Everyone says they want to travel ‘someday’, but how does a struggling twenty-something with limited resources turn ‘someday’ into today?
Three friends and I recently booked a trip to the UK for this winter. None of us are super financially stable or have a ton of leave from work but we’re figuring it out as we go along. Below are a few ways that I have found to help me make my dreams of traveling ‘someday’ actually happen.
Don’t be afraid
Talking about traveling is easy. Booking the flight is a lot more nerve-wracking. I am an over-thinker and do not do well with big spontaneous trips (I can do day trips to the beach, 9 days in Europe is a little out of my spontaneity comfort zone). But if you have somewhere that you’ve always wanted to go, don’t let the fact that you don’t have it all figured out hold you back. Make the decision to go and you will figure out the rest as you go along.
Do your research
There is a lot to consider when traveling. If you do your research ahead of time you are likely to save a lot money and a lot of time that could be used for enjoying your time abroad.
Consider your different travel options (car, train, plane etc.) and choose the option that makes the most sense for you, both financially and time-wise.
Look into different housing options. If you are traveling in Europe there are hostels, AirBnBs, and hotels. Depending on the area you are staying in and how many people you are traveling with one may work better than another for your trip.
Look into the different costs that will come up while you are traveling. This includes public transportation, renting a car, food, activities, souvenirs, etc.
It is always better to do too much research than not enough. You do not want to get to another country and have no idea what you are doing.
Once you have done research on your trip you will have a better idea of what tourist activities you would like to do while traveling.
You (most likely) will not be able to do all that you want to do so you will need to prioritize what activities/sights are most important to you.
I am a planner so in order for me to fully enjoy my trip I need to have some kind of a schedule. This doesn’t mean having every second mapped out but it’s good to have a general idea of what activities you want to do each day and where you plan on going (if traveling to multiple areas). This gives you more time to enjoy yourself rather than worrying about what you will do next.
This is probably the hardest part of making travel actually happen. The cost of traveling can be daunting.
After doing your research and planning your trip you will have a better idea of the overall cost of your trip and what you need to do to prepare.
Look at the plan for your trip and create a budget for spending while you are away (it is a good idea to leave yourself a little cushion in case something comes up, or you just really need to buy that mug). You will have to make choices on what you are willing to splurge on and where you will make cuts (for example: we opted for the cheaper flight with no extras (including entertainment) so we can do more while in the UK).
If you are like me, your funds are somewhat limited and that means that saving up ahead of time is a must. Pay attention to your spending prior to traveling and create a plan to save a certain amount each month to go into your trip fund.
Budgeting is one of the most important things you will do when funding your own travel adventures; but don’t make so many cuts that you don’t truly enjoy yourself. It’s better to spend the extra $20.00 and make an incredible memory than sit at the hotel alone while your friends go have fun.
Just Do It
As Nike would say, Just Do It. If you want to travel, what better time to do so than in your early twenties? This is the time when you have the most opportunity with the least responsibility. Don’t just say you want to travel ‘someday’ because it may never happen. Book the flight, reserve the AirBnB, do your research, plan the trip, and make memories.