Sadly, traveling is (most often) not free. Wanderlust has its price. Even if you’ve racked up enough points to get a free airline ticket and perhaps even enough to snag your hotel room as well. There are other expenses along your journey that will require funds, assuming you want to consider leaving your accommodations…or eat.
It’s challenging enough to contend with bills and stretch a paycheck sometimes. If you’re fortunate enough to have any money left over after paying your recurring monthly bills you’re downright giddy. For those yearning to travel, that joy quickly dissipates when realizing the residual from their wages won’t cover a trip to Europe, Peru, Australia or any other long craved destination they’ve been longing to see.
About the time tax season was rolling around I was approached to offer some insight to some media outlets on where one could vacation for around $3000.00, the national average of a tax refund. Until this request, I had no idea that was the average. I found it quite high; I mean $3000.00 is a lot of money. And yes, I offered several great destinations that fell within that budget quite easily.
Knowing what the national refund average was I started wondering why I was often hearing people in my life, both personally and professionally, saying stuff like ‘I really want to travel, but I can’t afford it’ or ‘That’s really out of my price range’ or a myriad of similar verbiage.
However, I became puzzled while reflecting on these past conversation because the same people making these disclaimers often seemed to have a popular coffee chain drink in hand. Going to, or recently went to, a newly released motion picture. I even have a friend that (almost) never cooks. So, he is usually dining out at a restaurant, taking home from a restaurant or having food delivered to him from a restaurant. Yes, this friend has expressed a desire to travel more as well. And, if my friend is reading this, I trust he’ll forgive me for using this as an example.
So, what does a weary wannabe globetrotter do to finance their deep desires to explore this little blue marble of ours? Perhaps it’s time to put your little expenditures under deeper scrutiny. Little as in you don’t think they’re frivolous or that expensive because they come out a little piece at time.
Take out your calculator and take a look at some of these examples…
Number 1 – #Coffee …now!
You’re a regular at the coffee shop that’s so conveniently located near your place of employment. Let’s assume you stop by each morning on your way to the office and come back in the afternoon to sustain the jolt.
You’ll notice that I didn’t include the cost of any tempting treats to munch on while enjoying your drink(s). If you do partake in such goodies, think about what they cost and multiply accordingly to add to this sum. If your habit has you haunting the same establishment on weekends, calculate and tabulate the total.
Just cutting down to one visit a day is nearly enough to cover economy airfare to a great many destinations, maybe even enough for two tickets.
Number 2 – #ItsHappyHourSomewhere
It’s the weekend and it’s time to blow off a little steam. It’s true you do work hard for the money and deserve to let down your hair, but here’s what happens to your weekend in Mexico after a year of weekend letting it loose.
First of all – always drink responsibly, AND never drink and drive
You may have noticed that these are based on some pretty cheap drink prices. So, if you’re consuming premium and top shelf brands chances are the total is, at least, somewhat higher than these figures. Please also note this is based on two beverages a visit. If you’re drinking more than that per visit, you know what to do. That’s right, do the math…and call a cab, please.
Number 3 – #LetsGoToTheMovies
Who doesn’t love the movies?
Admittedly, in the scope of year, this indulgence may not be so dreadful. However, please note that finding concrete figures on movie tickets and concession cost was a bit of a challenge. Therefore, I based this on my recollection from my last movie outing. You’ll see that I didn’t include the costs of other treats. Also – while I haven’t experienced such comforts myself – I understand there is an extra cost for such things as recliner seats. Do you go out to the movies more than once a month? Do you gotta stretch out while scarfing down and watching that flick? If so, get the calculator.
Number 4 – #CheckPlease
You may hate cooking. You may hate cleaning up after cooking – I hate cleaning up after cooking. Well, that’s not entirely accurate. I hate cleaning anytime. You gotta eat, but think about refining (or retraining) your palate to enjoy the fine nuances leftover and brown bag your lunch at least once in a while.
I’m not going to ask you to give up date night, but I believe you could be more creative in finding ways to catch up and rekindle.
Notice, this is not including a bunch of stuff on that once a month dinner. The lunches are off the ‘cheap eats’, not the more upscale build a burrito/bowl type of dining establishments. You’re lunch spending would make a large dent at a romantic all-inclusive resort where you stuff your face 24/7 if you felt so inclined.
Number 5 – #BadHabit
This is not a PSA and I trust anyone reading this is aware of the health risks of smoking. Addiction is not a joke, easy to overcome, and it most certainly is not cheap. If you smoke and are having issues funding your explorations, it may be going up in… (insert cliché here).
Quitting – or never starting – has more than health benefits as you can see. You could use the savings towards visit a wellness resort and take part in one of their smoking cessation programs, if that interests you, instead.
I certainly understand that money can be tight sometimes. Believe me when I say that I have plenty of empathy for those that are facing considerable financial difficulties and hardships.
Because I really don’t want to be sued and/or snubbed by the likes of the Coffee Cartel, Hollywood, Big (or little) Tobacco, alcoholic beverage companies, taverns, restaurant or fast food conglomerate, let me also say this…This is no way meant to be a judgment on the services, prices and/or products or any brand -said or implied.
I also hope I didn’t upset any of my barista, bartender, waiter, movie loving, and smoking friends. We all have our comforts, habits and indulgences. I live in a glass house, so I include myself when I say “we”.
The bottom line and reality is, whatever your money situation is, it’s your money. Spend it however you wish. But, if you want to travel (I mean – really – want to travel) and are faced with uncertainty on how to pay for it then I encourage you to delve deep you’re your spending habits. And I beg of you, please…stop saying you can’t afford it.
What would you suggest to pinch a penny or cut back on?
I am eager to hear your thoughts and feedback.
Please leave a comment (above start of the post) and let’s get a discussion started.