One of the most asked questions I receive when I tell people I travel the world is, "How do you afford to travel?"
Today, I will share with you the plan that helped make my dreams come true.
I started planning for my travels nine months before I left. These are the steps I took before I began my journey of globe-trotting.
The first thing I did was make a list of all my expenses. Once I had a clear picture of my finances, I started cutting costs. I started using public transport to get to work, or I walked. I only prepared meals at home, and I would go to the grocery store frequently because I didn't want to waste food. The second thing I did was to stop purchasing items I didn't need. If it wasn't for my travels, I didn't need it. Then, I started minimizing my possessions, and I started looking at things from a new view. I didn't want to hold on to everything, so I made four piles. The first was all travel necessities. The second was a keep pile (the things I could never let go of). The third was the I don't know pile (I gave myself one month to use the items or lose them), last the get rid of pile. It helped me to clear out my life and not hold on to unnecessary junk. I had reduced everything down to three tots (that I leave with family), one large and one small suitcase. The process took me about a year to complete, so never think you have to do this overnight. Take your time and do what feels right for you, everyone is different, and this is what helped me in my journey.
I realized once I stopped spending and reducing my bills, it was easier for me to start saving money. I had saved $6,500 in 6 months with the steps I took. But, I received $7,184 from a car accident I was in before I went traveling, which helped fund the beginning of my travels.
Side note I did start traveling with a former friend, who saved around $6,000. If I could give you any advice about money and traveling with a friend, never open up a joint account. I made this mistake, and it screwed me in the end. But, I am grateful she came with me and that I was able to have a great adventure. I wasn't smart about my money or thinking someone would take from me. That will be a story for another day. The moral of that story be smart when it comes to friends and finances.
In total, our savings was around $20,000. I had not planned on saving this much, but it helped me feel safe and secure, knowing that we had enough to cover costs.
What came next was setting off on an adventure of a lifetime, with no clear vision or plan. It was a struggle for me to give up the control of needing to plan everything out. The reality of going with the flow made life simpler.
After four months of nonstop exploring, I had traveled to 6 countries, 19 cities.
-Singapore (8 days)
-Malaysia (12 days)
-Thailand (18 days)
-Cambodia (29 days)
-Vietnam (23 days)
-Laos (10 days)
During these months, I had a lot of fun adventures, including;
-Two tattoos (Thailand, Cambodia)
-Booze cruise (Thailand)
-Day trip on a boat (Thailand)
-Zip Lining (Thailand)
-Day trip (Thailand)
-Batu Caves (Malaysia)
-Clothes Made (Vietnam)
-2 Motorbikes (Vietnam)
-2-day trips (Vietnam)
-Angkor Watt Temples (Cambodia)
-Dolphin Tour (Cambodia)
-River Rafting (Laos)
After four months together, the total spent was $14,000, which was $7,000 per person. It included flights, food, hotels, transportation, trips, and other various essentials.
I bet you are wondering what happened when I didn't leave back to America but stayed in Asia. By the time I had decided to stay, I had looked up different options and found a website called Workaway. It allows people to volunteer for businesses in exchange for food and accommodation. I had found my first volunteer job at a resort in Malaysia. Only three days it took me to get a job there as the volunteer coordinator, with a small monthly allowance. Once I realized that I could volunteer and cut two of the expenses that cost the most was a life changer. I traveled for over a year with $2,000 in my bank account. I would only use that money for transportation and other necessities I needed. I figured out that if you are willing to have a simple life, anyone can travel. Everyone thinks they need a lot of money to start, but I found the trick, and I want to share it with anyone listening.
Since I get asked this question, I began tracking my expenses throughout Europe. Take a peek at how I traveled to 11 countries within a tight budget.