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Why You Can’t Afford to Travel

There is a reason you can’t afford to travel…well, more like a bunch of reasons.  We meet very, very, few people who, “Don’t want to travel.”  If you don’t travel you probably fall into one of two categories:

  1. You feel like you don’t have the money to travel
  2. You don’t think you have the time to travel

We will address both of these issues and hopefully give you both the confidence and the knowledge to make the trip of your dreams happen.

There is literally no reason in the world why you shouldn’t be able to take AT LEAST one vacation per year.  Of course, not every vacation has to be a 3 or 4 country gallivant around Europe.  The point is this:  if you avoid the mistakes below, you should be able to travel at your leisure.  There is no simple formula to making travel happen, but these pieces should help. After all, avoiding these points were partially how we made our dream of traveling the world a reality.

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You don’t leverage the power of the US Dollar

Look at the Euro and the weakness it’s exhibited for the last year. It’s sat around $1.10 for most of the year and has dropped to about $1.05.  Compare this to the rates we were paying in Europe in 2011 or even back in 2007-2008 and you’re going to feel as if you almost have purchasing power.  Head to Australia and you’ll notice the AUD is about $.75.  Looking at more exotic currencies like the Indonesian Rupiah and you’ll notice an exchange rate of around 14,000 to 1.

So maybe consider Southeast Asia instead of London.  Your dollar will go much farther.

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You eat out every meal

Every time you eat out you’re spending at least 200% more than you need to on a meal.  And let’s be real, you don’t need that beer or that soda with the meal either.  Let’s say you cook breakfast at home but then you have 2 meals out each day and also make a trip to Starbucks….you’re spending, at a minimum, $25 a day on food.  Now, if you cooked all your meals at home, not only would you spend less than half of that, but you would also be healthier!  Of course, we eat out.  But we do our best to cook a majority of our meals at home.  For numbers sake, let’s say you save $10 a day on food by cooking one meal at home…that’s $3650 a year.  In traveler language- that’s a round trip flight to anywhere you want to go in the world, 2 weeks of accommodation, and all other travel expenses.

You don’t leverage travel resources

Maybe you’re booking flights that are too expensive and not leveraging awesome sites like Skyscanner?  Maybe you’re spending far too much on hotels and aren’t looking into an awesome alternative:  Airbnb.  Any time you’re looking to book a flight, a train ticket, or a tour and every time you’re looking to purchase travel insurance, head over to the Couple’s Coordinates Resources to find a number of travel resources to make your travel more affordable and more enjoyable.

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You don’t use credit card miles

If you have a decent or a good credit score and you’re not leveraging some form of credit card miles, you need to start.  We realize not everyone will qualify for the best travel cards on the market, but there are generally always options that will give you anything from cash back to airline miles and hotel points.  Every time we spend money we make money.

Our two favorite cards right now are the Chase Sapphire (Often acclaimed as the best travel card on the market, which currently has an incredible 50k mile bonus) and the Gold Delta AMEX (which currently has a 30k bonus sign up).

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You’re not aware that you can find free accommodation

Free?  Yes, that’s correct!  Tools like CouchSurfing are so great if you want to make new friends and stay somewhere for free.  Also check out MindMyHouse for awesome opportunities to home sit for people around the world.

It might seem a bit out of the ordinary and perhaps a bit unorthodox to sleep on a “stranger’s” couch.  However, CouchSurfing has bios, information, and reviews on potential hosts so that you can vet out who you’d like to stay with.

If you’re a solo female traveler, you can stay with a female host.  Maybe you’re traveling as a couple?  Stay with another couple.

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You refuse to take vacation

Americans are seriously workaholics.  It’s disgusting.  If you’re working 40 hours a week, odds are you’re not the most productive or “dedicated” person on your team.  60-80 is more accurate for most Americans looking to climb the corporate ladder.  Most companies offer some form of vacation package for full time employees.  We have had packages ranging from 8 paid days a year to 20 paid days a year.  And you know what?  We used every hour of every day.  So many Americans are afraid to take vacation time.  This idea is absolutely baffling.  Bottom line – if you have vacation time, take it.  You’ll be excited when you return from a 2-week vacation and have a nice paycheck waiting for you.  Not to mention, you will feel refreshed, recharged, and ultimately more productive.

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You haven’t considered working internationally

Teach English in another country, work a remote job, work for a cruise liner, or even become a flight attendant.  The options for finding a job either in another country or a job that allows you to travel are virtually endless.

Check out Teach for America or WWOOF for some awesome opportunities to work abroad.  Or maybe even consider the Peace Corps?  If you’re willing to get a bit adventurous you will have plenty of options.  We have had a number of friends who have been part of each of the aforementioned programs and each one absolutely loved the experience.  These are life changing experiences that can also help change the lives of people you work with abroad.

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Starbucks

You drink Starbucks every day…or twice a day.  That $1500+ a year you’re blowing on Starbucks is a flight to anywhere in the world.  We used to be guilty of this and can admittedly say that it was a massive waste of money.

So what did we do?  We purchased an espresso maker for $80 and our favorite Italian espresso (usually about $5/can) and have successfully gotten our monthly coffee bill down from about $200/month to $20 a month.  We are literally saving about $2,160 a year just on coffee!

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Alcohol

We have had our days of heavy drinking but they are pretty much behind us.  Sure, there are occasions where we drink and have a good time.  However, we don’t particularly drink too often.  If you do enjoy drinking just pre-game.  Buy alcohol/wine/beer and drink a bit at home before you go out.  Wouldn’t you rather spend $10-20 instead of $50 or 100?

At the end of the day if you can cut out alcohol entirely, you’ll be better off.  Not only is alcohol a huge detriment to health when consumed more than moderately, but it is of course expensive.

You see…it isn’t that you “can’t” afford to travel, but rather, you choose to spend your money frivolously on shit you don’t need. If you feel like you can’t afford to travel, but you’re guilty of one or more of the above, then listen up.

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