Many people are asking how we are able to afford this trip of a lifetime. Well I will tell you exactly how we did it so hopefully you too are able to travel cheaper, longer and better!
1) Start a savings jar. It sounds silly but that change adds up! My change jar has been building for 2 years and is now overflowing.
2) Get a second (or third or fourth) job. Over the summer I worked 5 jobs. It drove me nuts but it was for only 3 months so it was doable. After working 65+ hour weeks, when I did my taxes I found out that I managed to make almost $10,000 more dollars this year than I did last year!
3) Give yourself some inspiration. I have a world map hanging above my bed. Print out photos of where you are going and hang them up around your room or make a travel scene your screensaver so you think about it often.
4) Consider what you could buy. That $20 meal you just bought could have gotten you a 2-night stay in a hostel in Peru. Instead of buying that new Apple Watch you could have bought a round trip plane ticket to Costa Rica.
5) Minimize on gifts – make something or give your time instead of useless gifts they may never use. Plus people usually like these gifts more anyway!
6) Start saving way ahead of time. We started saving 2 years ago, when we had no idea what this trip would even entail. It was just a dream in our mind but we started putting money aside for it. I started a CD account that would gain more interest than a regular savings account and that I couldn’t touch for 11 months.
7) Cut down on living expenses. I still live at home, Vincent rents out a basement. We grocery shop at Aldi or Ruler's Foods. Carpool as much as possible. We have a scooter that gets 100 miles to the gallon that we drive when it is warm enough. Be concious of your electricity and water usage so those bills are as low as possible.
8) Make a budget- and stick to it. However it doesn’t have to be so strict that you don’t allow yourself some goodies every once in a while. Reward yourself periodically. It’s just like sticking to a diet- you can have cheat days here and there just don’t TOTOALLY pig out. I use the app “Mint” to keep track of my funds.
9) Get a credit card a year or two in advance and rack up your cash back/mileage points. I have a Discover It card that I get cash back on and I have a Venture One Master Card that I get mileage points on. ***DON’T do this unless you can pay off your credit card each month!*** Going into credit card debt is not the best way to afford your travels.
10) Quit eating out so much. When you do, take coupons, order something cheap, split with someone, or order water.
11) Quit drinking so much alcohol- when you do go out check out the drink specials or just drink at home.
12) Choose cheap destinations where your money will go the farthest.
Cheapest cities to travel to in the US:
Kansas City, MO, Memphis, TN, St. Paul, MN, Savannah, GA, Austin, TX, New Orleans, LA
Cheapest Countries to travel to:
Nepal, Vietnam, Peru, India, Thailand, Romania
13) Be transportation smart! Plan far enough in advance –plane tickets are cheapest when purchased 6 weeks out. Don’t fly on the weekends or close to holidays. Travel in off seasons and make sure your bag isn’t over weight. Bring your own snacks on planes/trains so you don’t pay for expensive meals there. Walk, bike, and take trains or busses instead of flying or paying for a taxi.
14) Coupons are your friends! Download apps for places you frequent as they usually have discounts or rewards programs. (Shout out to Cartwheel at Target!!) Always check for student discounts and AAA discounts.
15) Be lodging smart! Stay in a hostel or Air Bnb instead of hotels. Consider doing home exchanges.
16) Be booking smart! Use discount websites like Expedia for lodging, and Skyscanner or Hopper to find flights.
17) The ABSOLUTE BEST thing you can do (and probably the ONLY reason we can afford to travel this long) is to join a volunteer program like Workaway or WOOF. These programs connect you to hosts based on your preferences, and then you reach out to the hosts and work out an exchange. Most of the time you will work for 5 hours a day, 5 days a week doing anything from farming and childcare to running tours and reception work. In exchange many places offer room and board. If working on your vacation doesn’t sound appealing to you, find a couch (or private room if you’re lucky) on Couch Surfing. The other plus side to this is that you get to live with and like a local. You will get to experience things and learn things tourists may not ever see. It is the best way to be immersed in the culture.
** Most of the websites I have mentioned are based on trust. While these organizations DO take many precautions for their members you cannot only rely on that. If something sounds funky or doesn’t add up- run the other way.
**I am in no way endorsed by any of the companies mentioned above. Everything stated is my honest, unbiased opinion.
My savings jar and my inspiration map I see every day! (: