For many of us, planning to travel extensively often boils down to one thing: money.
Especially if you have dreams of backpacking around the world, you probably won’t have a reliable source of income as you travel, and will need to live off of savings.
For many of us within the backpacking around the world narrative, saving enough money to go is a necessary first chapter, one that includes personal sacrifice as well as a gradual move away from the comfortable lifestyle we’ve grown accustomed to.
Saving plenty of money for your trip should be an import goal, but there added benefits for travel for some of these lifestyle changes, mainly that these are adjustments you would have had to make anyway once on the road. Here are some lifestyle changes for travel you can work towards making a habit now:
Cook for yourself.
or maybe I should have said instead: Stop eating out.
The best way to cut the average person’s monthly spending in half? Stop buying meals, snacks, etc. from restaurants. Depending on where you live, eating out is either expensive, really expensive or a gaping hole in your monthly savings. But eating out is an easy habit to pinpoint and solve with a little effort.
The average working 20 – 30 year old eats out pretty regularly, and has more “going out” expenses than someone older. This is one way young people could have a lot more freedom, whether that means saving for a trip or paying off student loans.
What’s the added benefit of cooking for yourself?
Food is a big part of travel and exploring other cultures, and while you’re definitely going to be eating out and trying new things, it’s not financially feasible to eat out for every meal. Being able to cook staples and basic meals will serve you well on the road by sustaining your savings. You’ll probably also make new friends in the hostel kitchen, and may even persuade them to cook with you so you can all have a big home-cooked feast!
Do you know what information aversion is? It’s when something gives you anxiety, so you would rather not know and avoid finding out. Lots of people do this with their bank accounts. Unfortunately for us, with saving lots of money and whatnot, you kind of have to look at your bank account regularly, so why not go ahead and look at your budget at the same time?
A budget will help you stay on track for your savings goals, as well as keep your spending in check. Once you’ve really set your mind on the goal, it becomes easier to recognize situations where you’re tempted to buy something that you don’t really need, or could even go without.
The easiest way to create a budget now is with Mint, an online personal finance app that has more than enough for the basic budgeter. Mint helps you set a robustly detailed monthly budget, and is surprisingly good at categorizing and tracking all of your spending once you’ve synced it with your bank and credit accounts.
Budgeting is also something you’ll really need to do while you’re on the road. Since you probably won’t be holding down a steady job while you backpack the world, it’s important to adhere to a budget so you can make your money last. While cooking can really save you money at home, budgeting is a lifestyle change for travel that will really pay off in the long run.
Think about how much it would suck to party hard then have to go home after a few months because you didn’t think about how to spend within your means… it would really suck.
The purging of all of your things is an essential part of starting a new chapter of your life traveling the world. If you’re already an adult living on your own, this means you’re probably going to sell your place or end your lease, and either find somewhere for your stuff, or get rid of it.
While we’re not on the road yet and still have plenty of stuff to get rid of, we made a significant move about a year ago from a sizable loft into the tiny apartment we co-inhabit today. The move was premeditated for the most part- with a smaller apartment, we could save a lot more money each month, and finding the room for all of our essentials with 500 less square feet (and only one closet) was preparation for an even bigger purge.
While we still live comfortably, and most of what we keep around are everyday living essentials, I somehow keep finding things I don’t really need. This is a constant side effect of modern day life, but it’s a real problem when you’ve got long term travel in your cards.
I suggest downsizing by a lot and consider finding a cheaper living situation. This will also help you get acquainted with the non-luxury accommodations you’ll find yourself in on the road. Purging your unused and unwanted things will also minimize the shock of getting rid of it all before you leave for good. If your things are valuable, like electronics or designer clothes, eBay is the place to get some money out of them before getting rid of them. For the most part, it doesn’t seem worth the time and effort it would take to sell the rest of your things second-hand, and Goodwill is almost always open 🙂
So there you have it. Cook for yourself. Keep a budget. And downsize. These are the top 3 lifestyle changes for travel you can start practicing now to help you save your money (and learn to spend it more wisely), and prepare for a life on the road, around the world.
What else have you found helps you save money and prepare for travel? We’d love to hear more tips! Let us know in the comments!