Travelling is fun. Everyone, or at least almost everyone loves to travel. Who doesn’t dream of visiting the Bhuj Khalifa of Dubai? Or the Iceland’s beautiful geothermal Blue Lagoon, enjoying the sunsets on the beaches of Brazil, the tasty dishes in Jamaica, the architecture and music of Portugal, the art and food of Spain or the festivals of Calabar? But interestingly, more than half of human race fail to fulfill their travel dreams before the end of their lives.
There are many reasons for this. But one is universal: money. Mathew Kepnes, a writer for a travel blog, writes “I recently asked subscribers of my newsletter about the number one thing that holds them back from traveling. The near consensus answer? Money. This is something I hear from everyone I talk to. “Matt, I simply don’t have enough money to travel.” This problem and how to overcome it is probably my most asked question. Since this question comes up so often, I like to constantly remind people of this fact: You do not need to be rich to travel.
Granted money is involved in travelling, sometimes lots of it, we try to examine six ways by which you can embark on that dream journey without necessarily getting into debt.
Make a budget and stick to it. Most people find it hard making budgets, and harder sticking to them. If you are indeed determined to embark on that trip, you have got to make a budget, review it, fine-tune it, and most importantly stick to it. The secret is that a budget helps you to put the cost of your travel in perspective. Merely imagining the cost of visiting a dream destination can be scary. But a budget gives you a clearer picture of real cost and helps you find less costly alternatives to pricey items on the list. However, travel budgeting is just a part of the whole. Learn to make periodic budgets of your entire finances. This way, you are able to allocate limited resources to your priority items, one of which is traveling.
- Reduce your expense
As much as possible, cut down on your expenses. Economists tell us that resources are scarce and cannot adequately take care of all our wants at the same time. This explains the wisdom in spending only on what you need and not all that you want. In a bid to travel without becoming indebted, consider cutting out all expenses that are not indispensable to your livelihood. This is just so you are able to save some money to fund your travel. That means saying no to an extra bottle of beer at nigh-outs, suspending gym membership, impulsive shopping, the list is endless. It may not seem like a lot at the beginning. But those with discipline and consistency, you would have saved a lot to partly fund that your dream travel.
- Earn more money
Earning more money could mean either selling stuff that you don’t really need again, or taking up extra jobs. For the former, saving money to travel might mean surfing the house to see shoes that have become tight, dresses that have become unfit, electronics that have been lying in the shelve for months gathering dusts, or furniture that have outlived their usefulness. Put them up for sale, and make some cool cash out of them. Then you may want to consider putting some skills into use to make extra money. How about taking up part-time jobs? Opportunities for online businesses are limitless. Edit books, design websites, write contents, and engage in affiliate marketing amongst others. These are ways to make extra money without necessarily leaving your full time job.
- Travel in low season
Obviously this will depend on when you can travel, but traveling to a destination in low season can save tons of money. For example, travelling from Nigeria to the United States during winter is cheaper than embarking on the same journey at summer. Also by booking your flights and accommodations way ahead of your scheduled journey, you will spend less on the journey. Even more interesting is the fact that you can fly for free on some airlines. There are so many ways to earn free flights. Outside Africa, some airlines offer opportunities for travelers to fly free of charge upon meeting some conditions. In America for example, you can sign up for a travel credit cards, collect miles, and then fly for free. Most cards offer sign-up bonuses of 30,000 points and if you sign up for both an airline card (say for example United Airlines card) and a general rewards card like the Chase Sapphire or American Express card, you can combine the two point balances and get a cheap flight faster. Credit card signups are the best way to collect miles. And if you can’t sign up for credit cards, there are other ways to increase your mileage balance without credit cards, such as shopping at their member stores. All airlines have special offers with all the big stores- Amazon, Apple, Best Buy, Target, etc. Shopping at those preferred stores will earn you 2 to 4 miles per dollar spent- sometimes even more. If you spend 1,000 dollars a month, you can earn up to 3,000 miles just by going through their websites. The products don’t cost extra.
Hitchhiking (also known as thumbing or hitching auto-stop) is a means of transportation that is gained by asking people, usually strangers for a ride in their vehicles sometimes at a very cheaper cost or even at no cost at all. Although not common, and infact not advisable in this part of the world (Nigeria) because of safety concerns, it is a common and the cheapest means of travelling America and parts of Europe.
The Africa substitute for that will be getting other like minded people to travel together with. This way, you can contribute for the cost of the journey (usually road). Very similar to this is couch surfing. If this is new to you, you can simply go online and check here.It’s a network of millions of people in cities all over the world. There, you’ll get to meet locals, new friends, and they’ll offer you a space to stay in their apartment or house when you come visiting their area. Try and build up some reputation within the community (if you have none) beforehand, as you’ll want to be able to trust the hosts just like they’ll want to trust you. This is a great way to meet locals within whichever area you’re traveling to.
- Learn the Language
If you are going to be staying at that travel destination for a while, give yourself a head start by leaning some common phrases and sentences of the language of your host community. Secret is, natives are always thrilled seeing foreigners or people from other ethnic affiliations speak their languages. In Nigeria, people from other parts of the country who speak Hausa language in a Northern state are often given special treatments and get items sold to them at cheaper prices. Learning the language of your host offers two major advantages. While you are able to quickly develop friendships with locals, you are also guaranteed of getting items at reasonable prices. Isn’t that another way to save money?