How to afford a Round the World trip

Money will always be a sensitive subject. Many people have asked me how we have afforded our travels, including colleagues who were much more senior, earning around twice what I did. So I thought I would de-mystify this a bit. This blog should perhaps be called “how we did it”, rather than “how to do it”. The simple answer is we earnt money, we saved money, and we didn’t spend money. And crucially, we decided to spend our money on travel.

1. Earning Money

Simply, my boyfriend and I both had jobs, paying an average salary, rising to a reasonably good salary as we worked there longer.

2. Saving Money

I saved money from birthdays and Christmases since I was a child and did not spend a penny (except for £15 I spent on a denim jacket when I was 13). As soon as I had a job I saved as much as I could afford to save.

3. Not spending money

This is probably the crucial thing that we do differently from our friends. We are quite frugal by nature, so living simply isn’t difficult for us. We don’t own a house, we don’t own a car, we don’t have any children, we don’t have any pets, we very rarely buy things like books, CDs or DVDs, we don’t buy clothes or shoes unless we need them, and we very rarely drink. Obviously there are the odd exceptions as we sometimes treat ourselves and have a meal in a restaurant, but compared to most people, we don’t spend a lot.

Besides not spending money, the money we do spend is quite carefully spent… there are lots of discount vouchers around so if we are eating in a restaurant we would obviously not go for an expensive one, and we would see if there are any 2-4-1 vouchers available. We also go for the offers when shopping in the supermarket, but who doesn’t?!

That probably sounds exceptionally boring, but it’s not a set of rules – it’s not that we’re not allowed to spend money on these things, it’s that we just don’t. So while our friends own a house, run two cars and have a baby and a dog, we live like students and have no chance of getting a mortgage. But our money is ours to play with. And our “life choice” is to travel as much as possible.

4. Deciding to spend money on Travel

This is also a crucial factor. Some people have no problems saving money and not spending it, but once they have some money they end up upgrading the car or similar. One friend said he wanted to go to New York but just couldn’t bring himself to spend £400 each on return flights. Whereas I would spend that for the experience of New York. I have spent more money than I care to remember on travel, but I don’t regret a penny (apart from maybe the Sydney Harbour Bridge 😉 ) I just think life is short and you don’t know how much time you’ve got left, and my priority is to travel while I can. My boyfriend is of the same mindset. This choice is not for everyone, but each to their own – my friend has a car and I have to get the bus! 🙂

So I hope this has somewhat explained the mystique of how we have been able to afford to travel. I’m not suggesting that anyone else should do this – in fact I imagine that most financial advisers would class this as “very stupid”. But I’m just explaining what we did in order to travel as much as we could 🙂

New Zealand beachesNext blog: How to pack for a Round the World trip

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