If you keep up to date with the travel blogging and vlogging scene, you’ve probably encountered several posts promising that you can travel for free for an extended amount of time. There are so many blog posts and Youtube videos out there promising that you can travel the world either for free or at least for a lot less than the average tourist that it seems as if everyone knows this million dollar secret except you. Now, since I’m leaving for an approximate 6-12 months long trip to New Zealand in October, I thought I’d share my two top tips on how I’m able to afford such a trip.
So, here are my two top tips on how to afford my upcoming long-term travel:
1.Work, Work, Work!
2.Save, Save, Save!
Sorry to burst your bubble, but there is no magic secret. Alright, let me paraphrase this a bit: You will need money to travel.
Now, before you attack me, sure, programs such as couchsurfing or WWOOFing are fantastic options so save money while being on the road. However, you will not get by without money. And if you want to travel the world for a longer period, you will need a lot of money.
I’ll be honest with you, it annoys me a bit to stumble upon these seemingly endless posts claiming that you can travel for free and that you are doing it wrong if you do spend money while travelling. Never forget that travelling, especially long-term travel or trips to far-away places, are a privilege many may never be able to afford for a variety of reasons. Travelling is, however, not only for the rich either. In other words, many people can make their dream trip happen, but it won’t come easy nor will it be for free.
Whenever I talk about my upcoming trip to New Zealand, some people are not only jealous (which is perfectly normal and ok), but even begin to treat me as if I’ve fallen into a pot of gold (aka sponsored by parents) or used some highly dubious ways to afford it. My secret as why I’m able to afford to go to New Zealand for up to a year? As implied earlier, I’m able to afford my upcoming trip to New Zealand because I worked my butt off and saved 70-80% of my paycheck for over a year now.
It all started in January 2015. After my then-apartment was hopelessly mold-infested, I was forced to move back in with my parents. It was meant to be a temporary solution, but due to several emergencies in the family, I decided to live with my parents and help them out, until I graduate in October 2016. Soon after, I decided to save my money in order to afford a Working Holiday in New Zealand after graduation.
If I’d kept my own apartment, I would’ve never been able to save a large sum of money to begin with. So I had to make my first compromise. By living with my parents, which is not always fun when you’re in your late 20s, I was able to save 70-80% of my paycheck. And when I say that I saved up to 80%, I really mean it. I’ve only payed my remaining bills and the bare necessities. No more random hauls. At. All.
In addition to that, I’ve also worked on average 60-80 hours per month at 2-3 different jobs, in addition to being a full-time student and working on several volunteering projects, of course. If it sounds like a stressful time you, let me tell you that you have no idea how stressful it really was. In short, I worked and planned for one and a half years for my New Zealand Working Holiday to happen.
As implied earlier, you don’t have to be rich to afford long-term travel, but don’t let yourself fooled into thinking that there is a secret to travelling without any money at all. I said it earlier, and I’ll say it again, travel is a privilege you have to earn. While it is easier than ever to explore the globe for an extended amount of time, it is not for free. I’m not telling you this to discourage you. I’m telling you this to prevent you from being stranded without any money, not knowing how to afford food or shelter (I’ve been there and trust me, it is not a nice feeling), in a foreign country, far away from home.
Travel is supposed to enrich you, not to leave you drowning in debt.