Perhaps the first step in planning your trip is to save the money. Afterall, you can't pick a route until you know how much you have to spend. Even though it is important to stay flexible throughout the planning process, it is still helpful to have at least some idea ahead of time how much things will cost so that you can make sure that we have enough money for the trip. Regardless of your normal travel style, being on the road a long period of time generally means that you'll have to become budget-conscious, even if you're used to traveling in luxury. Unless you have an endless supply of money, a long term trip takes special financial planning and a thrifty attitude.
The best time to get used to spending less is before your trip even begins. If you start to cut out unnecessary expenses before you even leave home, then you'll already be in that mindset when your trip begins. This habit will also help you save more before you hit the road. If you have trouble saving money, keep reminders of what your ultimate goal is. This will help you keep your eye on the prize.
This guide, however, is about traveling, and not so much about how to manage your money. After all, people save their money for many reasons, not just to travel. There are thousands of guides and tips on how to save up for a big purchase on the internet and in the bookstore, so we won't go into too many details here. However, here are a few crucial key points that helped us along the way.
Put away a set amount of money into a savings account with every paycheck. Then, live off of the rest without touching the savings. It should be as if you didn't get paid the whole amount to begin with. Many experts say to put away 5% to 10% of your paycheck, but we're recommending more. If you can, shoot for as high as 40% or 50%. This may seem crazy at first, but try to push yourself and see what's possible. Depending on where and how you live, you'll be surprised with your results if you stick to it.
Take a look at your monthly budget. Are there any unnecessary expenses that can be eliminated? Do you really need cable television? Can you change your phone plan to save a little bit? Do you go shopping on a regular basis? All of these small amounts add up.
We all enjoy eating out, but restaurant meals can be a huge expense. Instead of having an expensive dinner at a restaurant, consider going out for lunch or brunch instead. These meals are usually a little more affordable and not much smaller in size. Better yet, focus on cooking more meals instead of going out.
Downsizing can really help you save money. Sell some unnecessary items that are just taking up space. Consider living in a small home or apartment. Not only will your rent or mortgage go down, but so will your utilities. Think about how you're going to pay any bills that will occur during your trip, and do everything you can to minimize these bills. Don't buy that new car until you get home. Pay down any credit card debt that you might have. Can you pay off your student loans? The less you have to worry about at home while you're on the road, the better your trip will be. If you do have monthly bills that need to be taken care of, make sure you set up a reoccurring payment online. Paying bills on the road can be challenging. Some places have limited internet access and the last thing you want to be thinking about is whether your payment made it in on time.
Ultimately, all of these tips involve the same overarching concept. You need to reevaluate your spending priorities. What is it that you really want out of life? Do you need that new iPhone or those fancy shoes? Could you be living cheaper? If you're prioritizing a trip around the world, you're hopefully already thinking about these issues.
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