Can I Travel When I'm Not Rich?

“Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe.” — Anatole France

Is traveling only for rich people? Can a poor college graduate get some traveling done?

We finished off with the small savings series last week where I put up a big list of small savings. We’re now moving forward with a series on traveling and all of that fun stuff. Just to give you a little background information. I returned from a month long trip to Europe last week and I wanted to address the concern of not being able to afford to travel in your 20s.

Can I travel in my 20s when I’m not rich? Yes. Let’s see how. How can you travel when your budget is tight?

Plan in advance.

My best advice is to look at flight/hostel/hotel prices in advance to see what the prices are like in ahead of time during different time periods. I determined that it would be far too expensive to travel during the summer months. This is why I decided to head out in September instead. Chances are that you won’t be able to afford to go during the busiest time periods. That’s cool.

Did I mention that I still had a blast off season? There’s more locals and less tourists. You also meet more of the long-term travelers. Definitely worth the experience. Just by planning in advance and finding cheaper flights/accommodations you can travel when you’re not rich.

Go to places you can afford.

When I was in Budapest it was about $1 for a beer when you did the conversion. The stay at the hostel I was at was costing me about $17/night. The price of a decent meal was roughly less than five bucks depending on where you went to eat. This is highly affordable for most of us. The trick with planning any sort of first time long distance trip is to figure out where you can afford to go.

For your first trip post-college you won’t be able to afford a stay in Milan, Italy or a month in Thailand (due to insane flight prices). Most of us can afford a trip through Eastern Europe or other places on this planet where the prices aren’t through the roof. If you go to places that you can afford then of course you can afford to travel (what a statement, eh?).

Save up slowly.

You don’t have to come up with two grand in one shot. You should start to save up slowly for your trip. You can’t plan on leaving for Greece next weekend. If you plan to go in 6 months then you can totally afford to go hit up the Greek islands and party until 7 in the morning baby!

I’m a huge supporter of saving up slowly for your next trip. You can start off with $20 a week or more depending on how extravagant you want your trip to be and when you plan on heading out. I took $20 from a friend of mine every week until we could afford to hit up the Dominican for Spring Break. He was pretty damn happy that he agreed to this. As were the young ladies that he met.

Look for work abroad.

The best way to travel for any extended period of time is to find some part-time work. You won’t make a fortune but you’ll immerse yourself in the culture. You’ll get to meet some local folks and you’ll extend the duration of your trip. The more money you earn on your trip the less that you have to save in advance. It’s worth giving a try!

These are just a few of the ways that you can afford to plan a decent trip when you’re pockets are empty. I’m positive that if you get creative you can think of a few more ideas.

I want to conclude this post by asking you this question: when do you plan on starting your travels? Is money holding you back?

(photocredit: earthworm)

Martin Dasko

Martin Dasko