The reason I can afford to travel is because I make it a priority. Does that sound too simple? I realize it does sound simple but really it’s the truth. The great thing about making travel a priority is that anyone can do it. It doesn’t matter how rich or how poor you are. It doesn’t matter where you live, what you do for a living, or how many children you have. The Key to be able to travel is to make it a priority. Making travel a priority works because once it becomes your main focus, you’re bound to go somewhere. Sure, you may not be able to afford to go to Fiji but maybe you could go to Mexico. Or Florida. Or Wisconsin. Or wherever.
I find that the people who really want to travel, do it. The ones that don’t really want to travel, do not. Some people say, “I can’t take time off work.” “I can’t afford to travel.” “I can’t take the kids.” We’ve all heard it before. You will always find results when you lose excuses. I knew I was on the right track when my washer and dryer broke. I didn’t replace them when they broke, I went to Disney World instead. I could have postponed my trip without penalty and bought new appliances because I “needed” them, but I did not. I kept our travel plans and we used the laundromat when we returned. I’d still be doing laundry at the laundromat if I hadn’t received a lovely brand new set for Christmas.
When travel becomes your primary focus it becomes apparent to everyone around you as well. My oldest son is aware that I only focus on travel. He complains about it actually. He knew the washer and dryer was a gift before I even told him. He flat out told me that he knew I didn’t buy it because I spend all my money dragging him on vacations. My son is right, as replacing the broken appliances was way on the bottom of my list. Travel was much, much higher on the list.
You can find a ton of tips on the internet about saving money for travel. Traveling during the off season while being flexible on destinations is probably the biggest money saver. I have a flexible work schedule, and I don’t have kids in school. This is a major advantage on affordable travel. If I had to go Disney during the summer or during school breaks, my trip would not have been as great. It would have been more crowded and expensive.
If you have kids in school you should really consider pulling them out of school to travel to popular destinations. The prices during high and low seasons are remarkable. I know taking kids out of school is harder as they get older, but for kids in elementary grades I’d say it’s definitely worth it. Kids learn a lot through travel, so don’t think you’re seriously screwing up their education by taking them on a holiday. Even if you’re just going to Disney, your kids will learn tons. Yes your kids (and us grown ups!) will learn at Disney.
Opening a special bank account to deposit money into, having a garage sale, quitting a Starbucks addiction, and eating out less are all ways to save money for travel. You can also get rid of cable and stop going to the mall. I wonder if anyone really needs suggestions like these. To be honest, I don’t think these are even effective strategies for saving money to travel. Some people just don’t really want to travel and that’s perfectly fine. I’ve managed to travel while being quite poor. I never had a garage sale or opened a special bank account.
I’m not dismissing saving money, garage sales, or cutting expenses. Those are all great things to do, but it just isn’t as effective as making travel a priority. Sure, people may do it once to go somewhere, but it will feel too restrictive for those who don’t have travel as the end goal. They will constantly feel like they are sacrificing. As soon as that trip is over they are unlikely to go anywhere again. It’s like dieting vs making healthy food choices. You have to learn to like and eat healthy foods most of the time to keep your weight in a stable, healthy range. It doesn’t mean never eating cake or French fries again, but it does mean getting accustomed to and enjoying healthy foods. There is a reason why most people gain back all the weight they lost during their diet. It’s the same reason why most people in the U.S. do not travel. They are focused on unsustainable methods.
I make travel a priority, and that’s how I can afford to travel. If you’d like to travel, then you can do it too.