How do you find money to travel?

If the travel budget seems daunting, is there something else that’s sucking up your funds?

The new issue of Perceptive Travel is out today. I ended up doing the book reviews. Two books that I wasn’t so impressed with, but one that was great–The Devil’s Picnic. Why I’m bringing this up is that one line in there is really appropriate in terms of finding money for travel. The author, Taras Grescoe, notes in passing that supporting a pack-a-day cigarette habit in New York City for a year costs as much as a round-the-world plane ticket.

That can’t be right I thought–until I pulled out a calculator. At $7.50 a pack, a common price there, the tab after 365 days would be $2,737.50. That’s not just enough for a bare bones round-the-world ticket; it’s actually enough for one with a fair number of stops.

If you take that reasoning a step further, quitting smoking for two years and putting that $7.50 per day away in the bank would result in a plane ticket and enough to fund three to six months of travel in cheap countries. I’m not picking on smokers really. They get enough abuse. Apply the same reasoning to those with a two-a-day mocha latte habit, or to those who can’t stop buying new shoes, people who spend hundreds of dollars a week at restaurants, or anyone who feels they have to have the latest hot sports car in the driveway. Unless you’re really making close to nothing, budgeting is all about priorities. You pay the fixed costs and then divvy up the rest according to priorities. In too many cases, the priorities revolve around buying and consuming at a frenetic pace, or purchasing short vacation packages in the same way a shopper would purchase a new TV.

The people who most often ask how I can afford to travel so often are usually earning more money than I do. The problem is, it’s all going into their new car, their ever-growing wardrobe, and their oversized house filled with too much stuff.

Those who really want to travel do. I’ve shared guesthouses with school teachers, janitors, bartenders, and construction workers. They made travel a priority, saved their money, and took off. For most of us, it’s simply a matter of will.

There are some good books out there that cover this subject in more detail. I can personally recommend Traveler’s Tool Kit, Vagabonding, and Rough Guide’s First Time Around the World.

  1. Helene Goupil

    Well said Tim!

  2. Helene Goupil

    Well said Tim!

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