If you’ve ever thought of throwing caution to the wind, quitting your job and traveling the world, think again. Travel is costly, no matter how budget-minded you are. This doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t travel, but it does mean that it’s also a good idea to keep your day job as you work towards a lifestyle that can afford more travel.
Starting this transition combines being frugal with actively looking for a career path that’s a little more flexible. Here are a few ways to start this journey:
- Reconsider your transportation. Do you own a lemon of a car that’s burying you in debt from mechanic bills? Is the monthly car payment way too high? You might want to consider leasing a vehicle that’s more affordable and gives you peace of mind knowing you aren’t in charge of the mechanic bills.
- Find out about telecommute options. Increasingly, more and more employers are offering telecommuting options for employees. Many jobs don’t actually require you to be at an office in-person, and this situation is often beneficial to the employer—less employees in the office means less overhead. Working from home isn’t for everyone, but if it works with your style and allows you to travel, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
- Start looking for flex jobs. If telecommuting isn’t an option in your current role, it’s time to start looking for jobs that are more flexible. Doing this quietly while maintaining your current position can help you avoid a sudden lack of funds and security. Of course, this will also depend on your career, but in many cases, at least partial virtual work may be an option.
- Downsize your home. Housing eats up a huge amount of anyone’s budget, and it’s time to reconsider your lifestyle. Sometimes renting out a home you own while you rent a more affordable apartment is a great way to maintain your equity while also saving. If you rent, adding a roommate or moving to a more affordable unit can help you save. For many westerners, downsizing is a struggle because it doesn’t align with perceived “needs.” However, it’s often possible.
- Consolidate your debt. If you have debt, it’s critical to get it under control immediately. There are programs that offer consolidation and the ability to have some debt forgiven and/or reducing it to a zero interest rate. These come with conditions, such as not being able to open new credit until it’s paid, but it can be a useful tool to get debts and budgets under control.
- Start traveling now. There’s no reason to wait to travel. Driving to destinations is a great way to save, especially if you split the cost with travel mates. There are scores of destinations relatively close that you likely haven’t seen, so traveling doesn’t need to be an all-or-nothing activity. You can save for a foreign escape while still seeing the sites locally.
A fun daydream might be quitting your job to travel the world, but for most people, it’s not very realistic. These techniques can help you work towards your travel dreams without putting everything else at risk.