Talk to anyone about travelling and the young will say they want to do it and the old will say they wish they did it – but how many people actually do?
Scrolling through my Twitter each day, it’s inevitable that I see someone say they don’t think going travelling is attainable. But why? The people who do end up doing it are just like you and me – the only thing holding you back is the very idea that it’s not attainable for someone like you.
We, like most people, dreamt of escape, of running away and leaving our responsibilities behind. Unlike most travellers we weren’t drawn to the typical backpacking lifestyle and knew we wouldn’t want to stay in hostels or wing it day by day but we were determined to do everything we could to achieve the ‘unattainable’. So, how did we do it?
The moment we got an inkling that we were actually going to go through with our plans, we set a date. With a date set, we were firmly planning and talking about travelling rather than being led into thinking it was something we would always talk about and never do. We also made sure we picked a date that was entirely attainable – it was over a year away so it gave us plenty of time to save for it. Perhaps you can’t commit to saving a huge deal each month, that’s fine, just set a date up to 2 years in the future!
To firm the date up, we booked our final hotel room. We planned everything else around this final date. Because we knew exactly where and when we were ending our trip, we were able to plan with certainty a route across the States taking time to stop in the cities we knew we wanted to see. There were some sacrifices and changes along the planning process – but there was no more stalling.
When it comes to a short two week holiday it’s often preferable to put down a deposit and pay the balance later but for our extended trip across America we paid for everything as soon as we booked it. This meant in the 12 months we had to plan the trip most of our monthly wages were allocated to booking a different aspect up.
This meant all of our monthly incomings were allocated and accounted for, we had a set budget, and there would be no last minute dashes to try and raise funds for bits we’d forgotten we owed money on. It also meant there was no lengthy savings process, as we’d both worked out what we earned each month and what we could afford to pay for each part of the trip.
Although you might desperately want to go travelling, it’s definitely not advisable to go through with it unless you have the funds to pay for it. One of the first steps for us was to sit down and work out our incomings and outgoings. We both earnt a set salary each month and from this we subtracted everything that had to be spent on rent, food and fuel.
Everything that was left over was put into our individual savings account ready to build up and then spend month by month on each part of the trip we booked up. Before we even started booking the trip we had totted up the approximate cost of each location, and overestimated it, to ensure we could genuinely afford it on our own without relying on borrowing money.
For the year we had to plan and pay off every detail of the trip we did next to nothing. We went out on the weekends very rarely, we went to work, came home and stayed in each evening. We gave up any extras we had been paying for (like gym memberships) so we could save even more money.
We also decided, although it was less than comfortable, during the last four months we would move in with my parents. We had been renting our flat up until then, but we gave it up to allow us to save even more money as our trip approached. It’s imperative that you make sacrifices and give up that luxury shopping basket, the latest technology and those shoes you’ve been lusting after.
Although it can be tempting to pack it all in and take a luxurious month off before you even start travelling, it’s preferable to quit your job at the very last minute. I let my manager know I would be leaving a couple of months beforehand and I was very lucky that my company was able to keep my job open – so perhaps this would be an option for you if you let your company know early enough.
I finished my job with 3 days to go until we set off on our journey and the only reason I had those days off was because I was owed some holiday time. This also meant I was due a pay day after we had left the country – it was a nice boost to my holiday spends!
I hope this post has convinced you that leaving it all behind for a few months travelling is entirely attainable – happy planning!
I collected all of the charms on my bracelet above whilst I was travelling – can you guess some of the destinations I visited?
Find me here!