Traveling offers incredible value and long lasting (even life-long) benefits. However, like any other big goal or resolution for the new year, hitting the road requires some planning and sacrifice. One of the most common obstacles between wanting to travel and getting to travel is money. Learning to budget and manage your finances in the short-term can lead to the best experiences of your life!
Here are 7 Basic Questions to ask yourself when you have the will to travel, but are short on cash.
What is your travel goal? Dream about where you want to go in 2016 and then figure out how much that dream is going to cost you. Divide the total cost of the trip by the amount of months until your travel date to get an idea of how much you will have to set aside each month for your trip. Niteo makes this easy by including almost all of your ground expenses into the cost of the trip.
What are your current expenses? Evaluate what you spend your money on for an entire month. Record it all. It is likely that you have several things in your budget currently that you could sacrifice temporarily to make your dream happen. Can you live without cable, the upgraded phone service, a landline, eating out, or the coffee shop for a few months? At $5 per day for a cup of coffee, you could save $1800 towards your trip in 12 months.
Do you have any extra time or skills you can apply towards your goal? Americans work really hard, but we also have a considerable amount of free time that we often spend watching TV, going to sporting events, or scrolling Facebook. If you have extra time, consider that in conjunction with your opportunity for an extra source of income. Picking up a little extra work temporarily (babysitting, delivering pizza on Friday nights, playing music for weddings, house/dog sitting, making crafts to sell) can add up fast. I had one friend who strung Christmas lights in a wealthy neighborhood over the weekend and managed to save $2000 towards a trip.
What stuff can you part with? It is entirely possible that the fulfillment of your goal is in your basement or garage in the form of clutter. Sell off your unused sports equipment, appliances, and china to make room for those travel photos! Be disciplined and apply every penny earned towards your goal. You might also let your friends and relatives know about your plans, so they could consider giving towards your travel fund on birthdays and other giving occasions.
Does your credit card offer travel rewards? Some credit cards offer reward programs that include travel. If you are disciplined with credit, consider using a card that accumulates towards a free ticket. We put everything we can on our credit card and pay it off at the end of the month automatically. Thousands of miles have been traveled through the points we’ve accumulated this way.
Can you set up a saving system? Depending on your personality, saving can be easier if you automatically contribute to a separate bank account. There are high yield interest accounts online that could net you a few hundred dollars towards your trip. Tax refunds are also a great way to kick-start your travel fund!
Can you recruit six friends to go with you? Niteo Tours offers a FREE TOUR to a group of 6 or more travelers. Consider making an invitation to your old college roommates, friends from your book club, or your church small group. This is a creative way for you to travel when funds are tight and traveling with friends has the added benefit of a shared positive experience.
Here are some additional ideas that can help you attain your travel goal:
Market your goal to yourself. Find places at work, in your car, and at home to post a photo or a quote that will serve as an inspiration to focus on your goal.
Celebrate and measure your successes. Corporate fundraisers know how to create visuals that measure successes (you’ve likely seen the giving thermometers that get colored in to keep track of progress). Create a no-cost or low cost way to give yourself a pat on the back when you reach a milestone. Every penny you save is getting you closer to your dream!
Make the phone call or send the email. Getting the ball rolling with even an inquiry to a travel company like Niteo can help you get on track. Give us a call today!
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