5 tips: Travel without going broke
An earlier version of this story first appeared on Jayson's blog.
Guys, let’s face it. We cannot go completely broke just to travel.
You might say that it's okay since you are still young, YOLO, “you can always make money but not memories,” or for some, “I’m rich, I have money… I’ll travel and you don’t care!”
Well, I do agree with you completely that you should travel while you are still young and up to the point when you no longer physically can, but there are limitations to everything. Traveling is a fulfilling and enjoyable experience, but being broke isn’t.
Let me tell you why.
People, we do not live in a fantasy land where every waking moment of your life is full bliss. You have responsibilities, whether you like it or not, be it in the present or in the future.
Face the challenges instead of staying away from it. I know some people who travel to escape because they don’t like their jobs or have love problems or worse (and this is really the worst scenario), they live in poverty! And I don’t mean that people who have less money cannot travel (they sure can as long as it is within their budget and plans), but that there are people who travel just to brag, when in reality, they have a truckload of debt to friends, families, and banks.
The solution is really simple. If you cannot afford it, then don’t buy it. If you want to afford it, then work hard and smart for it. And you don’t have to spend a lot for travel anyways. I suppose you've heard of the term backpacking already, right? Always set a strict budget for your travels.
Balance is Key
For me, balance to everything is still the key. Yes, you’re young and you have to enjoy life to the fullest but you must also think of the other opportunities and experiences you may be missing. Balance your studies, work, family, friends, investments, and businesses alongside your travels and I’m sure you’ll be more productive and will learn a lot in life. And besides, too much of everything is bad. Believe me, you’ll appreciate traveling more when you miss it.
Prepare for the future
Someone commented on my previous Rappler article that he’d rather invest his P33,000 in stocks than travel. Well, sure you can do that and I advise you to do so especially if you don’t have any investments yet (but ideally, you should have emergency fund first before investing in the stock market). But just the same, life is not just about money. You must enjoy the fruits of your labor too. That’s why (and I will reiterate) that balance is key to everything (see number 2). What’s the point of being rich when you don’t enjoy life?
All that being said, one must prepare for his/her future. You definitely must. How? Start with the easiest. An emergency fund (6 months' worth of your monthly expenses), then life insurance (variable universal life insurance is okay), then mutual funds, then direct investments in the stock market. Or you can start up a small business, start a blog, rent out your space, anything that appreciates in time and can give you income. Great things start from small beginnings. Easier said than done, you say? Opening a mutual fund account only requires a minimum of P5,000 to P10,000 of investment and a minimum of P1,000 for an additional fund.
Maybe you won’t feel the benefits now, but I’m sure in the future you’ll begin to.
Being broke sucks
Looking at your empty bank account and wallet in dismay is heartbreaking. Don’t let financial troubles get to you especially if debts are starting to pile up.
Take control of your finances now! If you are going to travel long term, make sure you have a definite plan on how to sustain it and make money even while on the road. Isn’t it better if you have a steady stream of income rather than wondering where to get money to pay for your food and bills? Sure, you can enjoy free stuff like couch surfing, house-sitting, and hitch-hiking, but it’s still better if you have enough income and money with you.
Travel to enjoy
Traveling is meant to be enjoyed. Let’s admit it, if you’re broke, you can’t enjoy traveling that much. You still need money even if you’re a super budget backpacker. Plane fares alone and visa fees will already set you back some cash, what more if you’re traveling long-term? Not all people have the courage to travel with no or little money. I know some people are doing this and they are really inspiring, but it’s not for everyone.
What you can do is simply avoid being broke and invest and save for your travels, then enjoy it. Just like from the famous line of Joey de Leon, "Trabaho Ipon Travel Enjoy," or in short – T.I.T.E.
Travel at your own pace and don’t be envious of your friends who travel frequently (especially those who travel luxuriously). You’ll get there one step at a time, just focus on your priorities first and remember that traveling is not a competition. We travel because we want to enjoy life to the fullest, not brag about it. – Rappler.com
Jayson Concepcion is a programmer by profession but has a soul of a traveler. Aside from his ultimate dream of traveling around the world, he loves to eat, drink, listen to music, talk about aliens, and indulge in his occasional secret guilty pleasure of singing love songs in videoke. His favorite superpower is to teleport from one place to another. I guess you know why. Visit his blog: thetraveldebugger.com or follow him on Facebook and Instagram