The feeling of wanderlust hits many twenty-somethings hard.
We hear about people who constantly jet off to different destinations. Instagram reminds us of all the world we still haven’t explored.
It can be hard balancing the desire to travel with the need to reach money goals.
There are loads of articles about why travel is important. It’s an experience to see the world, learn about new cultures, and get out of your comfort zone. As someone who has been living abroad for the past year and a half, I can attest to all of these things.
Travel really does make you go out of your comfort zone, face new situations, and see magnificent places. However, there is also this not so little thing many twenty-somethings have: debt.
Whether it be student loans, credit card debt, an auto loan or a mix, many twenty-somethings are having to tend to debt repayments every month. This usually means travel ends up on the back burner.
Travel doesn’t have to become obsolete in your twenties. With some planning, motivation, and setting deadlines, you can travel while in your twenties without going into debt.
There are a plethora of options and visa programs that allow people to travel and even stay abroad for extended periods of time. Although before you start exploring those avenues, you have to get yourself set up with the basics.
Get on a Budget
Budgeting is the key way I’ve been able to stretch my money further while traveling. It has allowed me to visit places without having to worry too much about it because I know I’ve already budgeted for it.
When you have a strong reason why you budget and a choose a budgeting style that works for you, it gets a lot less tedious to do. I budgeted for months before I moved abroad in order to better allocate my savings. To this day, after traveling through multiple countries, I still keep a monthly budget.
Your budget is the foundation to saving for travel. At the very least, you should be tracking your spending every month to see where your money is going. Once you see where your money goes, you’re able to get a clear picture on managing your income to savings ratio.
Set a Financial Goal and Timeline
When you set a timeline for yourself, it motivates you more to achieve it. Maybe you want to take a big trip traveling around Europe or spend time in the Caribbean laying on the beach. Whatever it may be, you need to set a specific timeline to saving up for the trip.
If you need to a certain amount for a trip, break it down and see how much you need to save per month in order to reach your goal. Utilize fin-tech tools to help you reach your goals. Apps like Ibotta and Ebates allow you to earn cash back on purchases you make. Tools like Personal Capital sync your accounts and give you a visual aid of your savings progress.
Pick up a Side Hustle
Twenty-somethings usually have to manage their urge for travel while working an entry-level job with student loans. With small salaries and high costs of living, it can be hard to cut back on spending because there usually isn’t much to cut back on.
This is where side hustles come in. Making more money can be driving force that helps skyrocket your savings goals and help you afford to travel without going into debt. I’ve been freelancing while living abroad and the extra income I make from my side hustle has allowed me make big progress for my travel savings.
There are a variety of side hustles you can do to make extra money. Many of them are flexible. You can choose how much time you want to spend on them in order to reach your travel savings goal.
Make a Dedicated Savings Account
Don’t keep just one savings account. When you’re juggling travel with multiple other savings goals like an emergency fund and retirement, it’s important it gets its own dedicated savings account.
Having a dedicated savings account for travel gets you more motivated to save and less tempted to spend the money. You’re able to spend your savings more appropriately when it comes time to do your travels.
Set up a dedicated travel savings account. There are several places that offer much higher interest rates than what traditional banks offer. Capital One 360 has a 0.75% interest on their savings accounts, which can be great for letting your savings earn a little bit while also having a dedicated account separate from your regular bank. You won’t be as tempted to spend the money if you don’t constantly see it.
Work Where You Want to Travel
Sometimes spending a week or two traveling just isn’t enough. If you want to spend an extended time traveling, consider your options. There is work abroad and visa programs you can do.
Teaching English abroad is a popular way to spend time abroad, experience a different culture, and earn money while doing it. English teachers in places like China, South Korea, and Japan are usually able to earn a comfortable salary that allows them to enjoy day to day life while also saving money each month for further travel.
Working Holiday visas are something you can do if you’re looking to explore more opportunities for work. Countries like Australia and New Zealand offer one-year working holiday visas to people ages 18-30. The visas require no employer sponsorship and as long as you have no health concerns or criminal record, most people are approved.
If you’re looking for something with a shorter commitment, try out volunteering with WWOOF or WorkAway. These sites connect people with short-term volunteer opportunities in countries. You work for a few weeks while getting free accommodation and food.
When you’re in your twenties, it can be hard to balance a desire for travel while on a small income and with student loans and other expenses. People often think the only way to travel is to go into debt doing it. It doesn’t have to be that way. While you may not be able to jet off all the time to far flung places, you can quench your desire for travel with some planning.
It all comes down to assessing your money situation and making a plan from there. Travel doesn’t have to involve big pockets or going into debt. Find out how to balance it for your situation.
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How do you travel without going into debt? Do you prioritize travel along with other financial goals?