8 Things You Can Do When You Need To Travel But Have No Money

by Lauren Martin

I know that feeling you have right now. I know that raw, aching pain pulling at you from the inside out. It’s that restless thrashing at the bottom of your stomach through the top of your esophagus, gagging you when you talk and gnawing at you when you sit down.

It’s comes in waves, or sits with you all day, becoming that type of silent pain we’ve learned to live so well alongside. It’s a pressure you can’t release until it’s gotten its way, until it’s crossed oceans and marveled at something new. It’s the sickness of the plague of the wanderer, and it is a pain that will only be cured by distant lands.

The plight of the wanderer is that of a restless soul. It’s what makes us who we are and pains us for being this way. It’s the reason we need to leave and the source of agony when we can’t. It’s the worst and best part about being an explorer: It's the root of our desires and the pain that will haunt us for the rest of our lives.

But what are you supposed to do when you have no money and that nagging, aching urge to travel is only getting worse? How do you placate a soul that wants to be free, chasing something bigger than what’s around it? What does a wanderer do when he or she can't wander?

Unfortunately, the restless soul will never be satisfied until it’s getting on an airplane, but it can be placated. Like a crying baby, it can be distracted and fed small bits to keep it from screaming. It can be slowly kept alive with dreams and plans and small adventures.

So if you have that aching urge to travel but have no money to get out of town, there are always things you can be doing to dampen the pain.

Watch More Movies

Don’t completely throw away your dream just because you can’t live it right now. Dive into it in other ways. Watch foreign films, movies about travel and anything you can get your hands on that alleviates the sting -- even if only for 90 minutes.

Go to film festivals of your favorite foreign directors, eat some macaroons and make sangria for your next dinner party. Visit streets, alleys and cafés in your city that remind you of another place. Fill your life with everything foreign and exciting, and it will lessen the sting of staying still.

Be Proactive

Take on some extra jobs, find some quick money-making ventures (excluding prostitution and drug dealing, of course) or sell some of your stuff for cash. Babysit those kids in your building instead of going out, donate some blood, do some street performing.

There are millions of opportunities to make some extra cash and your desire will fuel you to take on three or four extra jobs. This is the time when you must prove to yourself how much you really care.

Stop Going Out

Making more money isn’t enough. You must also start saving money. If you really care about something, then you will make the necessary sacrifices for it.

Don’t go shopping for the next six months, make your dinner on Friday night instead of going out and buy your own liquor instead of going to the bars. Ten dollars for a whiskey ginger can buy you half a bottle of Jack Daniels and uninterrupted silence. Think about it.

Be Ruthless

Work a deal out with your parents. Find people to stay with instead of getting a hotel. Date a pilot. Do whatever you need to do to get to your dreams, even if it means being ruthless.

Don’t let the daunting idea of the “impossible” stop you. The only person to blame when you can't get what you want is yourself. You have the necessary resources in front of you and there’s no shame in using them.

Plan Ahead

Start figuring out airfare prices now. Identify which routes are cheapest and what cities are most exciting. Do research on the best weather in the best months and currencies with the furthest reach.

Talk to your travel agent. Borrow brochures and videos of countries you never thought about before. Spend your days planning out every detail so when you’ve finally saved up enough money, you can leave without a second thought.


Talking to your friends and family about old trips taken and memories passed will hurt the way nostalgia always does: in a good way. Let the photos, stories and feelings of trips past remind you of the reason you can’t wait to get away again.

Take out some of those old souvenirs and give them life again. Reminiscing about the best memories of your life will help pass the time until it’s time to create more.

Make Necessary Purchases

You can add excitement to your unplanned trip in everyday shopping experiences. When you go out, buy things that you want to wear on your dream trips.

Pick out the clothes that you imagine yourself sporting in France and Italy. Find a winter coat that will look great when you finally take that trip to Russia. Buy that scarf in case you go to the mosques of Istanbul. Hey, you never know where you might end up and it gives purpose to your shopping.

Expand Acquaintances

If you have friends who've traveled, come from abroad or are just enthusiasts of foreign films, start hanging out with them more.

Talk about the countries you'd like to go, towns you've never been and fantasies you've imagined in each place. Like talking to a shrink, it helps when you talk to other people about how you're feeling. It turns your pain into an exciting conversation.

Photo via We Heart It