“I don’t need an article telling me that I should travel, I need the funds to travel.”
Listen darling, before you betch about not having the money to travel, but have a new car, flat screen, or are going on the same six weekenders you went to in college, re-evaluate your lifestyle. They say "travel is the only thing you buy that actually makes you richer," so here are some tips on how to re-direct your investment. After all, traveling is just that – an investment in bettering yourself.
1. Set a financial goal and timeline. Write it down, add it to your calendar, and check progress weekly/ monthly. Discuss it with family and friends for support. Treat it like a weight loss/gain goal or an academic/career goal.
2. Take 15% (or x – amount) from your pay check that goes straight into a new TRAVEL SAVINGS Account. Mint.com let's you combine your bank accounts and manage your budget in categories on one platform.
3. Pick something that you purchase daily and could live without… and live without it. (I.e. $4 Starbucks x $365 days per year = $1460: that's a round trip flight to Europe). Over-achiever? Pick two.
4. Take a break from purchasing brands. Do you really need another Tory Burch purse? Another pair of Raybans? Another cologne? Every time you are tempted to buy something, take the exact cost and put it into your Travel Savings Account.
5. For x months: no big weekends. (A weekend in SF + a weekend in Vegas + a weekend at Coachella + 12 weekends of bar hopping in Santa Monica = 2 Months in South East Asia).
6. Seriously, when you get invited to go out, guess how much you would have spent on drinks and add it to you Travel Savings Account. Wine and NetFlix doesn't sound that bad anyways.
7. Ask for gift cards related to travel for your birthday, graduation, and Christmas. Heck, the Easter Bunny might throw in a few bucks towards your trip. Grandma may have some air mileage she's not going to use.
8. Do a "job on the side" which strictly funds your travel goal. (I.e. baby-sitting, photography, free-lance work, tutoring, yard-work etc).
9. Put commissions, tips, and bonuses straight into your Travel Saving Account.
`10. Make real sacrifices – move in with your parents or get a roommate to half your rent. Just for x months. It's worth it.
11. Move walking distance from where you work. Do you know how much money you could save on gas if you just rode your bike?
12. Once you've saved a little and showed some effort, try Crowd Funding your Travels with Trevolta. Family and friends can pitch in to help you finance the rest of your voyage.
In a perfect world, we would have everything in our 20's. (But then again, look at what happened to Miley, Lohan, and Bynes). If we have to choose one luxury over another, the benefits of traveling out-weigh the costs. To dream of seeing the world, and to be able to finance it yourself in your 20s is an absolutely phenomenal feeling. With a little discipline and organization, you too can make your "dreams" into "goals."