How I afford to travel

switzerland

From the outside looking in, it seems as if I’m always traveling. I do travel more than say, the average human, but I also have a job, and a normal life like the most of us. The goal is to eventually have travel be my job,  blogging and sharing experiences with you. But, for now, I take advantage of every opportunity I get, and make for myself, to travel.

Taking a step back, I had a job that I worked at since I was 16. I basically considered everyone I worked with, family, meaning the company and I had an amazing relationship. Therefore, when I requested to take 3 months off to go travel, they were fine with it. At this point, I had graduated from college and saved a lot of money from bartending and working full time. My roommate and I knew we wanted to go overseas for an extended period of time, and see as much as we could. We started planning. The planning turned into…”Croatia looks awesome, let’s go there”…”Italy? Yes, let’s add that on”…until we made plans to visit 20+ countries, and even more cities. We planned and booked this trip over a 9 month period, spacing out the money being spent. We took full advantage of travel credit cards, that ended up saving us thousands of dollars. Read my blog about how to get free travel, here.

I’m not telling you to go ask your boss to take 3 months off. I get that was a very lucky and special situation, but, if your goal is to travel, then find a job that will allow you to take more time off than a normal company. I know people who travel all over the world, hopping from serving job to serving job but are living out their absolute dream. You CAN do it. Hell, work your ass off for a year or 2 and then quit your damn job. Trust me, if you have the guts and determination to travel the world for a long period of time, you’ll put that same determination into figuring out how to make money for yourself in the future. Plus, with the ever-growing world of technology, there are endless remote jobs out there.

You have to learn how to save your money if you want to travel (unless money is no issue). Saving is hard. But when you have goals that you really want to achieve, you’ll find a way to make it happen. I didn’t go out to eat, I didn’t waste my money at bars, I didn’t buy a lot of clothes. I tried not to spend money on anything I didn’t need. Plus, I was working a lot…a full time job and bartending 2 or 3 nights per week. When you work that much, you don’t want to do much else which equals more money for you.

Then came the trip, the adventure, the life changer. Travel is contagious.  Once the bug bites you, you’re doomed for life. Especially traveling to other countries, you learn so much about other cultures, and realize how much else is out there. This new exposure also makes you learn about yourself, and see substance in yourself that you didn’t know existed. You come alive. All this feeling does is give you motivation to find ways to keep traveling.

I’m super into photography. Therefore, when I travel I take way too many pictures. I still have hundreds of dope pictures from that 3 month trip (2 years ago) that I haven’t posted. I’ll sprinkle some into my Instagram here and there, which may lead people to believe that’s where I am, but I’m usually not. That’s another thing about us travel bloggers. We’re not always traveling…we just take so many pictures that it takes a long time to share them!

After I got back from the trip, I returned to my job, and just wanted to work enough to save money to do it all again. So I basically did. There were also the USA-wide trips I took in between overseas trips, on random weekends or whatever it was. Take advantage of your weekends people! Especially if you live in a beautiful state where you only need to drive a few hours to see epic places…do that! That is the entire reason I moved to Colorado.

The next big plan was to take on Bali. I had been there for a week during my previous extended trip, and fell in love. So, I decided to take a 6 week trip, adding Thailand to the end. Southeast Asia is SO cheap. Myself and another paid $200 per person to rent a nice apartment (airbnb) for an entire month in Bali. Meals were around $1-5 and you can rent a motorbike for under $70 per month. So if you spent $10 per day on food, you’d spend $570 on your living expenses, for a whole month. Maybe add another $500 on for fun, and $1,000 for your roundtrip flight…you’re spending a month in absolute paradise for $2k. My point is, if you’re trying to travel on a budget, go to places that your money is worth the most. Read more about my Bali tips and experiences, here. 

I still worked at the same company when I left for Bali, so they weren’t surprised I was trying to pull the same leave of absence. This time, I proposed that I could do some work for them remotely, as a way to have income when I was gone. They accepted. If you feel you have a good relationship with your employer, and you know you could do your job effectively from anywhere, don’t be afraid to ask! What’s the worst that could happen? They say no and you continue on? Be bold.

Those 2 trips were the bulk of my travels.  When I returned from this trip I thought I would be able to find a remote job to support myself, in order to keep traveling. Then a few things happened in life where I acquired a horse (yes, I own a horse) and I realized the remote jobs I was applying for weren’t going to cover the expenses I had. Then I thought of the next best option…move to a state that is as amazing and breathtaking as those seemingly far away places you see people post about. I had been to Colorado about 5 times prior, visiting friends, and knew how incredible it was there. So, the new goal became to find a job in Denver and move there asap. It took me about 4 months to find a job, but I finally did, and moved to what I now call home. This place is like no other. Its full of free spirits, adventurers, and people like you, travelers.

Like I said, I can now drive a few hours and see some of the most stunning places and sights in the world. It is just as great as traveling far away.

I still love to get out of here though. Again, weekends! Take a Friday off of work and take a short 2-4 day trip some where awesome. Go with your friends, share costs. There are endless amazing places within the states, or near you, that I’m sure you’d like to see. Also, it’s not breaking the bank. There are so many tips out there on the best ways to get flight deals, such as booking flights on Tuesdays. When I fly, I usually fly on budget airlines. A lot of them charge for you to even take a carry on, so shove everything in one backpack and be on your way. Are you going for fashion or amazing experiences?

To summarize, here are the main reasons why I’m able to travel:

  • Save money.
  • Take advantage of travel credit cards and book over longer periods of time when possible. This allows you to pay for your travel over time.
  • Use 0% APR credit cards to be able to pay off large sums over time…my current 0% APR credit card is the Citi Simplicity.
  • Take advantage of your weekends. Travel with friends to share costs.
  • Ask your job to let you work remotely, or find a remote job.
  • Get a side job, such as bartending or serving.
  • Get a job where they allow you to be flexible with time off.
  • Manipulate the time you buy flights. Fly on budget airlines. Subscribe to my blog for weekly deals!

Here are some awesome resources that I use for ideas on how to make extra money:

The Penny Hoarder

Forbes

I Will Teach You To Be Rich

 

Thanks for reading! Get traveling. 🙂

8 Comment

  1. This made me smile and cry all at once. Love you and I am so proud of you. You are amazing and inspiring. XOXOX

    1. Kelley, I miss you dearly. Thank you for your kind words, you are just as inspiring to me! Love you!!

  2. Great post Jessica, i really appreciate the tips. I laughed at the part about the travel bug… its such a real thing! It is so cool that you live in Colorado now. Endless amounts of nature right in your backyard. Thank you for the insight look forward to hearing more of your stories .

    1. Thank you for your support, Michael. I appreciate you!

  3. Love it Jess, thank you for the tips!

    1. Thanks for reading!

  4. This is AWESOMENESS Jess!!!

    1. Thank you so much!

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