If you are planning to take some time to travel (and you really should see at least some of planet while you’re here) then you will also need to straighten out your finances before you leave. Money might not be an attractive topic like hiking through the Rockies or lying under a pitch black sky hoping to see the northern lights, but it is the fundamental thing that will get you there.
However impossible you think it might be to take some time to travel, here is how anyone can save enough to take the trip of a lifetime.
Start By Getting Your Finances In Order
Before you can start to save for your travels, you need to get your current financial situation under control. This means that if you have any debts, you need to prioritize paying them off before you start saving for your trip.
There is one question to ask in order to decide how to pay off your debts should I consolidate my credit card debt or should I prioritize high-interest debts first and pay off one by one. Essentially the answer here is to do whatever is easiest and most affordable. The benefit of consolidating your debt is that you are likely to lower the amount of interest you pay, but the benefit of paying off one by one is that you will see faster progress.
Mortgage payments are a little different, in that you might not want to sell just yet. If you do want to rent out your house, a property manager might make sense. They can handle the property rentals and any repairs while you are away so you don’t need to worry.
Set Your Goals
Once your finances are in order, it is time to set your goals. You should have a projection for when your debts are repaid, but now the question is, when do you want to go traveling and how much will you need to achieve your goals. Your goals will be much different if you are planning for a short trip or extended, long term travel.
Now that you know how much you will need, you can set a target date for saving the right amount of money. So, if you want to travel for 2 months, spending $2,000 per month, in 1 years time, then you have 12 months to save up $4,000 which is the equivalent of $334 per month – or, about $84 per week.
Save, Save, Save
The first thing to do is set a budget for each month you plan on traveling. For example, you might need somewhere between $1,500 to $2500 per month, depending on where you are going, how long you’ll be there, and what you plan to do.
With your debts gradually reducing and your budget set, it’s time to start saving. I outline my travel-savings plan here that can help you save $1000 every 2 months, or more, on autopilot.
Remember saving up for travel isn’t about a quick sprint, this is a marathon and it’s important to keep your eyes on the prize and not spend your savings until you’ve reached your goal. When the going gets tough and you feel like you’re never going to get there, have another look at your travel plans and pictures of the destination, and let yourself dream about how amazing it will be. That’s really all the motivation you need to keep up with your savings plan. With persistence and patience, you’ll straighten out your finances enough to pick up and go!
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