One of the biggest questions I get is, how do I get the money to travel?
Without going into the nitty gritty details, some are lead to believe that I have a high-rolling job, that my parents are wealthy and pay my freight, or that I get paid to travel.
If only it were that easy.
One of the biggest myths that stand between some people and traveling is that they just don’t have the money for it, that they must be wealthy in order to get up and go. There’s no mistake that you will need some funds but consider the following:
Do you have cable TV at home? A 2014 study says that the average household with cable television pays $123/month- and growing. That’s almost $1,500 annually that you’re spending on TV!
What about banking and ATM fees? The average fee spent on using a cash machine is $4.35 every time you use one that is not through your own bank. $12 a month is the average most Americans pay in banking fees (i.e., maintenance, check writing privileges.)
Do you see a pattern here? Being able to save money for travel is largely about priorities. Skip that happy hour with co-workers once a week? $50. Switch to basic cable? Over $100 more in your pocket. They are small behavioral changes but they sure do add up. You can have the latest iPhone and the weekly manicure and bottomless mimosas every weekend or you can hold off and save for that dream trip.
Now, what to do with that money you’re now saving….and you are saving…right?
Create a separate savings account with the sole purpose of traveling. You can do this in less than an hour at your bank. What, you ask, do you do if money is burning a hole in your pocket? My advice to you is out of sight, out of mind. If it’s easy to get to and it’s in your wallet, avoiding the temptation is harder.
The solution: use an online bank.
I have personally had experience with HSBC, Ally, and Charles Schwabb. Because you aren’t using a brick and mortar bank the good news is that the interest rate will probably be a bit higher. You can fund the account by sending in a check with the amount you want deposited, or quicker and easier, you can link the account to your regular savings or
checking account and simply wire the money to fund the new one.
The added bonus with Schwabb is that you can use ATMs internationally and you will pay zilch in fees, saving you a small fortune once abroad. If saving is a real issue for you, you can even opt to have your bank automatically deduct a set amount per paycheck to be transferred to your travel account.
But how do you make your money stretch? And how do you make it last once on your dream trip? Ah, you’ll just have to stay tuned for part two.