I have a full-time job that does not include travelling. Hence, to fulfil my passion, I travel as much as I can in my free time: during weekends, long weekends and my four weeks of holiday per year.
I don’t want to write in this article that anyone could travel as much as I do during weekends; that would be a lie. My aim is more to give feedback on my lifestyle and choices for those who arrived here with the envy to increase the number of trips they do. I hope you’ll find some tips to help you travel more!
How do I afford to travel every weekend?
1. I work full-time
That’s obvious, but I could not have answered the question honestly without starting with that. I can afford to travel almost every weekend because I earn money during the week. If I had no money in my bank account or if I was stressed about how to pay my bills, I’d be a lot more stuck at home.
2. I prioritise travelling in my budget
Although I don’t count every single dollar I spend anymore (I used to do so when I had my student loan to pay back but still wanted to travel a lot), I think having a budget helps to prioritise how/on what to spend money.
I compare my lifestyle with many people around me to find differences that allow me to have a higher travel budget.
If your goal is to prioritise travelling in your life, there are a few things in your habits you may want to change to increase your travel budget:
- Do you need a flat that big? Or new equipment for your flat? – with Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree, it is now effortless to find second-hand equipment and furniture. Save: $100/month
- Do you really need this new shirt? Or these new shoes? – I don’t like shopping, so that’s not an effort for me to save in this category! Save: $50/month
- Can you cut your mobile phone bill to less than $20/month? – We often pay much more for our phone than what we use. Turn on the wi-fi when possible and check the tariffs of low-cost providers (in Australia, I use Vaya). Save: $15/month
- How do you do your grocery shopping? – Plan less (or more) to buy products when they are cheaper, not when you want (or need) them. Save: $30/month
- Can you transform your daily morning coffee into a less frequent treat? Save: $20/month
- What about a sober night out? Lemon Lime and Bitter or a juice both taste good, are better for your health and cost less than alcohol… Save: $50/month
- Can you avoid eating lunch out? – In addition to being healthier, it can taste as good as going to a fast-food restaurant! – Save: $100/month
- Do you need your gym membership? Consider running instead. It is free, you can explore new places, and it can be fun to find spots outside for your workout. You can buy a couple of cheap dumbells and do body weight exercises too. Save: $60/month
- Don’t call the cab! Can you walk or catch public transport instead? Save: $20/month
- Sunday brunch? Why not organising it at home or transforming it into a simple picnic in a park? Save: $25/month
- Can you be naturally beautiful? No hairdresser, no aesthetician, very little make-up or cosmetics… these are not needed anyway during the craziest adventures! 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 timing to adopt a pet. It limits the destinations you can visit or you’ll have to find someone to look after your pet while you’re away. And I’m not even talking about the budget to have a pet.
With small changes to your lifestyle, there may be an additional budget of more than $500/month that you could allocate to travelling!
3. I don’t (always) spend a lot of money when travelling
I am lucky not to be attracted by luxury and comfort but more by the outdoors! Hence, one of my favourite activities is free: I love hiking! I also have a car in which I can sleep, and I enjoy camping too. Not spending money on accommodation, or choosing cheap accommodation options, make it easier to travel a lot.
f you want to save money and sleep in your vehicle while you travel, check out this article about the best equipment to transform your car for a road trip.
I sometimes spend less money while travelling for the weekend than if I stayed at home and went out with friends.
The best tip not to spend too much is to visit your region. That may not seem too exciting, and it does not sound like travelling to some of us. My tip is to forget that’s where you live: put your tourist shoes or glasses to have a different point of view on your region. The truth is that there are most probably unusual places that you can reach by car or train from where you live. Read blogs, talk to people, go to the nearest tourist information and plan an excursion in your backyard! I always look for things to do up to 3 or 4 hours away from home, and keep a list for planning our next long weekend.
Responsible travel tip: We chose a car with low fuel consumption (5L/100km) rather than an SUV or 4WD. Not only is it better for the environment, but it’s also cheaper in the long term. We have also developed eco-driving techniques to lower our fuel consumption.
I am fortunate in South East Queensland; we really have plenty to explore. But stop thinking that it’s always greener on the other side: every day I learn from fellow travellers about an exciting place in France where I could have spent a weekend or even a day – and I regret I did not wander more in my own country!
However, I have to admit that I don’t always travel cheap: I sometimes like a treat in a nice hotel or a delicious restaurant, and I love scuba diving – which is a costly activity. I keep track of these types of activities, to ensure they are seen as a treat and something special. I also love to explore further than my region, which then involves flying and make the trip immediately much more expensive – but it is also possible to find cheap flights.
4. I look for cheap flights
Responsible travel tip: Over the years, I have become more aware of my carbon footprint and have dramatically reduced my number of flights. I haven’t totally stopped flying (it’s hard when you’re in Australia; train connections are not developed for passengers). But I always think about alternatives before booking a flight. If I can reach a destination by car, even if it is more tiring, I now always go with this option. I avoid flying for a short trip and look for a closer destination or the opportunity to stay for longer.
You can use this tool to calculate your carbon footprint. Atmosfair is another great tool to calculate your flight’s CO₂ footprint and offset your carbon emissions. Reducing carbon emissions should be a priority; it is always better than offsetting. But offsetting is better than doing nothing at all about your emissions.
I have a bucket list of destinations where I want to go to. I am patient as I know that for some of them I will need to wait for a better time… or make a hole in my budget. Kayak is an excellent tool to check flight prices when you have a flexible date. With the Hopper app, you can fill in your itinerary and dates and receive notifications if there is a price drop (yay!) or a price rise (oops…). It can also be a good idea to subscribe to the local budget airlines newsletter to be informed of their promotions.
I also often pick the destination according to the flight price. It’s nothing too hard to do, and it’s exciting not to choose a place in the first place. Skyscanner is ideal for this: you can enter your date, your departure home and “Everywhere” as a destination. The cheapest destinations for your availabilities will appear first.
5. I find the time
Travel is not only about finding the money, but it is also about finding the time. With a full-time job, time is often the biggest obstacle to travelling. Learn more in this other article on how you can travel a lot with a full-time job.
What about you? What are your tips to afford to travel often? Leave a comment; I’d love to get additional ideas!
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