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The honest truth on how I afford to travel

‘But, how do you afford it?’

A question I get at the start of every conversation regarding my travels.

I’ve been on the road for a while. I’m 22 and spent the last three years traveling extensively through Europe, Asia and Australia.

I’ve done and seen A LOT.

Vietnam

*10 minute read

Forever on the move, exploring new destinations, living a fulfilling and exciting life.

Guess what, I’m not stopping anytime soon.

Tokyo

There are many assumptions about my lifestyle. We all assume.

This has to cost right? Of course, it does.

I will start with one thing.

I do not have any secret travel funds. I do not get paid to travel. I have no unique qualifications, no hidden help. I’ve not won any money, nor have I received an amount of money or any other financial help for whatever reason.

I finance my trips myself.

Despite the odd birthday or Christmas, I may receive £100 from my parents which I put towards my travels.

I want to travel. I want it badly, so… I make it happen.

If you are so determined to do something, 9 times out of 10. You can.

I have a lot less money than you think. A lot less.

There is a difference between happiness and having money. Some of the happiest people I have ever met have the lowest amount of money yet the ones with hundreds and thousands of pounds sitting in their bank, are the loneliest and miserable.

Traveling made me realise it’s not about how many fancy drinks I can have sitting on the beach, or how nice of a hotel I can find. Nor is it about finding the best restaurant in all of Indonesia and shopping whenever I want. That isn’t what travel is about.

It’s about finding the happiness in simple things, feeling grateful for the life we have. To create enjoyment from meeting people, seeing new things. I find experiences I love without breaking the bank.

I’m happy and surviving on sometimes the bare minimal. I have to make choices on what will enable me to travel. To create a life that right now, I am satisfied with.

Me: Food, Accommodation, Transport, Experiences.

People at home: Bills. Rent. Petrol. Tax. Transport. Insurance. Phone contracts. Memberships. Food. Shopping. Going out. Clothes.

Imagine if I turned it back around…

‘How do you afford to get your nails done every week, that must cost heaps’

‘How are you affording those new trainers, did your parents help?’

‘You must be loaded going out for drinks every weekend’

‘Where do you get all the money for all those new clothes every week?’

‘Having the latest iPhone will have cost a bomb’

‘You got a new car, but how an earth can you pay for that’

Once you escape paying for things you don’t actually need, you realise how much it amounts up too.

Even paying for parking for the day can cost £10. That’s 3 nights in a hostel in Thailand.

No one questions things like buying clothes, going out for drinks, getting your hair done and simply paying for big phone contracts.

Money

I left home with £4,000 ( $7000 AUS) on 26th November 2015. Getting on a flight from Manchester to Bangkok on my own. I had worked hard. Prioritized saving and worked three jobs.

Bangkok 2015

I had a flight into Australia for whenever I was ready and that was it.

It’s now 3rd July 2017 and I’m still going.

Osaka 2017

I’m writing this while sitting in Osaka, Japan in a funky coffee shop feeling grateful for my experiences.  Going through the ridiculous amounts of photos I’ve been taking over the last couple of weeks experiencing the crazy Japanese lifestyle and exploring one of the most unique destinations I have ever been too. I’m happy, healthy and completely satisfied with my life.

Indonesia

Read more on my first year traveling the world solo by clicking HERE

I have not been in the same place for longer than 3 months since I was 18. I have a constant desire to explore.

The honest truth

If you really want to travel, you’ll make it work.

Let’s quit any bullsh*t.

I hear never-ending excuses to why people don’t travel.

People have secure jobs, mortgages and rent to pay. Commitments they feel obliged to follow.

I knew for a while I needed to travel the world, so from early on, I made the decisions to not overly involve myself within things that would stop me leaving – From jobs to relationships, contracts to commitments. I was careful with what I got overly involved in.

It’s not possible for everyone and I do understand commitments need to be made, however, I am talking about how I afford to travel. If you are looking to head off on a long term adventure, have a think about what you can break away from. I’m writing a post on easy hacks for long term travel here.

