I spent a year traveling the world on $1000 a month. It's normal for people to take a look at my Instagram and assume that I come from money. They assume that I'm traveling on Daddy's dime, whether that be my actual father or a sugar daddy. The reality is that this couldn't be further from the truth. Yes, travel costs money like everything else. However, most people don't realize that travel can be affordable AF. I wasn't sleeping in five-star resorts, but I was traveling the world, and that's all I ever wanted. I spent $1000 per month traveling the world, and here's how I did it.
The travel industry often promotes luxury travel to the masses. As a result, many people believe that you have to spend your entire life's savings on a vacation. As a young girl, I never expected to travel outside of the U.S. It seemed so far out reach since I didn't have a trust fund. After doing research for myself and discovering the true costs of travel, I learned that travel wasn't nearly as expensive as I had initially thought. I realized that travel didn't have to be about all things luxurious and lavish. If I simply wanted to meet people, step outside of my comfort zone, learn languages, and live amongst other cultures, then I could do so on a budget.
I spent two years saving up, as I worked a full time job before I finally took the leap to travel full time for a year. It was the best decision of my life and here's how I made it happen.
Instead of visiting an expensive spot like Iceland, I opted for a more affordable destination, like Colombia. Accommodation, food, and daily activities were significantly cheaper than if I chose places that would surely drain my bank account within a few days. As a result, I was able to stretch my funds further and travel much longer. I was able to have unforgettable experiences for a fraction of the cost.
Hostels might not be your top pick for travel accommodation, but they can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. I've stayed in hostels that have starting rates at three dollars. I paid less than $25 for most of my hostels and Airbnb rentals, which is approximately $750 a month. Instead of paying for an expensive apartment, I used all of that money towards budget accommodation.
Instead of paying for pricey restaurant food, I made an effort to buy fresh fruit from markets and find local hidden gems. I ventured a few streets beyond the touristic area, only to discover that restaurant food was served at half the price. I've eaten street tacos for 50 cents in Mexico, and $1 lunch plates in Peruvian markets. You'll be pleased to find the cheapest, most authentic, and tastiest food when you eat at locally-owned restaurants.
When you're traveling on a budget, you can't do it all. It's important to prioritize the things on your budget. Personally, I found experiences to be at the top of my priority list, so that's what the bulk of my budget went toward. Others might value staying in fancy hotels, tasting all of the food, or drinking cocktails. Choose wisely when you're deciding where you'd like the bulk of your budget to go.
Did you know that some companies and brands will give you a place to stay in exchange for your skills? It's true! There are plenty of hostels, hotels, and travel companies that need your creativity. For example, I volunteered my time in exchange for a free sailing trip from Panama to Colombia (which was valued at $450). I also met plenty of travelers along the way who were volunteering at hostels in exchange for a free bed.
This is a great way to find a purpose during your travels and build a community during your stay. There are a variety of different websites where you can search for unique volunteer jobs around the world.
You'd be surprised how much money you can save with an open mind. You can find unique jobs in remote destinations, ride in the back of school buses, exchange your skills for a place to stay, sleep on a stranger's couch, and accept invitations whenever a family invites you to dinner at their home. How do I know? I've done all of these things. As a result, I saved money and had dynamic experiences across the globe.
If you want to afford travel, you need to get resourceful. There's an abundance of websites that can help you save thousands of dollars during the planning process. You'll need to spend hours researching flight deals, cheap hostels, and budget hacks. Once you arrive to your destination, you'll need to get resourceful if you want to stick to your budget. You'll need to invest a lot of time, but you'll save even more money in the end.