28 Jun 2016

Funding your travel wishlist*

*This is a collaborative post but photos are my own

A travel wish list, also known as a Bucket list, is essentially a list of all the places you want to visit in your lifetime. The term itself was made famous by the 2007 movie, 'The Bucket List'. In the movie, Morgan
Freeman and Jack Nicholson play characters who, at the end of their lives, decide to create a bucket list of things they will do together - on the basis that there were so many things left to squeeze from life, travel being a priority, and they didn't want to spend it in a hospital. One wealthy, one poor, they decide to embark on an exciting adventure of race car driving, an African safari and mountain climbing mission in Nepal.

Today, almost everyone has some idea of their own bucket list, whether it’s written down or not, and many exotic dreams such as a trip to the Maldives feature highly on the list of many people. The first thing you need to do, in order to turn your dreams into reality, is to work out how to afford your next travel adventure. You’ll want to consider preparing for these adventures in terms of shopping for holiday gear but also to thoroughly research travel insurance (particularly if you’re planning on doing adventure sports) in which case you might want to Compare Travel Insurance with Money Pug in order to save some money from the outset.

Start saving... in terms of saving for travel, there are two predominant approaches; the first is that you start saving the money you currently spend (e.g. spend less on day-to-day living and syphon off some of that cash into a savings account). A particularly effective way to do this, is to do it from source, so that each time you get paid - your bank automatically takes 10-20% of your income and puts it into a savings account.

. The second approach is to increase your income. There are ways to do this yet with such busy lives it’s not always easy to increase our income - as we tend to be on a treadmill of trading time for money, meaning, we either spend all our time making money (meaning we have a lot less time to travel and achieve the items on our bucket list).

. There is, of course, the third approach of putting certain large expenses such as flights on a 0% credit card and then pay it back over time much the same as a loan. This way, you can take immediate action and start living your dreams - but it is incredibly important to remain sensible when it comes to borrowing money in order to fund your travel plans and this should be done only if you have the payment arranged in advance.

Earn money from your travels... a great way to earn money from your travels is with travel photography, as you can now start selling your photos online with great ease. This is probably one of the most pleasant and convenient means as you can actually end up making money from engaging in fun activities and seeing things you might not otherwise experience. Other options are activities such as tarot card reading, hairdressing, translating or one of the many online opportunities to make money whilst travelling.

Find cheap flights... if you’re looking to travel internationally, then flights can take a huge chunk of money from your travel fund. However, if you can be flexible with your dates, searching for cheap flights via comparison engines such as skyscanner will present you with the cheapest deals. The more flexible you can be with your dates and locations, the cheaper the flights will be, as sometimes we end up paying much more for the convenience of getting a flight from the nearest airport - when for just an hour or two’s additional journey time, we could save a heap of money that could be kept for emergencies and food whilst travelling.

In London for instance, there are a number of airports you could travel into - so don’t necessarily be set on one specific airport. In London, the main airport is London Heathrow, however, there’s also London Gatwick, London Stansted, London Luton and London City. Heathrow and City are most convenient, but Gatwick, Stansted and Luton are all just a 30-45 minute train ride away from the centre of London. Then, on a more extreme level, you could even consider looking at flights to the whole of England; flying into Manchester means two hours travel by train - yet if you were saving a few hundred dollars, it might be worth it.

Work for your accommodation... A further large expense when travelling is accommodation, as even in destinations that are known for being “cheap”, even $10 a day can mount up when travelling long-term. When you consider a basic hotel room in London is likely to be well in excess of £50, this is an expense that can very quickly spiral out of control. As it can mount up quickly one suggestion is to visit a site like workaway that allows travellers to volunteer for four hours a day (sometimes doing pretty cool things like helping out at an orphanage or elephant sanctuary) and in return they provide free accommodation/a couple of meals a day.

This is not just a cheap and affordable way to travel, it’s a great way to be part of a community and meet other people, travellers and locals alike, whilst making a difference to the community within which you’re visiting - particularly if you volunteered somewhere like an orphanage or animal sanctuary where you could add real value. On the search for the cheapest accommodation, sites such as CouchSurfing might come in handy, that allow you to stay on people’s sofas for free. However you travel, remember to be safe and have a detailed plan, insurance and means of regular communication in place, no matter how spontaneous the trip.

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