Working

Like everyone else, I work for my money. Working at certain points of my time in Australia, where the hourly rate is double as to what I was earning in England. I had to save my money I earned on the farm in Queensland and when I popped home for Christmas, I was working some crazy hours back at the cocktail bar.

Again, it’s getting the balance. I have never had a life where it’s only been focused on work and saving money. Work to live, don’t live to work.

Living basically

Despite a rich life with the experiences I have, the people I meet and the things I do. I live basically.

This was my home while I was living in Pai for a few weeks. £2 a night. This was luxury living as I was used to large shared dorms.

and this was my view….

When I travel, I often get little privacy, choose the cheapest accommodation which depending on where I am in the world, it could be anywhere between £1-£20.

I RARELY shop. I make use of what I have.

I’ve had the same pair of shoes for years and when I eventually really needed to buy some, I got fake converse from a Bangkok market and I love them.

God knows how many times I have worn the same outfit.

I almost never get taxi’s. Don’t have uber, use public transport everywhere or simply walk.

I barely drink alcohol.

I don’t overspend on things I don’t need.

Use my toiletries carefully, barely wear makeup so don’t need to repurchase anything.

I have no phone contract and had the same old mobile device for years.

If I do buy any clothes, for example when I arrived in Melbourne during winter, I went to the charity shop and spent $20 on jumpers.

It’s getting the balance.

£3.3o for a delicious iced mocha and vegetable toastie in the middle of Pai, North Thailand.

I spend my money on experiences.

On things I need to survive and get me to new destinations, and I am happy with that.

15,000 Indonesian rupiah for my boat over to Lombok

That’s less then £1 / $2 AUS (The same price as a packet of Oreos)

It’s not always easy or convenient, but that’s what traveling is really about. Making it work.

Finding the cheap & cheerful.

I spend time exploring new cities and towns with my camera. I spend quality time with people simply hanging out on the beach or playing cards. Things that don’t cost just to ‘do’.

Convenience.

People pay for convenience. Taxi’s to save the hassle.

Eating out instead of cooking. Paying for someone to take us places, show us things instead of finding out for yourself.

People pay for things we want, rather than what we need.

I have definitely spent my money on some really stupid sh*t in the past.

We pay for a life we feel we deserve filled with unnessacary and over priced things.

We pay for ease.

I sacrifice certain things to enable me to travel.

Walked an hour with my rucksack to save on a few pounds, slept in rooms with no air con and no fans in horrible humidity as it’s the cheapest option.

I normally eat street food, avoid any type of tour our travel agency as it’s always things I can do myself, for a lot less money. I’ve slept in dorms with over 20 people, people I dont know. Use a bathroom that the entire hostel uses’.

Like mentioned, I get little privacy, but as it’s the cheapest option, I can’t complain.

I’ve couch surfed, volunteered and hitchhiked just to save a little bit of money. All this saving adds up, and it’s all part of the travel fun.

Flights

Flying is the most expensive part of our travels. Once I am over in a country or continent, I can easily get around by cheap buses, night buses or affordable domestic flights.

I find the cheapest flights and transport, even if it takes double as long.

People want a flight that works around them and if you’re short on time then this limits the options. Some have a limited time to travel however I will take a longer route and take minimal baggage in order to save money. Sometimes, I don’t overly have a destintion in mind, just look for the cheapest flights on Skyscanner on the cheapest dates.

Sometimes, I don’t overly have a destintion in mind, just look for the cheapest flights on Skyscanner on the cheapest dates.

There are perks of having no plans. I can work around prices.

I still need things to be convenient occasionally. I have booked my own room, payed too much for a cab just to get me somewhere and paid for the internet when I could have gone without.

Again, it’s getting the balance.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

I treated myself to a Christmas starbucks and a tuk-tuk to the airport when I headed home for Christmas. I had payed for my flight home and back to Australia with the money I had made from working on the banana farm in Queensland. I deffo deserved this coffee.

Taking risks:

I booked my flight to Japan while I had $700AUS / £500 in my account during my East Coast trip in Australia. I was waiting for my tax rebait to come through and just had to hope I would get it back in time.

