The only way I can travel more is if I put travel on the top of my priority list; which I have done. Prioritizing travel to me means sacrifice and hard work. I’ll have to gift myself fewer bags, lesser shoes, not many clothes and hardly any hair. It will most certainly beat out a few happy hours every week. Prioritizing travel means that I will cook more often at home rather than eating out. It also means migrating funds that I’m spending on other things and spending it on travel. Generally, when it comes to my finances, I should prioritize travel.
I have previously discussed how to save money for your next trip; click here to catch up on that.
Now, I’ll be sharing with you the few strategic things I will be doing this year to achieve my travel goals.
Keep My Day Job
Getting money is very important to be able to travel. How else would you pay for your trips? With monkey nails? Money is at the center of it all and the more money I have, the more places I can go!
So this year, I will be using my professional skills to generate a major source of income that will enable me to plan my travels.
Last year, I thought about quitting my day job to focus on travelling. I later realized that it wasn’t necessary. Or wise. There are smart ways to go about it; after all, I need the money to fund my trips. I left my former job because the work didn’t allow me to travel as much as I wanted (the shifts were highly irregular and duty days could be changed without any prior notice). I got a better job in a place that accommodates my trips and I’m not letting it go!
I absolutely love my profession and I enjoy what I do. The fixed salary gives me a direct figure that helps me project how to save toward my trips. This gives me a solid foundation for the future while also allowing me to travel at the pace that I currently do. I take advantage of public holidays. I break my annual leave into weeks and also go for professional devilment courses in other places which can be permitted/sponsored by my employer.
Bottom line, keeping my day job is a good decision to help me travel better.
Monetize My Passion and Skills
This year I’m going to be improving on the skills that can give me more money to travel. One of my major skills is my photographic skills. I’m a sucker for perfect pictures and I have the eye for the right angle. This is one reason why I took my time and money to learn photography. Becoming a travel photographer is one skill I will be putting into action this year.
Another passion is my blog. My blog has allowed me to travel to some places for free and giving me some monetary value. I will be putting in more work to get more result from it.
I’ve been focused on getting remote jobs that give me the opportunity to travel for projects and take an extra two days to explore the city on my own terms. I’ve been working extra hard on my side hustle so that I can make enough money to explore the world.
Having multiple streams of income is my dream, so I’ve been working on several ways to get more money on top of what I already earn on my day job. So I can then channel these funds towards travel.
Having Passive Income
I have chosen to add any additional income that can help me finance my travels. This year, I told myself my money must work for me. I’m working on ways to make money from investments and business deals. Like taking advantage of the investment plans on my Cowrywise app. This will help me reach my saving goals quicker. I understand that little drops of water make a mighty ocean so any little way I can invest my money and get returns, I do it. Any extra money I get goes into my general travel saving account.
I’ve been working on several ways to have passive income like trying to get a car for Uber or Taxify. With time, I’m hoping to be able to generate an income passively from affiliated links and discount counts (example from Airbnb and other travel sites).
Created a Financial Budget For My Life
I took my financial game very serious this year. Special thanks to my book reading community. After I decided to make travelling an integral part of my life, I started learning how to spend better to afford to travel.
I started by tracking my spending and learning exactly where my money is going. This allowed me to be in a better position to create a budget for myself and save more money. I started spending money on only essential things like food; rent, light bills, gas, groceries and most importantly travel.
By making travel a priority, my financial planning had to reflect it. So far, the most important thing I’ve learnt this year is how to make my money work for me.
Questions I always ask myself: What can I cut back on? Where do I want to put more of my money? (Spoiler alert: TRAVEL!!!!).
Saved, Save, Saving
Once, I did a financial assessment and I figured what I needed to cut down on and add to my savings. I knew how much I needed to be putting aside for travel. I opened a separate savings account with Cowrywise and automated my savings. This was the easiest way for me to have an automatic savings plan. Travelling became significantly cheaper.
My savings account generates interest over a period of time and it’s the best bet! I previously had a separate account with a bank in Nigeria but I became frustrated over the monthly charges. I realized my money kept decreasing over time and I was forced to pull out all my money. Thank God Cowrywise came to the rescue. It gave me more value for my money.
I resulted in using Cowrywise because:
- There are no monthly fees/charges
- It has high-yield interest rates (might be little here and there but they do add up over a period of time).
- I can’t withdraw from the money until the maturity date.
- It’s automated my savings for me.
I have a well-detailed post on how I save up for my trips where I talked about the steps to take and introduced my 6-month saving plan. click here to read…
I stopped wishing and started doing.
