top of page


I CAN'T remember when I decided I WANTED TO travel.

But I CAN remember the exact moment that I decided TO travel.


What is the difference in the two sentences above?  


One statement speaks hypothetical, a "want" or desire to do something. We ALL want MANY things. We dream about these things and place them in our box of "one day."


The other statement speaks directly. It's a sentence of intention, of doing. 


Like many other things in life, you have to be proactive when it comes to traveling. You have to step in the direction of planning- or your "one day" will continue to reside in the future and, in many cases, will never arrive.


I've had many people ask me, even more recently, how I can afford to travel like I do. Let me be frank: I travel less than I would like, and I plan on traveling even more soon, with trips already in the making.


So, the question remains- HOW??




I can't stress this point enough. Making a plan is your first step and the most crucial. Whenever I decide I want to travel somewhere, I always start with a plan. I ask myself those questions we learned about in grade school English class: How, When, Where, Why, What, and Who. Who am I going with, if anyone? What am I going for? Why am I going? Where exactly am I going? When do I plan to go? How am I going to get there?


For many people, that last question is the kicker. HOW? How am I going to afford this?


I love culture. Learning about and experiencing a new culture is one of the main reasons I travel. It's a passion of mine, and I love learning new ideas, new ways of doing things, and new stories. Rich cultures inspire me- and because of that, I want to submerge myself in the middle of them.


If you want to travel- it has to become a passion. It has to be something you love and be at the forefront of your thoughts. You must do everything you do with the goal of traveling in mind.


For me, and almost everyone else, affording to travel is where the line between dreams and reality lies. It costs money to travel (however, less than you'd think- but I'll discuss this later). Being direct in your plan and allowing that plan to drive you as a passion will help you save and plan financially for your trip.




For many people, traveling seems unfeasible because they only know how to travel in the comforts of their current state. Highly rated restaurants, fancy hotels, resorts, and luxuries. Now, if that's how you like to travel, and there's no talking you out of that, then I won't be much help to you. However, I can offer ideas and alternatives to give you a great trip (even better), and you can still enjoy yourself.




If the reason to travel is to live in the same bubble you do now, why leave your home in the first place? Become a local, escape the tourist traps, and find yourself among the people. Eat where they eat, stay where they stay. 


I love Airbnb; it's what I use almost every time I book accommodations. You can find great places to stay- either private or shared- for much less than a hotel would cost. People rent out spare rooms or entire homes like a hotel. These rooms are usually inexpensive and offer the comfort of a home away from home. I've often used this site- in New York City, Boston, Portland, Bali, Colombia, Turkiye, and much more. It gives you all of the information upfront, the cost, the host's information, and reviews to read from others who have also stayed there. You can find some REALLY nice places, REALLY cheap. Give it a try!




Transport is one of the most expensive, if not the most expensive, part of traveling. Planes, Trains, and automobiles. Be mindful when making these purchases, and be flexible in your dates and times. I always start by booking my flight- before any accommodations or activities are planned. Allowing a few hours, or a few days, of flexibility can drastically change the amount of money you spend. Airlines will charge hundreds of dollars more, or less, depending on the day you choose to fly. Try many different combinations and options- and look at multiple other airlines. Allow yourself the time to research, and you could save a hefty amount of change.


Also, try many different websites. Try websites like CheapOair and Cheapflights or a Google search to simultaneously compare other airlines' prices. Many of these websites also give you day-to-day comparisons on prices, so you can easily plan what days will be better to fly.




As a creative, a Virgo, and a very emotionally driven individual- compartmentalizing my life can be challenging. Unfortunately, this spills over into my finances. I can get overwhelmed when trying to budget my money when it's all in one place. I suggest either opening another account to put money in for travel or keeping your traveling money as cash and hiding it in a place only you know. This way, you're not carrying it around with you every day and can't easily spend it with a card swipe. Taking cash out of the ATM periodically to put in my stash or not spending any cash tips from work helps my travel fund grow. It seems more manageable when it's time to spend it. 


Tip: Randomly getting out $20 cash back when using my debit card at Walgreens and placing it in my stash will build over time. (I usually do this right after payday, so my funds are not already exhausted.) Don't do it all at once; find a system that works for you, and gradually save.




Back to making travel a passion, just like any passion, you're going to put effort into it, and you're going to make sacrifices to be able to fund it. I quickly found out, thankfully- how expensive it is to go to clubs and parties on the weekend. I spent way more money than I should have in my early 20s and now can only dream about where I could have gone on those dollars. Be mindful of your spending. Each weekend, $80 at the bar or club can be a week of accommodations on a distant trip. 


I also budget when I grocery shop- which sounds like a burden, but it's become a game. I like seeing how much food I can get at a lower price. I usually only buy things that are on sale, or that can go a long way. I rarely go out to eat and cook at home- saving TONS. I buy ingredients that can be used in multiple meals and plan accordingly. Food can be one of the biggest drains on your bank account, so watching how much you spend will free up travel funds.




As I mentioned earlier, my first goal is transport when I plan to travel. It's taking care of plane tickets, car rentals, or even train tickets. I buy my plane ticket first. I research, answer all the questions listed earlier, and then make a deadline to book my flight. I usually do this a while out so that it's taken care of and I can make other deadlines.


Accommodations are usually next. Booking where I'll be staying ahead of time allows you to free up that part of planning and takes away the stress the closer you get to your trip. Now, I love it when I travel to places and can stay with friends! That's the best, and it makes the journey much cheaper. However, if that isn't the case, take care of this as soon as you can afford it.


After the flight and accommodations are set, any money saved from that point on can go to spending on your trip. Food, excursions, taxis, and souvenirs. Getting things like this taken care of early on helps the planning process.




I'm currently sitting on my balcony at Balangan Beach on the Southwestern coast of Bali. My balcony is right on the beach, and I'm only feet from the crashing white waves of the Indian Ocean. There are surfers and sunbathers, people are drinking from coconuts and eating fresh fruit. I can smell the grills of warungs (or Balinese restaurants), and my room has bamboo walls and a grass roof. An orange cat is sunbathing on the table near me, locals are chatting on a grass mat below, and I can hear the crashing waves at night while I sleep. Here's the best part: I'm paying 17 USD a night to be here. 


You can travel, believe me, just do your research and make a plan. And then enjoy the journey.


bottom of page