I work full-time without any travel involved, so I make it a point to fuel my passion for exploration during my free time—weekends, extended weekends, and my annual four weeks of leave. While it’s not realistic to claim that everyone can match my weekend travel frequency, I aim to share insights into my lifestyle for those looking to travel more with a full-time job.

Scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef (Cairns)

How do I afford to travel more often?

1. I work full-time

That’s how I afford to travel almost every weekend—because I earn money during the week. It wouldn’t be honest not to mention it. If I had no money in my bank account or if I was stressed about paying bills, I wouldn’t be able to travel as much. It’s as simple as that.

Sailing Brittany Saint Goustan - Indomptable
Sailing in Brittany (France, Saint Goustan)

2. I prioritise travelling in my budget and lifestyle

I used to meticulously track every dollar I spent while repaying my student loan and still aspiring to travel extensively. Although I no longer need to micromanage my expenses, I believe having a budget is valuable for prioritising how and on what to spend money. By recording all your expenditures over a few months, you can better understand your spending patterns and identify areas where you can save.

To highlight how I manage my budget differently to travel more, I compared my lifestyle with others around me, pinpointing differences that allow me to allocate more funds for travel. Here are a few examples of things you might consider adjusting in your budget to allow you to travel more often. Keep in mind that these references are based on our situation (living in Brisbane, Australia), and costs may vary in other locations:

  • Consider downsizing your living space and finding second-hand furniture through platforms like Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree. Save: $400/month
  • Think twice about buying new clothes or shoes or new items; cutting back on shopping may save you $50/month effortlessly.
  • Optimise your mobile phone plan, turn on Wi-Fi when possible, and explore tariffs from low-cost providers. In Australia, I use Vaya and pay less than $25/month. Save: $15/month
  • Revise your grocery shopping habits, buying products when they’re cheaper (sometimes in bulk) rather than when you need them and using rewards programs (I get $10 reward nearly monthly at Woolworths). Save: $30/month
  • Transform your daily coffee routine into a less frequent treat. Some instant coffees aren’t that bad and can be rather cheap if you stock up when they’re on sale. Save: $20/month
  • Opt for sober nights out with cost-effective alternatives like Lemon Lime and Bitter or juice. Save: $50/month
  • Cut down on eating out for lunch, which is not only healthier but can be as enjoyable as fast food. Save: $100/month
  • Reevaluate the necessity of a gym membership; consider free alternatives like running (which is fun to be outdoor and explore new places around home) and bodyweight exercises. Save: $60/month
  • Choose walking or public transport over cabs. Save: $20/month
  • Invite your friends over with a BYO for your Sunday brunch, or organise a picnic in the park. Save: $25/month
  • Consider embracing a more natural appearance, cutting down on expenses for hairdressers, aestheticians, and cosmetics. Save: $100/month
  • Thinking of adopting a pet? I understand; I’d love to have a furry friend too. But if your goal is to travel more, it may not be the right time to adopt a pet. Pets require care during your absence, impacting both your schedule and budget. Consider postponing pet adoption if your goal is to travel more frequently.

By making minor adjustments to your lifestyle, you could potentially free up an additional budget of over $500 per month for your travel adventures! For more insights on items you can cut from your expenses to save money for travel, explore this article from another travel blogger.

Carlo Sandblow Rainbow Beach Paragliding
Paragliding in Rainbow Beach

3. I don’t (always) spend a lot of money when travelling

Fortunately, I’m drawn more to the outdoors than luxury and comfort, making hiking one of my favourite and cost-free activities. Additionally, having a good quality tent and car that doubles as a sleeping space allows me to enjoy camping, further reducing accommodation expenses and making it easier to travel more often.

For those interested in saving money and exploring the possibility of sleeping in their vehicles during travels, I recommend checking out this article on the best equipment to transform your car for a road trip.

Transform car into mini van - raining

Sometimes, my weekend travels end up costing less than if I stayed at home and went out with friends.

