The most common lame excuse I hear for not traveling is a lack of money. I get it, I am not a billionaire either. I work long and hard hours, often at less-than-desirable jobs, all in an attempt to afford adventures.
But in the end it is not about money at all, it is actually about priorities.
There are a lot of things I have learned that I can easily live without. The choice between some over-priced, over-sugared latte everyday and a weekend away once a month is a no-brainer for me. So here are a few other things I often forego in my pursuit of adventure…
I love to read. Reading is a good way to be lazy that no one will give you a hard time about. If you devour books at a quick pace, it can easily eat into your travel funds. But I learned there is actually this secret, magical place called “The Library”, that has millions of books for FREE. Apparently anyone can get a membership there and they actually let you take the books home with you. Who knew!? The best part is, tons of their books are in online/Kindle format now too, which means even if you are traveling or living abroad you can still feed your habit. Free and weightless: a traveler’s dream!
Ladies you might want to take a seat for this one: I haven’t been to a salon in a year. Sounds crazy right? Now partly this is in an attempt to save money, and also because my #1 and only trusted beautician is about half a world away. I have learned to make do and live without her, thanks to box colors and self or friend hair trims. It sounds harsh, and I am not mitigating the magic touch she has or the hard work she puts in, but maintaining perfect hair can get expensive. I can’t spend all day looking in the mirror at my pretty hair, but I can spend all day soaking in the beauty of a new city, so for me the choice is simple.
I know nothing about trends and fashion, so buying new clothes each season is not going to help anyway; I am a lost cause. This doesn’t bother me at all, since shopping is an expensive hobby, and I would much rather hike a mountain than walk around some stuffy, outdated shopping mall. I am still a girl, after all, and I obviously love a new dress or shirt now and then. I have found a great solution for this is: hand-me-downs! How many of us girls have heaps of clothes in our closets we barely touch or are just bored of? Going through a friend’s give-away pile or having a clothing swap with a bunch of gal pals is a great way to score the perfect new, free sundress for your next beach getaway!
If you are lucky enough to live in a bicycle friendly city, in a somewhat mild climate, then your daily transportation budget can easily be near to zero (after the initial cost and minimal maintenance). But even if you live in a little more rural area, there is probably more in walking or biking distance than you think. Sure it might take you a little longer to get to the library for that free book, but hoping on the bike will not only save you some money, it will also help get you moving and bank up a few endorphins. Every time you don’t start up your car, you’re dropping a few more coins in your travel piggy bank!
Okay, everyone knows, if you want to save a little money, don’t eat at restaurants! It is also important to be smart when you are doing your grocery shopping. Only buy what you need and what you will actually eat. Buying fewer, fresh foods, more frequently (go shopping 3x a week, instead of once) is a good way to make sure you only buy what will be consumed. Less food waste = more money to spend on vacation treats!
Traveling on a low income is possible, just remember all the little things add up! Be smart and pinch a few pennies here or there, and it will be worth it, I promise.
Hanging out in the Austrian Alps, reading a free library book