Saving money for your long awaited journey…
Saving money has always been in my mind and those who know me well certainly know this to be very true. Besides, why would anyone want to pay more for the same product or service when you can find it cheaper elsewhere with the same amount of effort!? That would make no sense to me but what do I know, I´m just a traveler trying to share some money saving tips.
Which leads me to my current subject, ¨How to save money while traveling¨. This is a concept that needs to be implemented from the first day the idea of traveling comes to mind. Unless you are closely related to the Rockefellers, the Kennedys or just have loads of cash to burn, money should be a great part of your planning from the start.
The preparation for an extended travel journey requires setting up your life to where it is not becoming a financial burden as the travel continues and times go by. This means getting rid of excess ¨stuff¨, keeping yourself marketable for if and when you decide to come back and re-enter the workforce, reducing or eliminating any open accounts that can lead to a monthly financial drain and delegate your affairs to a trustworthy person or persons who you can depend on to avoid that dreaded emergency trip back home in order to ¨put out the fire¨.
So first let’s go ahead and learn some things that will help you save lots of money in preparation for your extended trip. Later I will post some great ideas on how to actually make money while traveling.
Below is a checklist of tasks that I would recommend anyone prior to leaving an extended travel journey (6 months of longer).
- Sell or give away all your LARGE belongings
I know, it hard to detach yourself from that old dining room set and that couch that happens to be a gift from your late grandmother. Or the coffee table that happened to be the best deal you have ever gotten from that garage sale 3 years ago. We all tend to attach ourselves to everything we own.
Part of the travel mentality is letting go of things that are weighing you down both physically and mentally. And believe me; paying monthly storage fees to store those things are not worth it. You will quickly realize that you will end up paying more than what it would cost to replace everything new once you return (It happened to me…twice!). And that thought in the back of your mind would definitely be a mental drain while you are traveling. Sell everything too large to store in a small space of your friend’s garage. And yes, that includes your car.
Keep only a small amount of personal belongings and valuables in storage while you are gone. This may include a few small and/or medium size boxes that can easily be stored at a friends or relatives’ home without it becoming a burden to them. Items stored should be things that you know will not perish after long term storage. You can always replace what you need when you get back.
- Stay marketable while traveling
I happen to have a California Real Estate Broker´s License and I made sure it was renewed prior to leaving on my extended trip. It is nice to know that you have something to fall back on. It is important to feel a sense of security, you never know if you will ever have to use your “backup plan”
Whatever your career or income producing venture you happen to earn a living from, keep it on the back burner. Are you a teacher, financial adviser, an accountant, a mechanic or whatever? No need to cut your ties entirely. There are plenty of online schools that offer the opportunity to keep up with continuing education requirements to both, keep your credentials current and keep up with the current changes in order keep your skills fresh for if and when you decide to jump back into the workforce.
Taking off on an extended trip is not the end of the word but you do need to do some planning. You might start with a six-month plan in mind and end up doing around the word trip that takes 3+ years to complete. Just like you might start a life long journey of travel and realize it is not for you and end up coming back home only after a few months. It´s really a leap of faith, but until you try you will never know. The fact that you are leaving prepared is in its self a significant part of the puzzle.
- Rid yourself of bills…all bills!
Being that I and am financially conservative, I would highly recommend to pay off all your credit cards prior to leaving on your trip. Remember, I am not talking about a two-week vacation to use your timeshare so that you don´t lose those accumulated weeks. The last thing you need is to add a recurring monthly liability to your extended travel expenses.
I do realize that paying off your house to venture out to the world is highly unreasonable. But definitely, rent it whether you have managed to pay it off or not. You might not produce a positive income after paying a monthly mortgage (if you do have one), taxes, insurance, maintenance and management fees, but in essence, you have eliminated, or at least reduce that monthly expense significantly. Very important, do not skimp on the management fees of your rental. Pay a management company or a trusted friend/relative with EXPERIENCE on property management to handle the management of the property. This way any unexpected issues that come up will be properly handled and not turn into a reason for you trip to be interrupted.
It took me 9 years to finally make the leap after the conception of the idea. Hopefully, with the information you will learn here, including the contributions made by other experienced travelers, you can shorten that time significantly.
Please comment with opinions and ideas on how to prepare for long-term travels. Any comments of suggestions are greatly appreciated!