The key to keeping expenses in check is exploring your own region. While it might not sound glamorous, the trick is to view your familiar surroundings with a fresh perspective—put on your tourist shoes or glasses. Uncover unique places that are likely just a car or train ride away. Read blogs, engage with locals, visit tourist information centres, and plan excursions in your own backyard. I personally seek out activities within a 3 or 4-hour radius from home, maintaining a list for planning future long weekends easily.

Responsible travel tip: Opt for a hybrid or electric car, or choose a vehicle with low fuel consumption (5L/100km) over an SUV or 4WD. This not only benefits the environment but also proves more cost-effective in the long run. Additionally, we’ve adopted eco-driving techniques to further reduce our fuel consumption.

I’m fortunate to live abroad in Australia, in South East Queensland, where there’s an abundance of places to explore and a lovely climate almost all year round. However, it’s essential to stop assuming that the grass is always greener elsewhere. Each day, I discover from fellow travellers about intriguing places in France where I could have spent a weekend or even a day. It makes me regret not exploring more within my own country!

Nevertheless, I must confess that I don’t always stick to budget-friendly travel. Occasionally, I indulge in a stay at a luxurious hotel or a special dining experience. Moreover, my passion for scuba diving is a pricey hobby. The key is to find the right balance with your available budget!

4. I look for cheap flights

Responsible travel tip: As I’ve become more aware of my carbon footprint, I’ve significantly cut down on flights. While avoiding air travel isn’t always practical in Australia due to limited train connections, I consistently explore alternatives before booking a flight. Opting for car travel, even if more tiring, is my go-to choice when possible. I regularly avoid flying for short trips, choosing closer destinations or extended stays. To assess and offset my carbon footprint, I use tools like a carbon footprint calculator and Atmosfair. Prioritising emission reduction is crucial, but offsetting is still an option when complete reduction isn’t feasible—it’s better than doing nothing at all about your emissions.

I maintain a bucket list of dream destinations, acknowledging that patience is key to finding good deals, and I’ll often need to wait for a better time or adjust my budget. To navigate flight prices efficiently, Kayak proves to be an excellent tool, especially when you have flexible dates. The Hopper app is another handy resource; by inputting your itinerary and dates, you receive notifications for price drops (yay!) or rises (oops…). Subscribing to newsletters from local budget airlines can also keep you informed of their promotions.

Often, I choose my destination based on flight prices. It can be quite thrilling not to choose a destination in the first place. Skyscanner simplifies this approach; by entering your date, departure location, and selecting “Everywhere” as your destination, it presents the cheapest destinations available for your preferred dates.

5. I find the time to travel more often

Man on a beach with a kayak in Hervey Bay (Round Island)
Round Island (kayaking in Hervey Bay)

Getting the cash for travel is just one part; finding the time is the other challenge. When you’re working full-time, time is often the trickiest part of the travel puzzle. Since your job funds your adventures, it’s all about finding the right balance to be able to travel more often. I always kept this in mind when exploring my career options. Down in Australia, we’ve got a decent four weeks of paid leave per year, but compared to France, it’s not that much. So I’m grateful I found a job that lets me tweak my schedule a bit—grabbing a few long weekends or stretching out holidays without burning through my annual leave.

What about you? What are your tips to afford to travel often? Leave a comment below; I’d love to get more ideas! 

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Andy T

    Hi Eloise, some good tips here!

    I’ve travelled most of my life long-term, and now I’ve settled in south-east Queensland with my family. I really miss travel and I’m definitely looking to get away as much as possible! I agree with your tips – you’ve got to want it bad enough! Thanks as this was a good reminder.

    Unfortunately, I got railroaded into having a dog, which makes things more difficult. Saying that, I love the little guy and I may make a similar post for dog lovers in the region.

    Cheers and glad you’re enjoying the travels!

  2. Jack

    I have always loved traveling, and when I was younger, I would often save my money so that I could travel during the weekends. Now that I am an adult, I still prefer to travel during the weekends, but I have to do something extra to bring in the extra money. I have several jobs, but my main sources of income are from online ads and doing online surveys. I spend a few hours every week on each of these tasks, and each job brings in around $50-$100 per month.

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