travel off $22K easily for a year. However, I also run in to people who just have that one big adventure. Something they’ve always dreamed of doing. Well you can do it. Here is a list of how I saved up for my MIG-29 flight.
#1 – I’m not fully nomadic
Most sites preach perpetual travel, which is amazing! If that’s where your heart is, follow it! I work full-time and worked my way in to a position that gives me the financial backing and flexibility to travel. I worked two jobs to help pay off all my debts and put away extra cash in a travel fund.
#2 – Increase income before being frugal
Most tips will have you cut all your expenses down to the minimum and reduce your discretionary spending. That’s the step I would take after finding a second income source. A night/weekend job, is ideal, consulting, or starting a small side business is another option. Increasing your income usually takes up more of your time. This is the best way to cut down on discretionary spending. Once the second income is locked in then cut back on what you don’t need. It will be much easier. Also, the second job doesn’t have to be permanent. Remember what the end goal is.
#3 – Personal finance and an emergency fund
First, pick a bank that does not have any fees. In Canada, that’s PC Financial. With your extra income, opened three (or more) saving accounts. One for emergencies, one for short term travel and the other for long term travel. From your second income, put your first four-five pay checks in to the emergency fund first. (This is needed for #4) The second income doesn’t exist. Use it exclusively to fund your travels. Don’t touch it until you’re booking your flight. I mean it, don’t!
#4 – Discipline and focus
Sticking with the program is where most people slip up. Agreeing to lunch out, that extra beer or noticing you’re not in the latest fashion can cause unwanted spending and guilt. That’s good, you should feel guilty, use it as motivation to get back on track. If you do find yourself in need of a few extra dollars take it from the emergency fund. Also try to put some cash back if you do dip in to it.
#5 – Keep the end goal in mind, you will achieve it.
Keep researching the places you want to visit or adventure you want to do. Even if it’s something insane (trek the north pole?) or to just buy a ticket anywhere then let your feet point in a direction to go. Research cities, local culture and food to try, make up an itinerary, then make another one. Read more blogs about the place. Sit down at your local chapters or barns & noble and read the lonely planet book. Learn some of the language. You can and will realize your dream. I did.
In conclusion, I had been saving for four years for the MIG ride, however the amount didn’t really start to climb until the last year and a half when I paid off my debts. Do these steps in order. Number two will be difficult at first but the reward will be worth it. I hope you’ve enjoyed these money saving travel tips that worked for me. Oh yeah, how did I spend it? Check it out. What’s your big dream?