The concept of a ‘Travel Lifestyle’ can be quite broad. And it should be – you deserve to fill in the blanks here and you deserve to create a lifestyle around your travel passion.
In extreme cases, travelers sell everything they own, pack their bags and leave what they used to call home indefinitely. But what if you’re not this kind of person? Not to worry, there’s many more options to change your lifestyle and become more of the traveler you want to be.
“The secret to living the life of your dreams is to start living the life of your dreams today, in every little way you possibly can.”
- Mike Dooley
Whatever you do, realize that all those hours spent working to buy stuff you don’t really need is a price paid for wanting to live the lifestyle you chose. With these 5 tips you should be able to create your ‘Travel Lifestyle’:
1. Define your necessities
Go through your stuff and determine what you need to be a happy person. How many clothes do you have? Do you need more or do you think this is enough for now? Does your computer serve it’s purpose? How about your TV set and your mobile phone? Only when you know that what you have is enough, you’ll be able to realize you don’t need to buy more, bigger, better.
If travel is the thing you love to do, focus on being able to travel. Knowing you’re gonna do the one thing you really want makes it so much easier to say ‘no’ to all the small things you spend your money on on a daily base, but that don’t – by far – compare to that traveling experience.
2. Save up for travel
To really be able to save money, you should start by creating a document containing all your expenses: rent or mortgage, electrical bills, insurance, subscriptions, groceries, basically everything you spend on a monthly basis. For daily spendings I personally use the Trail Wallet app for iPhone – created by fellow travelers to track spendings on the road but also very useful for every day use if you ask me.
Now you know where your money goes, see whether you can save on something. Notice only 75% of your income is needed to live your life? Then where’s the other 25% going? Track down those spendings and minimize them. Set aside the amount of money you won’t be needing this month right after you receive your paycheck, and make this into a habit every month. If it’s not in your check account, you can’t spend it.
3. Cut work hours
If your financial situation allows you to do this, consider working less. And of course spend the time you just earned well. You might be able to keep working your regular hours and save up the hours you’re working but not getting paid for. Then once (or twice, or three times…) a year, take a couple weeks off and travel.
If you’re able to cut your work hours but your boss won’t allow for saving up those days, consider extending your weekend (by not working Mondays or Fridays) and travel locally during those weekends. Go surfing, mountain biking, hiking, road tripping, you name it.
4. Realize life doesn’t stop when working life starts
After thinking about cutting work hours, please also realize once your working life starts, it’s not too late to travel.
Many are taught life is supposed to happen in a specific order, and traveling seems to fit in somewhere after high school or college, before building a career. In my opinion, the whole growing up and building career thing is highly overestimated, but that’s another story…
What it comes down to is if you wish to travel, you should allow yourself to travel. Maybe you can think of ways to finance your travels by working on the road (teaching English, picking fruit, become a diving instructor, there’s many ways to earn some money to support yourself). Or maybe you can think of a way to generate an income online, so that you’ll be able to work whenever you have your laptop and an internet connection (by building websites, becoming a travel writer, …). The possibilities are limitless.
5. Find your travel priorities
Do you travel alone, with a partner, with friends? Do you like adventure, do you want to meet new people, are you ready to step out of your comfort zone? Do you even know the edges of your comfort zone?
By knowing your personal travel priorities and no-go’s, planning that next trip becomes much easier. If you’re eager to meet other travelers, look for popular travel countries. If you don’t mind stepping out of your comfort zone from time to time, it’s easier to book that flight and see where your travels take you. If you wish to travel cheap, finding a non-western country to travel to pays off.
Just start by thinking of what your travels should look like, and you will know what to do and where to go in no time!