Saving Money for Your Next Adventure
“Finding the money” is the eternal struggle all adventurers, wanderers, and travel-minded people. In order to live a lifestyle free from the constraints of traditional economic forces, it’s almost ironic how important money becomes. In this post, my goal is to walk you through ideas aimed at increasing your financial ability to travel.
Everyone living faces their own unique struggles and there is no silver bullet for saving money. However, everyone traveling must make sacrifices. This is a hard pill to swallow but you can’t have it all.
View Money as a Tool
When saving money, it is important to view it as a tool. Do not attach any other importance to your finances. Use it to buy the gear necessary and most importantly, the time.
- It is not a status symbol
When money becomes a status symbol, the act of making money becomes more important than what it can be used for. When prescribing to this thought process, career decisions are often made at the detriment to travel dreams. It makes the bank account a reflection on how much work you’re doing, not what you’re working towards. In extreme examples, individuals may start believing that material goods are the ultimate life goal.
This is a dangerous mentality to become afflicted with is because there is no room for long-term travel. Time spent not making money is construed as wasted time. That being said, there is plenty of room for your own interpretation of travel and what it is you ultimately want. Plenty of people have a meaningful career while engaging in a travel lifestyle.
- Money is Still Important
Temptingly, many travelers seek to cast away any attachment to monetary systems. The grand vision of living in the woods and not dealing with the oppressive forces of urban life feeds into a utopian ideal of travel.
Unfortunately, it’s not that easy or simplistic. Money is incredibly useful, it doesn’t matter what kind of lifestyle you live. There is no better way to trade value between individuals than through the use of currency. Do not forget, money is still vital to your travel plans.
Making peace with the need to make money will make saving it a more enjoyable experience. I find that I can do any job for at least one year if I know the purpose of working is to pay for a trip that I have planned.
Cycle Your Time Between Work and Travel
If you have a way of making supplemental income while traveling, you can skip this bullet point. I have not found a single solution to an infinite life on the road and in my opinion, the best way to pay for a backpacking lifestyle is to cycle between working and traveling.
For me, this involves moving to an urban area and finding work. I focus on companies or businesses that are just as desperate for employees as I am for a job. As I have gotten older and followed this path of employment, it becomes easier to find work.
- Craigslist. When looking for jobs in your selected city, Craigslist offers the best opportunities. This is not to say that a website such as Indeed.com would not be lucrative, but don’t sleep on Craigslist. Smaller companies and local economic solutions are easier to find via Craigslist.
- Upwork.com This website is one of the best for finding short-term and freelance work. Create an account and search keywords for what you’re interested in. Soft skills such as writing and social media marketing are always in demand.
Once you are making money, it is important to begin saving. Your living expenses must be less than your income. Reducing your consumer habits and being aware of expenditures will bring clarity as to the best methods for saving money.
Build yourself a monthly budget and visualize where your cash is being spent. Analyze the largest areas of spending and see if you can cut back.
- Cook your meals. Instead of buying meals, cook your food. Going grocery shopping once a week can save hundreds of dollars a month. If you want to take it one step further, meal prepping will make eating on the fly quick and easy.
- Cheap housing. As a traveler, making sacrifices on your living situation will prove to be economically beneficial. Cutting back on living expenses will help grow your bank account.
- Van life. If you haven’t heard about it yet, living in a van is all the rage. This is a great option to save money for traveling
- Rent a room. Craigslist makes it easy to find rooms or even couches for rent. If you are ok sharing an apartment with strangers, this is a good option. If you’re lucky, you will find a place close to your job with a monthly bill much lower than if you were to start a new lease. Look for a month-to-month option and never sign a permanent contract. You want the freedom to leave whenever you desire.
- Live with family and/or friends. If it’s in the cards, talk to friends and family about available space. Maybe they will cut you a deal, letting you live on the cheap without the hassle of strangers.
While you are working and saving money, live as if you were traveling. Only have enough things to fit inside a backpack and don’t make unnecessary purchases. The best way to save money is not to spend it. I live a lifestyle where everything I own can fit into two bags. This includes all of my backpacking equipment. Living within these limitations prevents me from making unneeded purchases. As I’ve said before, this is an extreme lifestyle and everyone will have different ways to save.
Minimalism is also about the mindset. It can be easy to become frustrated when you are consumed inside the working lifestyle. Think about it as a temporary state of mind. It is just as interesting to see how your peers live traditional lives as it is to backpack a mountain range or learn about a new culture.
Don’t Get Discouraged
Saving money is not easy. Living a lifestyle focused around fulfilling dreams and traveling is not a simple task, if it was, everybody would be doing it. Try not to get frustrated at the amount of time it takes to accrue the necessary capital. Instead, view this time as an opportunity to focus on new skills and find ways to make your travels even better.
Never give up. If you know what you want to do, nothing in the world will be able to stop you.