I have been on the road now for 6 months and I love meeting new people. You know, by now it is my favourite thing. However one thing that still bothers me a little is the question that I get asked every now and then, “how can you afford to travel for so long? – you are so lucky!”
This is an interesting question, and I know it comes (hopefully) from a good place and a desire to do the same. Long-term travel is my favourite thing in the world and it is something that I have worked hard to be able to do. But in reflecting on my trip, and the comments of people that I have met who are also doing the same thing, I have realised that there are a few myths – and I would love to be able to help dispel them.
Myth 1: Travel is Expensive
This is not always true. Of course if you stay in 5 star accommodation every night and eat at the most expensive restaurants you will spend a lot of money, but it is entirely possible to travel on less than $30USD per day. It all depends where. In parts of Asia, South America, and even in Europe you can find cheap accommodation.
In Asia I have stayed in places for less than $5 a night, food is cheap (noodle soup for $1.50) in Europe you can cook your own food to save money and there are many many free tourist attractions and things to do. Don’t get fooled into thinking that you need to spend money to have fun. I could write extensively on all of the things I have done, and had fun doing, that haven’t cost me a cent.
Myth 2: Everyone’s Priorities are the Same
You don’t need lots of money to be able to travel, but everyone has different priorities. For me, I can live on around $30/per day in the right countries – in Western (or tourist) Europe that cost is of course a little higher. If you go out and spend $20,000 on a brand new car then it is fair to say you are probably spending a pretty sizeable travel budget to do so. If you decide to buy the newest iPhone or designer clothes every month it is the same story. A big TV, new sound system, always having the latest gadgets, my list goes on. There is plenty of money to travel by foregoing a few of life’s little luxuries.
In order to travel I have put my plans to buy a house well and truly on hold. I would much rather spend my hard earned cash travelling, but I know I am perhaps in a very small group of people who think along these lines.
As for the luck – I know that I am lucky. I was born in a safe country, and travel is quite easy for me with an Australian passport – but it can also be quite easy for you too. I have made my own luck, worked hard and travelled smart, and it’s not close to over yet. So remember the next time you are thinking, “I wish I could travel for months at a time,” just remember, you absolutely can! You just need to set the goals, be smart with your saving, smarter with your spending, and start and chase your dreams!