After checking the time on my phone, I suddenly realized the date. It has officially been six months since I boarded a plane from Sydney, Australia and headed out into the big wide world for my twelve-month adventure!
Little did it occur to me over the past few months, how fast time has just flown (literally) by! I mean one minute I’m in Africa, the next I’m in ANTARCTICA! Followed by South America and Central America, Then BAM! It’s been six months and I only have another six to go… I mean if time truly does “fly by” then that means in no time what so ever I will be boarding a flight back home to a life filled with emails, scraping by with paychecks, and surrounded by a 9-5 job! Now don’t get me wrong! I loved my job working in the engineering industry. Its sturdy, a good income and extremely rewarding, but travelling seems like such a better idea! So much more fulfilling, and exciting! And it seems just way to soon to be going home!
I guess it comes down to reality. The reality is, I have a budget (Shock- horror!) yes its true, I actually have an extremely tight budget of $20US a day to spend (bedsides accommodation which is normally around the $30-50US mark) activities, transport and extras are often covered in this as well.
Now I’ve been getting an awful lot of requests lately asking how much it costs to travel the world, and even though I’m extremely private and don’t like people knowing my spending habits/budgets I think its only fair to let you on, on a few secrets. There just a few things I want you to know first!
First off, I never went to university, I don’t have a degree, and for whatever reason, I just happened for fall into an extremely lucky situation where I was offered a full time job as a hydraulic and fire draftsperson in an engineering industry at the age of only 17.
I finished school and got my HSC (in Australia this is our certificate of completion for school before collage/university starts) and trust me even though I was being trained on the job, and attending Tafe (which is a cheaper/lower form of university) as I was doing my four year traineeship,and earning a good starting wage I was far from happy. I spent almost two years in this traineeship surrounded by qualified professionals, doing the dirty work like photocopying, scanning, emailing and faxing everything for everyone, I can assure you I wanted to give up almost every single day and spend most of my time crying in the bathroom and trying to read positive quotes on success and how to put up with it. I was so over it, and no matter how much money the engineering industry paid, I wanted out.
This is why, when I was 19 years old I decided to power through my Tafe course, finishing 18 months ahead of the scheduled finish date, got my certificate and dropped out of my traineeship. I wanted a real job (not to be seen as a trainee that knows nothing) and this is when I started job hunting. It was in February 2014 that I found an amazing job with the perfect company, surrounded by wonderful people, and for the first time in years finally felt like I was respected, and trained up and given the right jobs to work on.
As the months went on, my friends started finishing there degrees, and often went travelling during there long semester breaks. Europe, Africa, Asia, the list went on and on! This is when I began to see that, yes I may have been given an amazing opportunity to get a head start in my career, but I wasn’t really done with growing up yet. This is when I decided to take a plunge of fate and plan a trip around the world!
Over the next two years I researched places, found great destinations and different locations, I made a plan, stuck to it and saved so hard, I was living off $30 a week! I decided I wanted to further my education and started a certificate in Project management, and as the months wore on I stuck my head down, studied hard and finished the certificate six months prior to the finish date. I then had only six months left to go, before my scheduled fly out date of which I spent endless hours researching for great deals and discounts!
So I guess, now you have an idea of my life before travel, I’m now going to let you know how I planned a trip around the world at the age of 21.
First off, I made a budget, it doesn’t matter how much you earn, how much you own/ are in dept, or how much you plan to spend. The key is to make a budget you know is possible and stick to it!
The next step is to know where you want to go. If your like me, having a plan not only allows you to keep track of your spending, but also allows you to stick to your budget, and still see and do all the things you want to see and do around the world!
After you have your destinations, and budget planned. Start looking for deals! This is the most time consuming, but defiantly the most rewarding! It took me almost 6 months to get prices knocked off between 60-80% of the starting prices! The trick is to be persistent, not to give in and keep moving from one company to the next until you find a deal your happy with! I had three travel agents at one time, and even though I’m sure they hate my guts, I managed to compare them between each other and someone always beat the price for me.
I guess a few things to consider when bargain hunting is to make sure you have the funds available and ready to go! Most travel companies will beat the price, but want you to pay then and there! Another tip is to remember to do your research before going in to get your desired price, flights are normally hard to beat the prices on, but things like tours are easy as, and just require a bit of research, you can almost always get at least 30% off the tour price, and if you cant get that, then move on, its not worth the time or money!
Once you have planned your trip and booked most of what you want to see/do and where you want to go, you can now start looking at flights! ALWAYS BOOK YOUR FLIGHTS LAST! (unless you are offered a crazy good deal!) I always booked my flights last due to me changing my mind finding better deals else where, and generally because once flights are booked, you can almost never get your money back if something happens! There’s a little trick I like to call the Internet! The Internet is AMAZING to book flights! Just go to a website (Sky scanner is AMAZING) and when you find a cheap flight, call up your local agent and they will 99% of the time beat the price if you are willing to pay them then and there! This is great, because almost always the travel agents will rip you off, and you can often find the flights online for a third of their asking price, and then they will still be happy to beat the prices you find.
Now when I actually comes down to the trip, make sure you keep to your budget! Yes this may mean not the nicest hotels and bad flights, but if you can spend less money on where you sleep for the night and how you get there, then I can assure you, you can experience and see/do everything you have always dreamed of! To me where I sleep and how I get there doesn’t bother me! Sometimes it’s nice to indulge, but reality is, if your travelling half way around the world, why spend so much on getting there, and were you sleep? Spend the money on the activities, the location, food and culture!
For now I hope this little bit of advice can help you see travelling doesn’t have to be expensive, and yet still be extremely rewarding!
After my realization this morning, not only did I discover I will now be able to keep travelling because I have stuck to my tight budget, but I have also realized how easy it is to travel the world with the limits we can apply to ourselves and our dreams.
Just remember, its not about the money, money is the smallest part of travelling if you let it be! Stick to your budget, have back up plans and just go with the flow!