Stop Spending Money and Fund Your Trip
Simple Ways to Fund Your Trip – Before You Leave
Create a Realistic and Non-Negotiable Budget
A budget is critical to any travel. We have found that having a daily budget is more realistic. It is amazing how fast money can flow from your wallet when you aren’t paying attention. Be sure to add expenses like taxi’s, gas, Uber or Lyft rides, coffee, small snacks and alcohol. These expenses can add up very quickly! Here is a link several free Budget Spreadsheets for you to try.
Get Rid of Stuff You Don’t Need
When we made the decision to quit our jobs and sail from San Diego to Mexico, Marquesas, the Tuamotus, French Polynesia and Hawaii, we sold as much as we could (including my car) to help purchase our boat and fund our trip.
If you are serious about travel, be prepared to sell your stuff on Craigslist, eBay or at garage sales. Clean out all the junk that you no longer need. We ask ourselves this important question, is this stuff or thing, a NEED or a WANT? Once you have a pile of stuff to sell, go through everything else and find some more. We have made more than $800 in one garage sale. That $800 was enough to purchase a plane ticket!
You can even give away items to non-profits like the Goodwill and get tax credits at the end of the year. If nothing else, it costs less to store, which saves you money.
Save Your Change
Saving your change won’t fund your trip, but it will definitely help provide some extra cash for side trips. Start months in advance and stick with it! Save all the change you get back at the grocery store and other budgeted purchases. When your jar is full, take it to a CoinStar type machine (be careful of fees) or your bank/credit union (no fees at our credit union) and cash in prior to your trip! This small way of saving can help pay for tickets to the theater, a rock climbing adventure or many nights of amazing dinners.
A Green Idea – Recycling Cans and Bottles
This idea sounds silly but when you purchase some canned or bottled products, you are paying money upfront for the bottles or cans, so all you are doing is getting your money back! Plus, you’re recycling! Not a huge money maker, but we have made over $100 by collecting our cans. Ask friends and family if they want to donate their recyclables to your cause. Melissa collects cans from her mom!
Save Holiday, Refund and/or Gift Money
If you get money/checks (or even birthday money) from family or work during the holidays, put it towards your travel budget. There is nothing like a travel gift to yourself. If you can, put this type of money into an “adventure” savings account, that is separate from your typical checking or savings account.
After Holiday Sales
There are great sales to be had after the holidays. You can usually find things at 50% to 70% off retail. We rarely purchase anything at retail prices.
Stop Spending $5 A Day and Save Serious Money
It’s amazing how fast $5 turns into real cash. Instead of going to a coffee house every day, make your own. Stop eating out for lunch and make an effort to just brown bag it. If you save just $5 a day, that equals $1,825 a year which is easily the price for two plane tickets. Again, if you are serious about your future adventures, these spending diets will be easy.
Make it a goal to spend 50% less on expenses like salon services, memberships, magazine subscriptions, movie night, going out to dinner, phone and internet services, clothing, gifts, personal products and even groceries. Keep track of ALL your receipts and add them to a excel list, so you can review them once a month. It is not easy to spend less but it IS POSSIBLE if you want to travel bad enough.
Shop Sustainable at Thrift Stores
You can easily find and purchase the items needed for your trip at thrift stores like Goodwill. Melissa has a knack for finding barely used and brand name items at thrift stores. Post a list on Facebook of gently used items you need for your trip and you will be surprised at the outpouring of friendship. This is a great way to acquire inexpensive items like hiking gear, jackets, boots, sweaters and the like. Why pay $75 dollars for a brand name jacket when you can get the same jacket for $5 at a thrift store. Plus, it is the ultimate recycling. Many friends and family members have items just taking up space and would love to donate to your adventure travel.
Are you making a movie, teaching or doing something that is intriguing to others? Crowdfunding is a great new way to get people to contribute to your adventure. Encouraging others help support your cause, not only brings in extra money, but also generates more passion for your project. You need to generate a following long before you make the pitch for people to fund your project. Here are a few of the legitimate websites:
You will need a creative blog, YouTube channel or website to make money as a website affiliate. What is a website affiliate? An affiliate is a company that allows you to post a link or image on your webpage that promotes their business. These affiliates offer your readers some sort of discount and you make money every time one of your readers buys something from their website via their ad/link on your website. Since the internet is working 24/7, you could be making money at 3AM, while you’re sleeping. Also, you get paid in perpetuity (forever) as long as the link is valid. Although you need a certain amount of computer knowledge to make this work, it’s worth investing your time and research to learn something new that could earn you money.
Home-Based Business Tax Credits
There are many opportunities to have a small home-based business that may require you to travel and write off meals and travel expenses for tax purposes.
You must maintain a log book of your travel, expenses (including destination and purpose of visit) and contacts seen. Be sure to know the tax laws for your state. Many certified public accountants are a great resource.
Transition to a Boat or RV and Save
During the last two years, we have saved bundles of cash by living on our boat and in our RV. Just to give you a transparent view at how we did this, here is a quick breakdown of our boat costs while living in San Diego, California.
Living in one of the most prestigious marinas in all of San Diego, an inexpensive monthly ($684) boat slip rental got us:
- A beautiful slip (the closest harbor to the Pacific Ocean)
- Shore power – small additional cost (about $15 a month)
- Free wifi
- Free water
- Free health club and spa membership
- Free parking close to downtown
- Free restrooms with showers
- Free use of the resort pool/jacuzzi
- Discounts at the bar/restuarant
- Discounts for our friends/family at the resort, if they wanted to visit but not stay on the boat
This is where we lived while transitioning from our boat to an RV.
All of this and we were only about 10 minutes from downtown, where the average home is over a million dollars. We also had an ocean view every day!
While living and traveling around the USA and Canada in our RV, we saved money by not having the typical home expenses like rent, gardener, water, sewer, trash, repairs, taxes and more. Although we still had expenses, they were about half, compared to living in a typical home. We were able to stay free in many places in Alaska and around the US by using APPs like Boondockers Welcome, Harvest Hosts, Thousand Trails, Passport America and our favorite, Allstays.
A TEACHING MOMENT: Utilize Supply and Demand to Make Money on the Fly
Before I went to Australia (in the 90’s), I found out what was trending and popular. Everyone agreed that Ray Ban sunglasses were popular and in demand. At that time, Ray Ban’s were not easy to find in Australia. I purchased $1,000 worth of sunglasses from a local surf shop with plans to make money in Australia. As I was walking out the store, I had second thoughts, gave the sunglasses back and got my money back.
When I got to Australia, people literally stopped me on the streets and asked if they could buy the clothes and off my back. A typical comment sounded like this, “Hey mate, do you know you’re wearing a thousand dollar outfit? That shirt is sick!” They were just normal clothes for a Californian, but to Australians, it was a whole new look.
I could have easily sold $1,000 worth of sunglasses and profited very nicely. Of course, you need to check with customs to see if you can “import” high dollar items. There may also be state and federal laws with regards to this type of transaction, but the point is, be creative.
Check out our Next Blog Post Planning Your Trip – Passports, Visas and More