I made it to Japan.

I booked my flight leaving Australia into Indonesia with less then $300 / £200 in my bank.

I made it to Indonesia.

I left Asia and entered Australia to start my working holiday with $200AUS/ £120 to my name.

Byron Bay, Australia

I completed my full first year in Australia.

I got on a flight to Singapore with less than $400AUS / £250.

I had a blast in Singapore on my last few days in Asia

Some people could say I was stupid, I don’t have any major back up’s or savings.

I’m lucky to have friends & family to bail me incase of a serious emergency or get me home if I really needed too. I am lucky to have a family to head back to for when I get home. For that, I am grateful as many people don’t.

I had to trust it all worked out. I had to make it work.

Costs

This meal I shared on the idylic beach on Gili Air, Indonesia cost 150,000 rupiah. That’s £8.

This private beach bungalow directly on the beach cost 300,000 rupiah, which I shared with a friend. 150,000 each is £8.00 (Which was our treat for our last few days together)

My bike rental in Kampot, Cambodia for 24 hours cost £2.50 (Insurance included)

This yummy latte in a coffee shop cost £1 in Cambodia

This scuba dive on the paradise island in Malaysia cost £20

This incredible day cost me nothing

This meal in St. Kilda, Melbourne cost £2.50 / £1.70

My cat cafe experience in Bangkok cost me £4. That’s with coffee and cake included.

My motorbike taxi over over to Khao San Road across the capital city cost me 50p. Less than $1AUS

So many things are cheaper than people think.

Things are free. Yes, free.

Sunsets on the beach with my new furry friend – FREE

Wondering Brisbane – FREE

Checking out the street out in Penang, Malaysia – FREE

Meeting the wild wallabies on Magnetic Island – FREE

Checking out the views over Tokyo – FREE

Exploring Melbourne – FREE

Discovering abandoned Bokor City up in Cambodia – FREE

Meeting the locals and exploring the rice fields in Hoi An, Vietnam – FREE

Blog work

I received a few tours while I was in Australia in return for some blog work. This included a $500 AUS skydive over Mission Beach, Australia.. for free.

A Whitsundays tour on an amazing catamaran boat sailing over two nights which would have cost me $400AUS, a few surf classes and other bits and bobs. I guess hard work does pay off.

Whitsundays, Australia 

 I’m happy with fewer things. Less convenience, basic living. Experiences over belongings.

It enables me to travel and that is the richest I can feel.

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8 easy ways of saving money while traveling

Cash.

It seems to be the ultimatum between traveling or not.

‘I can’t afford it.’

Most people I know can afford to travel. The real truth is, it’s all about priorities.

For those who are going for it..

I decided to write up some of my tips on saving money while traveling.IMG_0033

1. Every penny counts

This was just something I knew I had to realise the second I started traveling. If I was at home and something cost an extra 20p, I would pay it. If I knew I was probably being slightly overcharged for a cab, I would still pay it. If someone needed to borrow afew $. I wouldn’t bother asking for it back.

This all has to change.

I dont mean turn into a stingy b*tch. Backpacking Asia really taught me the true meaning of value. I was paying $1 for my dinner. This doesn’t mean everywhere will be cheap and of course, make exceptions but keep track on how much things should cost.

Try to watch every penny you spend. It all adds up. The only reason I only managed to travel as long as I did was because I so careful with my money. I wasn’t spending my cash on things I didn’t need too.

I was walking to save myself on $2. I was always going for the cheapest accomadation and argued with taxi drivers over 20p.

I never had a daily budget or allowance, I just spent my money wisely, most of the time.

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2. Walk/ Hitch hike

I first tried hitchhiking in Malaysia, and it was worryingly easy. I would suggest doing it with someone and keeping your wits about you however so many people are happy to give you a lift, they are going that way anyway.

It’s as easy as standing there, putting your arm out and thumb up. On the first few times I was a little unsure but once I spoke to the drivers, it was the first time for them also. Some we had great conversation, others we just sat and they dropped me right off where I needed.

It’s a very easy way to save money.

