There is a major misconception that flying overseas is expensive and a luxury. But more recently, flying to an overseas destination can be just as cheap as flying across the United States. New airlines, and countries economic growth have changed this. You have to be willing to patience and not have specific dates set in mind. I know with certain jobs that may be hard. But that is why you do research in advance. I look at plane tickets multiple times a month for months in advance because you never know what you will find. For example, flights from Philadelphia, PA to Barcelona, Spain for as low as $430. Rather go to Asia? Flights to Japan were just $550. But that isn’t what this post is about. I just wanted to get you to get your mind ready to see how inexpensive it actually is.
Saving is probably one of the hardest parts about any trip. We never view things in the long term, only the short term. And When I saw long term I am not talking about far future and retirement saving. I just mean 6 months to a year saving. If you can save yourself just $50 a paycheck for a year, that is $1300(I’m going by getting paid every two weeks). Obviously, you save at your own rate and what you can afford per month. But now look at the flight to Barcelona. That is $870 for lodging, food, transportation and whatever else you may need.
Budgeting yourself is probably the best and hardest way to save for your trip. No one ever wants to budget. You have to set aside time to look at your finances and decide where to spend and where to cut back. It’s never enjoyable. I like using Dave Ramsey’s Budgeting Forms. Sometimes you forget to budget certain things and this form has most items you will need. The “other” section is perfect to add a monthly travel budget into. This is a good way to see it all in front of you and know how much you can afford to save a month.
Using cash is another great way to save yourself even more money. It will keep you from excessive spending. When it comes to going out to eat, if you have $50 a month to go out to eat, you’ll be more picky about when and where you go to get food and when the cash is gone, it’s gone you won’t keep spending. Cutting things out works well too. You don’t always need a soda when you stop at the gas station. $1 or $2 adds up quickly. It takes discipline and new habits. But if you are determined to go on a trip, you’ll make it work for yourself.
Lastly, this goes along with using cash. Take the amount you want to save per month for your trip out of your account. When I say that, I mean use an ATM to get your amount out and put it in a marked envelope or a jar. Somewhere you can see it. See the progress and know why you are not be buying the things you use to. The big benefit about doing this is that if you don’t spend all your cash that month you can always add it to your “Trip Saving Jar” to save a little more money. This is just a basic idea that has worked for me over the years. But cutting things out is will be worth it when you’re wandering around the Swiss Alps drinking hot chocolate and wondering why you haven’t done this sooner.