Once I Figured out how much I needed to put away per month towards my dream vacation and start diligently doing it, I was able to open different saving plans on Cowrywise. I have my general travelling savings plan which is a minimum of 10% of my income, and I have plans that are dedicated to particular trips where I save the exact amount that I need for that destination. It’s just amazing!
So far this year, I’ve learnt to let go of things that will hinder travelling from being an integral part of my money. The more I travel, the more I realize that there are so many things I had and that I didn’t need and I had to let go of them. I stopped buying stuff that I want and went after things that I need. Very simple logic!
Practicing minimalism is an aspect I really struggled with because I always like to ‘slay’ but I am getting better every day.
How I practiced minimalism:
- I stopped further purchase of things I already have or do not need.
- I cut down on things that are not necessary.
- Stopped buying Aso Ebi.
- I got rid of things I no longer need.
- Learnt to do some things myself so I won’t have to pay so must for it e.g. I make my own shampoos.
- I use more organic products.
- Eat healthy, stay healthy and exercise more. It helps me cut down on hospital bills.
- I learnt to shop smart. I would rather buy wigs than weaves because it allows me to cut down on routine salon visits.
- I also cut down on make-up products and improved my skincare routine to enhance my natural beauty.
I can go on and on about how being a minimalist has saved me money but the questions I always ask myself are “Do I need this?” “Is this essential to my survival?” “Can I get it in the near future?” After this, I always remember, LESS IS MORE!
I’m Not Afraid to be the Broke Friend
The most important thing I’ve learnt to say this year is “I can’t afford it!” I have learnt to say NO to anything way out of my budget. I don’t have the energy to impress anybody, including my friends. I have my eyes set on my travel goals and I will rather catch flights than feelings.
I enjoy spending time with those close to me but often times our forms of entertainment cost money. I was that friend that usually spends more on others to show them I really care. Now, things have changed. All my friends are now aware that I’m saving to travel. So that means no more exotic dinner dates, birthday gifts or surprise gifts.
Sometimes I offer to drop by at their houses with food and drinks, we will gist and have a nice time. At other times, just going to the movies solves it. I see this as a better and healthy way to have fun, rather than going for exotic dinners. Even when I have the money in my bank account, sometimes it is Ok to say NO.
You should try it too.
Visit Dream Destinations I Can Afford
I want to travel the world but there are places that are top on my list. There are lists of activities and tourist attractions I’m dying to do in particular locations. They have been in my dreams since I was a kid.
One of my ultimate goals is to visit all the 36 states in Nigeria. To be honest, I can’t achieve all my goals and desires at the moment but I can pick them one after the other. One thing I’m doing this year is to go through my list and check for the places I can easily go. I gather ideas from the internet and travel sites to see the budget-friendly locations, then I Write down my research findings and make rough estimates.
This year is not a year for wishy-washy. I want more action and adventure! So I will be picking ONE specific location I think I can afford and be able to go to in the nearest future. Although, I want to go to several places but narrowing the list down to what I can afford, is a lot more realistic.
I Have Stopped Doing Things for the Gram
Over the last few years, social media has become pervasive and changed the way many of us live our lives. Many people now finely curate their social media to share their lives with family and friends, but some spend their time trying to make others envious of seemingly perfect lives. A quote that I love is: “We buy things that we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people that we don’t like.”
Being a minimalist has taught me a lot of things on how my social media can work for me and my mental state. I’ve learnt the difference between value and noise. I’ve learnt to spend time doing what I love rather than what people think is trending. I don’t waste my time trying to impress other people. And I have learnt to collect memories, not things. I won’t visit a place because all the A-list celebrities are visiting, I will only go to places that add value to me. This year, I started doing things for meeeeee!
Collect memories, not things!
Joining Societies That Promote and Allow Me to Travel More
Joining travel societies like VNN has been a stepping stone for me as a traveller. I’ve met people and we have planned trips together to cut down expenses. This year, I will be taking more advantage of such communities and platforms. For example, I recently became a member of all my view; which is a community of travellers where members get to connect, engage, share ideas and make more money to travel.
I was also recently introduced to AIESEC Nigeria. A platform where young volunteers, especially students, can travel for exchange programs in other counties. I intend to join this community too and get all the benefits of it.
Professionally, I will join international professional bodies and associations so that I can go for conferences, develop my professional skills and earn more money to travel. I have plans to work on solving loopholes in my profession that can be filled through travelling to a different location and I am searching for jobs that are international in scope. This way, I would get to travel on my company’s payroll.
With all these in place, I am quite positive that my travel goals will get a very reasonable spike.
“Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do. Now that you know all my plans, the big question is “When will you join me?”