Welcome to Part II of my ‘Travel with Peppy’ series! This is the one where I talk about something really important, and something that will definitely help you when you decide you want to travel. If you’re getting out for the first time, bookmark this. If you’ve been around, read up anyway, You just might find something that’ll help 🙂
In this one, I talk MONEY. I talk about it in 3 parts – making money, using money (including budgeting for travel), and spending money (yes, there is a difference in the last two).
Did you guys read the previous post on how I travel? It answers a lot of questions that so many of you asked me, so I hope you gave it a read 🙂
(If you haven’t, here you go – Travel With Peppy – Part I)
Back to our focus for today. Let’s begin with –
This has been the most popular question by far – how does one make money to travel? How do I make money with travel?
Here’s the answer, guys. I’ve done my MBA from one of India’s most prestigious B-schools, after which I landed a job at a top multinational bank. I worked hard for 3.5 years. I had a salary coming in every month, which I would utilise smartly (more on that soon). When I decided to quit my job, I didn’t have an income coming in from travel. I still don’t. Travel doesn’t pay me. I use my savings. Occasionally, I work with brands and create content for them, so I either get paid in travel, or an amount that is nowhere close to what I was making when I was working.
So for all those who are under the illusion that I’m getting paid enough to travel the world, now you know what it’s actually like 🙂
I traveled when I had a job as well. I made full use of all my vacation days. I looked for long weekends and planned my trips around those, so I’d have to take minimal leave from work.
I only started traveling when I started earning. I come from a middle-class background, and my sister and I were taught the importance of financial independence right from when we were kids. This stuck with me. I have never asked my parents for money to travel, nor will I ever. I funded my own travels. I got out only when I could afford to make my dreams happen.
You NEED MONEY TO TRAVEL. If you’re just starting out, here are a few tips –
- If you’re a student, finish studying, get a job, get some money, and travel. Till then, explore your own city, and places nearby. You’ll be surprised by how much magic you’ll find in your own backyard.
- If you have a job and are earning, save up. Prioritise your expenses. Use your money to travel, if that is a priority. I never partied. I shopped twice, maybe thrice a year. I made sure I minimised expenses on everything that wasn’t as important to me as travel. It’s all up to you, really.
- If you don’t have a job, or don’t want one, find something you’re good at and monetise it. It could be anything. Can you teach? Can you draw? Click photos? Write? Find your strength, and use it.
You can’t travel without money, and getting paid to travel takes A LOT of time to happen. There is no overnight fix.
Now that we’ve covered the ‘making money’ part, let’s move on to –
What do you do with the money you earn? Spend it all? On what? When was the last time you really looked at your finances?
Open your account and card statements and figure that out first. I know where my money used to go, and that really helped me optimise my spending. If you want to spend on travel (which is so, so expensive), you’ll need to prioritise it. I’m not going to give you financial advice, but I will say this much –
Do you save? Or do you spend without any record of where your money is going? Leaving your money lying in your bank account may not be the smartest thing to do, and spending it all isn’t either. Please, please learn to manage your finances. Lock away some in long-term savings. Grow your money. Put some in savings plans that you can still access if needed. Leave some liquid cash as per your estimation of monthly requirements. And try to minimise those monthly requirements, because that’s where you can actually move your money to travel.
Basically, PRIORITISE. Give your money a long, hard look and see where you can cut your costs, and move those funds to your travel savings. It’s simple. You can actually plan a trip, budget it, and work towards saving that much.
That brings me to –
Budgeting for travel
How, and WHY would one go through the process of budgeting for travel?
Why, is simply because I’d like to know how much a certain trip will set me back by, and if there is anything I can do to reduce that cost. It’s also something that I use as a learning for the next time I plan. What could I have been smarter about? What would’ve cost me less had I booked on a different date? Was there an alternate to a certain expense, that would’ve cost me lesser?
How do I budget?
I make an Excel sheet, lololol 😀 Some habits die hard, and this is something I’m bringing back from my MBA days and my corporate gig. I create broad heads for my expenses – flights, stay, internal travel, visa, food, tours and tickets, miscellaneous. And then I add a buffer, usually about 5-10% depending on which part of the world I’m going to and how expensive or otherwise it is, and that gives me my budget right there. Easy, right?
Tip: When budgeting for travel, always use the upper limit. If you’re traveling abroad, that’ll leave room for currency fluctuation.
On to the next!
I’m going to talk about where your disposable, or liquid money goes. Do you know? I use the words ‘where money goes’, because quite often have I heard people exclaim ‘Dude, I don’t know where my money has gone!’ We make it sound like it has a life of its own and walks out the window. I’ve said it too, because I would never really keep track of my expenses initially, till my credit card bill at the end of the month would drop a bomb on me. It happened a couple of times, and then I decided I had to do something about it.
I would estimate my monthly expenses, see where I could reduce, and save the rest. I lived a relatively simple life, as compared to my peers (relatively, because hey, I’m human and I have my indulgences). Beer on the weekend? Nope. Partying on Friday night? Smoking up? Nah. Lunch/dinner out every other day? Maybe once a week or in 15 days. Did I need the latest phone in the market? Or a smartwatch? I have a good phone that I’m using since over two years. I don’t feel the need to upgrade every single time a new one is launched. I’ve been wearing the same clothes for the last 4 years (check out my Instagram if you don’t believe me. Those shorts are 4 years old), with minimal additions to my wardrobe every now and then.
From your monthly expenses, see what you absolutely need, and what you can do without. Penny saved is penny earned, y’guys! I would really go the extra mile to save, but you know what? Now that I left my job, I realise it’s possible to live really frugally, EVEN MORE than I was when I was working corporate. I’m so much smarter with my money now, and it’s not even hard. It’s all in your hands, really. The minute you commit yourself to something, you’ll find yourself working towards achieving it. It could be anything. In this case, it’s travel.
This is my two cents on money management when it comes to travel. We all have our way of doing things, and I have shared mine. You might choose to take different decisions, make different choices, heck, your priorities and mine might be completely different!
The only reason I’m writing out these detailed posts is because I WANT EVERYONE TO EXPERIENCE THE JOY OF TRAVEL. It changed me as a person, and today, I can’t even believe how much I have grown, nor can I believe I’m walking this path. I could keep mum about my life. I don’t have to talk about any of this. But I’d like to help. No one helped me, and I didn’t really have many people to go to. I did it all by myself, and I learnt a ton of stuff from it. So if I can help even one of you, in ANY way, it makes me feel amazing.
So tell me, did any of this help you? Would you apply anything from here into your life? Drop a comment and let me know 🙂