More than likely, if you’re reading this blog then you like to travel, or you at least want to travel. Many people would say that finances are a big reason as to why they don’t travel. Well, that shouldn’t hold you back. Perhaps you just need to start paying more attention to your finances and look at them in a different light, in order to help make the changes you need that will allow you to travel more. These are tips on how you can manage the money you have so you can travel and explore this amazing world we live in more!
Let me start by saying I’m not a finance person. These tips are from my own personal experiences. I will be the first to admit I don’t understand the nitty-gritty inside workings of the finance world (even though I have two brothers who work in finance). If you have serious questions about your finances, you should talk to a professional!
Create a Detailed Budget to Help You Travel More
The first thing you need to do is create a budget. But before you can start doing that, you need to take a deep dive into your finances. What do you typically spend money on? Where? And how much? I have a spreadsheet I keep with my budget so I can track all of the money I spend. It is broken into different lines like groceries, household bills, medical, household maintenance, gas, car maintenance, eating out, gifts, and so on. The nice thing about this is I can hold myself accountable for each pay period to make sure I’m staying within the budget I set. At the end of the year, I can see how much I spent in the categories throughout the entire year. Sometimes I feel proud of myself, sometimes I’m a little ashamed. But the important part is, I know where my money is going.
So each pay period I set a budget, allocating down to the last penny. When you’re doing this, obviously you have to think of the big things, but don’t forget to budget in things like going out with your friends for drinks or eating lunch out once in a while. (We’ll talk more about those things later on.) Also, make sure that you’re allocating money into your savings account each pay period!
Use a Travel Savings Account To Manage Your Money
Speaking of savings accounts, set one up that is specifically for travel! If you’re saving for something else as well, I would set one up for that as well. That way you can clearly see what you have set aside for those areas, and not just have it all lumped together in your one savings account.
Visualize Your Travel to Help You Manage Your Money
When you decide what trip(s) you’re planning for, you’ll want to do something to help you visualize that trip and the money you need for it. The first thing is to create something like a vision board. You don’t necessarily need a bulletin board full of pictures, but make sure you have something, somewhere that you can see and it makes you look forward to that trip. I have a photo of a hut over the water on my phone because I dream of visiting Bora Bora! How many times do you look at your phone when you’re in the grocery store or at the mall? Seeing that picture reminds me I want to stick to my budget and save money for my dream trip.
Since you know where you want to go next, do some research (or talk to a travel agent) to figure out how much it is going to cost you. Do you know how much a flight to Australia is? Or what the average night stay in a game lodge in South Africa is? Those are important things to know. So make a travel budget. Figure out how much money you’ll need for everything from the flight to tips, excursions to meals, consider it all! That will also help when you’re visualizing your trip. When out shopping and considering purchasing something, you can compare it to how much something for your trip will cost.
Get a Travel Perks Credit Card
I’m only suggesting this if you’re able to stick to your budget and pay this off monthly. If you haven’t mastered that self-control yet, it’s not worth doing this. You’ll end up in debt and have a whole other issue to deal with rather than deciding which bathing suit to take with you to the beach. In my budget, I allocate what I’ll spend on things that I’ll put on my credit card. For instance, I’ll allocate my groceries, gas, Hulu, and chiropractic appointments in my budget to go on my card, and then pay it off at the end of the pay period. Don’t use the cards to start spending more than you have.
It’s easy to get in over your head quickly if you don’t pay attention. I had a huge plumbing issue, which led to having my hardwood floors pulled up, and then new flooring put down, and then a basement window got broken (stupid lawnmower), and then the air conditioner went out. It’s understandable! Life happens! And it’s easy to put those things on your card and not deal with the full extent at the moment. I’ve gotten better about making sure my cards are paid off and I’m putting money away in savings to help with those things that come up. I typically still put them on the card to get the miles. However, I’ll then take the money out right away and pay it off. Don’t use the cards to start spending more than you have.
If you don’t have a credit card that offers travel rewards, visit nerdwallet.com. I spent a good amount of time on there deciding which card I needed to get because the card I had been using was only good for United and I needed something with more flexibility.
So these are some tips on how to better manage the money you already have in order to be able to travel more! Where do you saving up to travel to? What are your tips?