You’ve probably noticed me hinting around the blog and in the newsletter about my longtime goal of extended world travel. One of the items on my bucket list is to go on a trip to several countries for a few months versus the typical one-week vacation I give myself every year. Well, I’ve decided that the time to start planning for that dream is NOW. And by planning, I don’t just mean writing about it, researching it and asking other people about it. I mean taking ACTION on it. It’s time to make good on something I’ve always wanted to do for myself and my personal growth.
Thing is, most people who say they want to travel the world never get past the wishful thinking phase because their limiting beliefs around money (only rich people can do stuff like that, etc.) prevent them from seeing the possibilities. I have to admit, I was one of those people. That is, until I read Chris Guillebeau’s amazing manifesto, The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World. Chris’ book basically kicked every excuse my lizard brain could come up with for not living my dream of being location independent to the curb. It was time for me to get to work. The first task? Saving money for my trip. Here’s what strategies I’ve been using so far. If you’re plotting a similar escape, these ideas may help you in your journey as well.
Decide Where You Want to Go (and When)
Ever since I heard about AirTreks from Tim Ferriss book, The Four Hour Workweek, I’ve been stalking their site every few months to daydream about my around-the-world trip. I’ve always wanted to visit Italy, Greece and lots of places in Asia. It just happens that next year, I will be turning 30 years old. I thought, wouldn’t it be great to celebrate my 30th birthday in another country? Why yes, yes it would. It also doesn’t hurt that my b-day is on New Year’s Eve and there are a ton of epic parties I could take part in, like in Tokyo or Sydney, Australia. I plan to leave next summer/fall 2012 for a duration of 3-6 months, staying in several different countries along the way.
Sketch Out a Basic Budget for Your Trip
I’ve been scoping out other people’s travel stories via blogs like YTravel Blog to see how much it actually costs to live on the road for a 3-6 months. Of course, your budget depends on how much you want to spend, but the average for a year seems to run around $15,000-20,000 if you’re going to spend a chunk of time in Asia, where the cost of living is super cheap. So I broke that down into $3,500-5,000 for 3 months, $8,000-10,000 for six and so on. I’m adding my round-the-world plane ticket on top of that ($3,000-5,000), just to be conservative. Still doing my research on costs, but the main way to keep them down during my trip will be to stay at hostels or guesthouses instead of fancy hotels. Eating from local restaurants or cooking my own food vs. tourist traps will help a lot as well.
Reduce Your Living Expenses
One of the biggest changes I had to make was to get rid of my apartment. I was living in DC paying $1,200 a month for rent on a tiny studio, in the city, close to all the nightlife and convenient transportation via the Metro. But I kept thinking of how much money I could be saving if I could cut my rent in half. Yes, HALF. So I decided to rent a room in someone’s house! I started looking on Craigslist’s “rooms and shares” section for a place in DC, Maryland or Virginia. Northern Virginia won out. It had the best options out of the three areas for $600 a month. The place I found has a private bathroom and a landlord who’s hardly ever home. It will take some getting used to (still feel like a houseguest), but the savings are totally worth it. I also get to be closer to my mom, who lives 10 minutes away, which was a huge perk to me choosing this place. Sidenote: One of my mental roadblocks in making the decision to rent a room also required me to get rid of the idea that “grown women” have their OWN apartment. Not if they want to travel the world on a budget, they don’t!
Earn More Money
Having this new income goal has definitely motivated me to take bigger risks in my business in terms of offering additional products and services. I have been promoting myself more to my audiences over the past few weeks and as a result, I now have a waiting list for new coaching clients, plus another full Side Hustle Boot Camp group! This was also the kick in the butt I needed to finally get the ball rolling to plan two LIVE events, something I’ve wanted to do for about a year now. This one is perhaps the riskiest business investment of all, but so far I’m seeing greater interest in the training I have to offer. Finally, I’ve also raised my speaking rates for organizations who want to hire me to present workshops or keynotes at their conferences.
So far, these money-saving strategies are putting me in a new mindset of taking the steps to reach what’s now an attainable goal vs. a lofty dream. The plan is really coming together, many years before I thought it would.
Have you ever gone on extended world travel before? If so, how did you save?