Walking. Most of us have legs. Use them. Taxi fee’s can add up. If it’s possible, walk. You never know what you will see!

3. Things are free

DCIM106GOPRO

Unfortunately great experiences cost a lot of money however, you can find many free options that you can’t beat. Great company is priceless, beaches are free and you can never go wrong with a game of cards.

I love photography and sunsets and it doesn’t cost me a penny to find a lovely spot with my camera and watch the world.

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4. Couch surf/hammock/tent/Car

There are lots of other options other than hotels & hostels.

Lots of places offer tents and some camping zones. I meet loads of people camping out or even just hanging up a hammock for the night. All around Australia people live from their cars or camping equiptment.

Couch surfing is free and a great way to meet people but always watch out for dodgy accounts and make sure it’s safe & genuine.

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A dalmation, iced coffee and a hammock.

5. Dont go buying

Seriously. Don’t go looking for things you don’t need. Every country I went, every little town or island, they had some sort of beautiful markets or awesome traditional shops. I wanted things. I wanted to buy. Shop. Purchase. I couldn’t.

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I didn’t need any of those things. I occasionally needing to rebuy toiletries, and found a few beautiful wall hangings I had to pick up.

During the 6 months in Asia, I definatley picked up a few bits. A passport holder from Chiang Mai, a dress from Pai, some sandles from Hoi An were just a few things however all in all, I was never going out to shop.

I was limited for space in my rucksack and the more money I spent on stuff, the less I could travel and have all these experiances. Most importantly, I needed the money for food & accomadation.

6. Cheapest option

There are normally lots of different options other then the first one shown. The more you travel, the more travel hacks you will pick up.

You will know the cheaper airlines and sites. Make sure to compare flights, look at trains and over night bus’ instead of planes. Find deals on accomadation and share transport are just a few ways to keep things cheaper.

I still have a lot to learn, let me know yours and comment below.

7. Cut the booze

DCIM101GOPRO

A cold chang in Blue Lagoon // Koh Phi Phi

So a lot of you may hate me for this.

I cut out booze. Not completely, but I rarely drink.

Without going into it, I prefer Bob Marley to David Guetta.

The amount of money I found people spending on going out getting pissed, which there is nothing wrong with, never the less, if you are looking to cut down on the extra spending and start budgeting. You’ll skip the booze.

For two bottles of Chang beer in Thailand, I could afford a hostel room for the night. Doesnt take a genuis to work it out.

I am all for having fun and these are some of the best years of your life, crack open that beer on the beach however keep an eye on how much spending it may amount too.dsc_0235-2

Saigon at a rooftop bar // Ho Chi Minh

8. Cook with others

You’re staying in hostels? Homestays?  Sharing kitchen space? Cook together. We all have to eat, dining out in South East Asia is very cheap however if youre traveling for a long term or even just enjoy cooking your own food. A massive bag of pasta, sauce can cost 20p if there a few of you eating.

Everyone is always after saving some pennies so mention it to people and I am sure other people will also be keen. Cook in large portions if you’re on the road. If you’re driving through a country, store cheap food options if accesible to a kitchen.

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Bbq’s in Australia

These are just a few ways to save money!  Let me know yours below!

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Visiting the abandoned casino @ Bokor City // Kampot, Cambodia

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You really want to know how much?

Over and over I get asked the same questions and comments.

How much is it costing you? How do you afford it? I cant backpack as I dont have the money too. You must be spending loads.

Traveling costs money. Of course it does. Almost everything we do costs something.

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To travel and experience. We pay…

 but that’s not the point as much.

It’s turns more towards the value.

I spend nothing compared to what I would in England. Despite being an a huge budget, we live well.

How's your Monday morning? #breakfast #coffee #pastry

Im hanging out on beaches, drinking way too much coffee in boutique coffee shops. Not too mention climbing up in the jungle finding waterfalls, diving, sipping smoothies on beach bars, wondering hectic cities, sunbathing in fancy resorts, finding fun hostels, living on remote islands, eating out every day and of course tons of other things.

I’m learning new things, seeing the word, making memories and meeting so many fascinating people. Read more