Millennials have been bitten by the wanderlust bug and it’s infectious! More often than not, if you ask a millennial what is on their bucket list, traveling will be in the top 5. In regards to me, it’s my number two; falls right after happiness (which is pretty much like saying you want to be living and breathing…so travel is the real MVP here!).
Flashback to 20-30 years ago, if you asked your parents at our age what their bucket list consisted of, it would more than likely not include traveling. That’s because the generations before us were pressured/expected to (because it was the norm) to get married, get a job and have children. We are the first generation that is putting travel as a top priority in our lives. Because of that, sometimes people don’t quite understand the pure drive and sense of urgency we have to see the world.
Unfortunately, that urgency sometimes can come to a halt because of two main components: cash money and PTO.
Give me all the dollars.
Although those two things are VERY true, they are not the whole truth. Let me explain.
Because of personal reasons, in January I had to quit my job. I was unemployed for TWO months: that means no income for 60 days. HOW SCARY?! Then, I was employed part time (I highly suggest to take advantage of a part time job – if you got it, use it for all its worth. They can’t say no to vacation days because they don’t offer benefits. MAKE part time work a benefit and travel!). Anyway, I was definitely riding the struggle bus when it came to cash flow in the wallet. Thankfully, throughout my life my parents instilled in me the importance and drive to save money after each paycheck.
***Where there’s a will, there’s a way! I saved enough money in 2015 and was smart with the minimal income I had in 2016 to pay for all my trips without my savings account taking a jump off the deep end. In fact, my savings account is right where it was at the beginning of the year – impressive, right?!
2016 Travel List
(1 international country, 3 US cities, with two of them being the most expensive cities to live/visit)
(food, drinks, attractions, shopping)
Looking at that number is a bit daunting, it sounds like a TON of money – well almost $3,000 is a ton of money – but by staying true to the tips below, I was able to make it happen without my wallet feeling the extreme slim down. Granted, I’m not a travel blogger and I really haven’t traveled enough to offer professional tips, but what I can do is prove to you that it is possible for an average joe to make it happen!
TIPS – SAVE SAVE SAVE
- Put a specific amount of money into savings each paycheck (even if it’s $20, that will make a difference – that’s over $500 a year, which can pay for one trip).
- Birthdays/Christmas/etc… put that money in savings, too.
- Put your tax return into savings – DON’T TOUCH IT!
- Don’t buy that expensive perfume/pair of boots, or the $6 coffee everyday – use that extra cash to go toward a trip
- If you spent $6 on coffee 3x a week for a year, you’d spend $864 – that amount of money would have paid for my Florida and New York trip!
- Try to pay with cash and put all the coins into a jar (this sounds childish and pointless, but trust me, it really adds up quickly)
- Don’t use sick days/vacation days for pointless reasons – use them for experiences!
TIPS – PLANNING THE TRIP
- Join travel groups on FB – they give you plenty of great advice on cheap plane tickets, hotels/hostels, attractions, etc.
- My favorite travel group for females is called “GirlsLoveTravel”. They are the greatest group of badass, adventurous women. I want to be best friends with all of them and you will, too!
- Purchase the plane ticket months in advance (pay it off), purchase the Airbnb/Couchsurf/hotel/hostel a month or two in advance (pay it off), and continually save for your trip – splitting up your airfare, lodging and spending money into sections along a timeline makes the overall cost of the trip manageable, even if it is a bit pricey.
- DO YOUR RESEARCH – this is the most important tip.
- For airfare, check ahead of time, and preferably on Tuesdays, while using sites like Expedia.com. This is where I purchase all of my plane tickets, not only do they offer fair prices, they also give you a wide range of airlines, departure/arrival times, and their customer service is amazing if you ever have questions regarding your flight.
- Once you book your trip, do your research on the area you’re going to. A lot of places have free attractions or tours. Do things that the locals do. Get outside and explore. My favorite part of San Francisco was the free hiking attractions.
- If you go, you HAVE to check out Muir Woods and Battery Spencer. Look at those views!!!
Can you believe these views were free?!
My last word of advice:
If you want to travel, do it. Don’t hold back because you’re afraid of the amount of money. Money comes and goes and if you have a steady job, it will continue to flow through. A trip to a new destination makes you more rich than the $500 in your savings account or those new pair of shoes. Not only do you learn more about a different culture/city, you learn more about who you are and what you want in life. And how can you put a price tag on that? Buy the damn plane ticket and go on an adventure. You won’t regret it!
Final thoughts: If you ever need a travel companion, holla at cha girl! I’ve only seen 1.54% of the world and I’m NOT OKAY with that. So please help me raise that number to a solid HUNDO (100%) 🙂