You Can Travel the World Without Breaking the Bank
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Do you have students who want to travel? Many do, but have no idea how to get started. Help them learn how they can go everywhere they want without breaking the bank.
I wrote this piece sitting in a hotel room in Bergen, Norway. We arrived there by train from Oslo, and the views were some of the most spectacular sights I’ve seen in my whole life.
The long trip exhausted my 2-year-old twins — and my husband. While they slept, I snuck into the bathroom to write about why I love seeing the world.
It’s hard to explain, but it’s been this way ever since I took my first international trip to Australia and New Zealand one summer in high school.
Why I Love to Travel
My husband and I both grew up in southern Louisiana, which has an incredible history and culture. But at the same time, most people who live in Louisiana stick to their own kind — and even to the same Cajun recipes. We wanted more for ourselves and for our children.
In college, when I met my now-husband, he had already caught the travel bug. He tried on numerous occasions to go abroad, but never had the opportunity, except for a trip to Mexico with some friends in high school. So he and I went backpacking to Europe together. Then, after we got married, we lived in Grenada for three years. I’m not a millionaire. I still have student loan debt, and I have bills to pay just like everyone else. But traveling is something that we have decided will stay at the top of our list of priorities.
How Can I See So Much of the World?
Well, as I said, the first step is to make it a priority. My husband and I cook most of our meals at home. We have also done without cable for four years.
We don’t buy our children new clothes and we don’t throw birthday parties for our kids. We save our money specifically for traveling, whether it’s going on a weekend trip here in the States or saving for years to go on a big month-long trip like this one to Scandinavia.
We also save credit card points for airline miles. The three main expenses are airfare, food, and lodging. Credit card reward points often take care of our flights.
As far as lodging and food, we keep it simple. In Norway, on our most recent trip, we opted for Airbnb accommodations that would allow us to walk to a neighborhood grocery store and get everything we needed to make nice and cheap meals.
We don’t travel like tourists. We don’t try to see every single museum or every single site. Our philosophy is that we can always travel to the same place again and come back with a new perspective.
We see the high points, and we don’t worry about missing out. We do what we can, and if our kids start crying in a museum halfway through, we don’t push them. Instead, we just leave and try again another day. We try not to feel rushed, and we allow ourselves to immerse in a culture.
How to Make It Work
If you have this perspective when traveling, then there isn’t so much pressure to pay for every single museum pass or try out every single restaurant that people reviewed on TripAdvisor. Instead, it allows you to explore a little, see some of the big sites, and spend time with your family.
If you prioritize traveling and cut back on other parts of your life, you’ll get to travel more and more as time goes on. You can start small by saving $25 or $50 or more a month or by stopping your gym membership or skipping ordering pizza one night and putting the money in your travel fund instead.
Like I said, it’s a priority for us, so we cut back in other areas in order to be able to see the world. Make it a priority; create a plan; and save, save, save. Then soon you could be sitting on a train in Norway and enjoying the scenery — perhaps in the same seats where we sat!