It’s funny how many people assume I must have come into some unexpected money when they see me travelling. People that don’t speak to me on a day to day basis all of a sudden think it is okay to send messages asking me how I afford to travel. I don’t know if these questions are out of genuine curiosity, but when it comes from someone who wouldn’t normally give you the time of day, you have to question their motive. Jealousy perhaps? I don’t know. I mean, I never ask people how they afford to go out and drink every weekend, live in nice houses or drive nice cars. I get questions like:
Unfortunately the answer to all of those questions is NO (I mean unfortunately to the first two – I wouldn’t rob a bank if the opportunity arose!). Sometimes, if it’s not a question it will be a little “innocent” comment, such as:
Which really means, any of the above questions. So for those of you that do wonder how I manage to fund all my travels here is a quick run down:
First of all, and most importantly, I work and I work hard. My job in the holiday letting industry means I am flat out all summer, often seven days a week. This is where the majority of my money comes from. I still work when I am travelling sometimes by answering emails that come in and remotely managing the cleaning team.
I save money where I can. If I pick up cash from a customer for a job I will put it away and forget I have it. And I mean, totally forget. The only time I would touch it is if I have an emergency – the car breaks down, the dog needs the vets, or I want to spend it on travelling. If I have a spare €10 or €20 left at the end of the week I’ll put this away too.
I go without!
I am very selective about what I spend my money on. I don’t buy new clothes very often. I can’t remember when I last bought any jewellery. I haven’t bought toilet roll or shampoo and conditioner in about two years. No it’s ok, I’m not dirty, honest, it’s one of the perks of my job, hoarding the leftovers from holiday guests. The last two mobile phones I have bought have been second hand. I try to be careful with my money. If I really want something I will buy it, but I always try and spend responsibly and make sure whatever it is I’m buying is more important to me than travelling.
I'm a grumpy cow!
I’m not a complete misery but I don’t feel the need to go out all the time and be surrounded by people. I like my own company and I hate hangovers. I recognise I have no self control when I go out (as my last two hangovers prove) so I pick and choose very carefully when I do go out. I have a great bunch of friends who know I’m pretty unreliable when it comes to socialising, but when I do go out I enjoy it and have a great time. But going out every weekend? Nope. I probably save €240 a month by not going out like I used to.
My car is shit!
I sold my 4X4 because it was costing me a fortune in fuel and servicing. I bought a really old, pretty shitty car in its place. But it gets me around, most of the time, and when I come out of the house in the morning to see another dent or scratch in it (people round here just cannot park to save their lives) I don’t care so much because I don’t have much invested in it. I put some money from selling my old car away into my “forget about it” fund.
I starve myself!
Not really. Have you seen me?! However, I am a full time vegetarian and part time vegan. Not buying meat means I can eat well for not a lot of money. I also very rarely buy alcohol to drink at home. Maybe a bottle of wine once every few months! I am not a big drinker at home.
I quit the smokes!
I gave up smoking, almost a year ago now. That was hard because smoking in Spain is quite cheap – €5 a packet of Marlboro Gold. I smoked on average 4 packets a week, more if I was going out. But as well as the money aspect I was worrying about the health aspect. I have saved about €1000 so far. That has paid for a lot of the travelling this year.
I slum it!
Ok, I wouldn’t say no to staying in an upmarket 5 star hotel and hopping in taxis when I want to get from A to B. But, this costs a load of money! I spend a lot of time researching accommodation, and I mean A LOT of time. I don’t really like spending more than €50 a night so I work around that. Some trips I can do it for less, some trips it has to be more, that’s just the way it is. As long as it is clean and safe then that is all I need. I have even stayed in two hostels (*shock*) – though the unsociable me books private rooms (haven’t dared try a dorm, probably never will). Although the hostel in Stockholm was not cheap, in fact it almost made my eyes water but that’s because I picked a really bad time to go! The point I am trying to make is that I do not splurge on accommodation.
Cheap flights do exist!
Skyscanner is my best pal when it comes to flights. I spend a lot of time researching flights. I will take a multi trip journey to get to the same destination if it works out cheaper. I will pick unsociable (suits me, ha) times to get cheaper flights. I will also plan whole trips around dates I can get cheap flights. The flight is probably the first thing I sort out and everything else falls into place around that. I always fly economy and I have never flown with a high ticket airline – I’m thinking Emirates and the like. I don’t use taxis – I will get buses, trams, metros and use my legs.
I blag freebies!
I’ve been to Vegas twice and have had four nights in hotels for free. I had to pay resort fees for those nights but the rooms themselves were free. I did this by being a slave to a game where you can earn rewards, some of them being free hotel rooms. I also racked up free meals, a free Cirque Du Soleil ticket, free gambling money and free entrance to Madame Tussauds. All for spending some time on a game.
So there you go, this is what I do to save money and afford my travels.
There is no magic money tree I’m afraid. Pennies don’t rain down on me from heaven and I haven’t won the lottery – or robbed a bank, just so we’re clear!
I simply prioritise travel over anything else, well – 90% of the time, because that is what is important to me right now. I am a firm believer in if you want something badly enough you will find a way to make it happen.
Maybe you have other ways of making the pennies add up for you?
Drop a line in the comments if you have any other ideas.