Finding more time and money for travel is a common New Year’s goal. Aside from flexible employment schedules, extended travel possibilities are largely a function of location independence or financial means. While the first two can take some time to make happen, carving out extra travel cash can begin pretty much immediately. Here are some simple ways to get started on any budget.
Liquidate: If you’re like most working professionals and have been on your own for a time, you likely have a number of extra belongings you are no longer using. Sell them. Everything from clothing to extra furniture is fair game, along with gently used electronics, books and small home appliances such as extra irons, slow cookers and that unused salsa maker you got for a wedding gift. Jewellery that no longer suits your tastes can also be a great source of untapped cash, particularly if the market price on gold, silver or platinum rises dramatically.
Food: It’s no secret that the grocery budget is one of the most flexible household line items. This makes it a great place to find extra cash to put into your travel savings account. Homemade casseroles and brown bag work lunches may be two of the first things that come to mind, but there are certainly other ways to save some pennies. Incorporating more frozen fruits and veggies to offset the cost of fresh produce, freezing leftover tomato sauce and butternut squash in ice cube trays to use later in soups, and making time for a weekly batch of power bars from scratch are all options as well.
Reduce: Most people have a number of recurring monthly expenses which represent untapped savings potential. The specifics will be different for everybody, and some people will choose to simply reduce those expenses rather than eliminate them completely. Still, the monthly savings from even minor cutbacks on things such as cable, coffee shop visits, monthly manicures and dry cleaning can be significant. Other areas of potential savings include scheduling daily on and off times for your hot water heater, opting for less expensive bath and hair products, giving up your landline and keeping a frosty eye on those weekend bar tabs.
Location: Working out of the country with paid housing allows the leveraging of your new location to take trips to regional destinations close to your new home. When I lived in Kuwait, my vacations to see the temples of Egypt and the archaeological wonders of Lebanon cost a fraction of what I would have paid to visit those places from the United States. Ditto with flying to the islands of Bali and Oahu from my beach apartment on Guam. Common overseas gigs include teaching, government contract work and staff positions at resorts.
Bottom line? Finding funds for travel can be as simple as exercising a little discipline and ingenuity. If seeing more of the world is one of your New Year’s resolutions this year, there’s no need to wait before setting aside the cash to achieve your goal. – Tribune News Service/Myscha Theriault