Travel. “How Do You Afford It”?

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For anyone who travels for an extended period of time this has to be hands down the most annoying question. “Hey mate, how do you afford to travel”? I honestly feel like replying with a “How do you afford to go out every weekend and buy those designer brand clothes”? I feel like at that point we may get the same mutual answer ‘WORK’.

Travel to me is honestly like something you have to work hard for. The harder you work the more comfortable you can travel or for that extended period of time. The same applies for anything really.  It’s up to you to set your own goals and work as hard as you can, then you can buy anything you may desire. I mean your stock standard employee does their 9-5 job each day and that is fine with them to receive a pay check fortnightly for the same total and almost have this become like a routine. I’ve always had this desire to achieve far beyond this point. It is limiting when you take that 9-5 and sign your life away with small benefits and limited holidays.

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I have been able to fund travel through nothing but hard work and juggling a handful of jobs at once. No hand outs from mummy and daddy like others who manage to fund such extravagant trips abroad where you wonder how did a 18 year old afford that $20,000 trip? Look I am not trying to toot my own horn, but anyone is capable of working hard although it just comes down to those motivating factors, desire and determination to make it all happen. Working the 9-5 just doesn’t cut it for what I want to do. I have never signed a contract, and I have never wanted to feel like I am locked down. I prefer to work for several companies on a causal basis where the money is great and its ever changing. Hence I am not sitting in an office looking at a computer screen all day.

What excuses do I honestly have not to work my butt off? All the odds are against me. I am young and have this determination to really make something of the time I have. And many other people feel the same way. That’s why people like me can not sit back, relax and settle for a normal job – we need more.

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I enjoyed working 7am – 4pm teaching at school or on the construction site, then off to manage an exclusive event. Finally tuck into bed around 2am, just to get back up and do it again the next day. Then there are weekends… which don’t exist for people like me. For your stock standard employee, weekends are for letting off steam and spending some money. I tend to work 6-7 days a week. You may disagree with those hours, but when you can afford travel through hard work, every day feels like a weekend. Why have two days a week to relax, when you can have weeks at a time after putting in the hard yards. My belief is through hard work from a young age you can always fund your dreams, reach your short and long-term goals and tick off your bucket list.

When people ask the question “How do you afford it?”, I want to reply in the nicest way possible – “Are you thinking about the words that are coming out of you mouth?” Think about the bigger picture. I’ll break it down for you. When I am home working, there are some things I need to buy, but once I am travelling, these become irrelevant and the money stays in my pocket.

Here are the hard facts: 

I don’t have to pay …

  1. Rent, bond or mortgage
  2. Water, electricity, gas and internet bills
  3. Phone contract for that Iphone 6 ($100+ a month)
  4. Private health insurance ($110+ a month)
  5. A car, the services, accessories, petrol
  6. Car insurance ($500+ a year)
  7. I don’t buy designer brand clothes. I prefer picking up the bargains at store like Cotton on. Who honestly knows these days the clothes all look the same.
  8. Groceries

For a quick example, my “rent” for the month in Vietnam, staying in nice hotels with breakfast included was $250 AUD total. As opposed to the average minimum rent in Sydney for $1200 AUD a month.

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Once you start considering the amount of money you are spending living in your country day-by-day, it’s quite easy to see where the savings could be made if you cut out some unnecessary items and worked a little bit harder to get overseas. A cheap living cost allows for your money to go much further and for some this allows them to place more money into their big business ideas or travels.

What I do pay for when travelling:

  1. Travel insurance
  2. Flights, trains, boats, buses, motorbike ride
  3. Hotels, resorts, hostels and guest houses
  4. Global cuisines
  5. Life experiences
  6. Tours

Do you see the difference here? Once you leave to venture out on that extended travel all you’re paying for are new experiences that offers so much more than handing over your hard earned money to phone companies or wanky real estate agents.

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Most people dream of travel and adventure, but never find the “time,” and to you I say, poor excuse. Most people say to me, “You’re so lucky”, but I don’t find any luck in working hard and prioritising my dreams. Find that motivation to not settle for that 9-5, and search for more opportunities. I guarantee if you work hard and limit spending on daily Starbucks, online shopping or new cars, the savings will quickly grow. Working 7 days a week doesn’t give you much time to spend money shopping or going to the pub. You are literally working or sleeping, and weirdly for me, there is something extremely satisfying about this.

I am not saying it’s easy. It’s definitely a challenge at times, but once you find your groove you just want more and more. You could ask some of my employers about the hours I have put into be able to fund my travels. Sometimes I reflect and think how the hell did I manage that lifestyle, but I just did! Motivation, determination and enthusiasm will always get you a long way. And a combination of the three and a desire to travel will get you out into the world that much sooner.

adventure-travel-globe-how-do-you-afford-it

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8 Comments

  • Reply
    Seshan
    September 29, 2015 at 11:51 pm

    Thats amazing mate, how often do you travel and how long periods of time do you work for?

    • Reply
      sirwanderlust
      September 30, 2015 at 12:19 am

      Hey mate,

      It really does vary. This last time, for example, I was working full time (7 days a week with a 3 week break over Christmas) from November until March and I have been travelling ever since. I have however done a few stints of work while travelling as well for some extra cash. Are you looking to get out and adventure any time soon?

      Cheers.

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  • Reply
    Robert Stevens
    October 25, 2015 at 12:41 am

    Your living the dream that most people wouldn’t attempt. Which I believe is actually living. Great information, me and my wife plan on starting to travel in another 3 years at the age of 60. Still young enough to enjoy.

    Safe travels,

    Rob

    • Reply
      sirwanderlust
      October 25, 2015 at 6:51 pm

      Hi Robert,
      My main objective has always been to show people that anyone can do what I have been doing. The first step is always going to be the hardest but once you start building a little momentum things become much easier. There will be many more travel tips to be shared over the coming month for the South East Asia region.

      To hear that you are planning to travel with your wife in a few years is awesome news. You are never too old to travel! The big difference you will find travelling a little later is that you will have a true appreciation for those places you venture to. There are many places I have been and can’t wait to return later in life as I slightly feel like I didn’t necessarily appreciate the experience. With age comes wisdom and knowledge and to be setting off at 60 will be a fantastic experience. You will have to keep me posted!

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  • Reply
    Moira
    October 26, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    Thanks for the great article. I too get really frustrated with that question, but more so with the “Oh you are so lucky” remark. I have travelled all 7 continents and have done so on a shoestring budget most of the time. Stayed in amazing places, done extraordinary things and met the most interesting of people just by changing my lifestyle when not travelling. Also a very important part of the travel process is RESEARCH. Too many people just book the first thing they see and go to the tourist destinations. If you do loads of research you can find places that most people have never heard of, and most of them can be seen without breaking the bank balance. Also living with the locals is once of the best ways to save money and get to see things most people wouldn’t. So thanks again for a wonderful article which I will definitely be sharing.

    • Reply
      sirwanderlust
      October 30, 2015 at 6:33 pm

      Hey Moira,
      This sly comment also bothers me as well. People don’t always see the bigger picture that anyone can do what we do! WOW you are well travelled and I can only hope to accomplish what you have in your life. Research is key and for so many travellers they just don’t use their common sense or look for the hidden experiences (home stays and/or work aways). Thank you for the kind words and glad you enjoyed my post.

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