With graduation looming at the end of your upcoming senior year, you have big plans. Instead of strolling off the stage with your diploma and marching straight into a cubicle, you’re going to hit the road on a multi-month (maybe multi-year?) trek of exploration and discovery around the world. You want to do this while you are young and physically able to climb mountains, crawl through ruins, discover obscure mysterious islands and endure rough and tumble night buses, and for this, we applaud you.
Far too many people wait until retirement when their health has failed them, leaving them unable to fulfill all the dreams that they had put off for countless decades. One reality of travel that is constant, no matter how slim your budget, is that you need to have sufficient money to travel for any length of time.
Economy class fares cost the same for all of us, so in this final year of school, you need to acquire the eye of the tiger when it comes to saving cash from whatever job you have (if you don’t, start looking).
The following five tips will show you how to save money for traveling in no time, allowing you to get to the fun part of travel: planning out all your amazing adventures!
1. Stop Eating Out
Bear in mind that this doesn’t mean to stop eating: we all need adequate nutrition to survive. What this tip does prescribe is this: no more lunches at Chipotle, midnight pizza runs, or hungover breakfasts at your local sports bar. Look up some beginner recipes and start making food for yourself. Start off simple, then branch out to more complex meals. Soon, you will be eating better than ever, while spending considerably less dough than you were before. Talk about a win-win proposition!
2. Wave Goodbye to Your Cable Company
With abundant free entertainment on Youtube, Vimeo and Reddit, and cost-effective options on Netflix, Hulu and iTunes, why are you still shoveling your cash into your cable company’s furnace for the sake of a few measly channels? Endure the 30 minute phone call you’ve been dreading and cut the cord tomorrow, and watch as all that wasted capital begins piling up in your account instead of padding the wallet of some greedy CEO.
3. Cut Back on Drinking (and when you must, do it at home)
While going dry would have a dramatically positive effect on your finances, we realize that the college experience is often drenched in booze. So instead of cutting out the alcohol altogether, go out once per week maximum instead of the multiple nights per week that you are doing now. If you normally go out once per week, then take alternating weekends off from the bottle. Band together with potential travel companions and find fun, non-alcoholic things to do on those days to make adherence easier for everybody.
On weeks when you do drink, opt to stay home and avoid the expense of cover charges, marked-up alcohol prices and expensive cab fares. Instead, have your friends over to your house, and host the party there instead!
4. Seek Out Freelance Work
With all that free time between classes (trust us, you’ll be looking back at this surplus time fondly when you enter the real world), you likely have time to find a second job, or failing that, a freelance gig on the side. Got a way with words? Become a freelance writer. Skilled in the art of editing/manipulating photos? Flog your Photoshop wizardry to the people of the internet in return for monetary compensation. $200 here, $600 there … it all adds up fast.
5. With a Month Left to Go, Sell Everything that Won’t Fit in Your Backpack
With your plane tickets booked and your preliminary plans getting you excited, one last thing you can do to top off the pile of gold in your vault is to sell off all your stuff. Furniture, trinkets, gadgets, kitchen ware … anything that doesn’t fit in your backpack, or will have a practical use on the road – GONE. Sentimental items should be boxed and stored at your parent’s house or at the home of a trusted friend, but all that other stuff? Liquidate it into sweet, sweet spending cash!
*Image via Shutterstock