Everyone who knows me knows that I like to travel. Yet every time I tell someone that I’m planning my next overseas holiday I invariably get one of the following reactions:
- Incredulous: “You’re not going overseas again?!” in the same tone a mother would use on a delinquent child called into the principal’s office for the umpteenth time.
- Jealous: “You must earn a lot more than I do,” or even worse: “Good for you. I, on the other hand, have a mortgage to pay off,” words dripping venom as they try and suppress the urge to shove the travel guide down my throat.
- Wistful: “I will live vicariously through you…” and then continues looking mournful as they half-heartedly ask about places I’ve already been to.
I have the same response to all three these attitudes: it’s all about priorities. Unless you’re living on the breadline or insist on staying in 5-star hotels in Monaco, international travel can be affordable to us mere mortals, as long as it’s something you really want to do. Yes, you will have to save up for it, you will have to occasionally let another luxury pass you by and you might need to settle for a smaller car, but all these considerations are trivial once you’ve been bitten by the travel bug.
So, if the idea of eating homemade sandwiches for lunch every day for the sake of seeing the Mona Lisa’s smile or the sun rise over the pyramids sounds like something you can bear, here are a few tips to help make that holiday happen:
- Decide what you want to do and then plan for it – a week lounging on a beach in Mauritius is very likely to cost just as much as three weeks backpacking through Europe.
- Consider investing in holiday time share (we use RCI) that allows you to swap weeks out on overseas accommodation – this is an affordable and reliable way of finding just the right hotel or resort for your budget and requirements.
- Buy plane tickets from airline websites – almost always cheaper than going through travel agents and usually just as dependable.
- If at all possible, try to pay everything off and save up as much spending money as possible before you go – not having to worry about outstanding debt makes the trip much more enjoyable and allows you to start planning the next one as soon as you return.
- Save, save, save – put your savings aside every month on payday and then live on what’s left of your salary.
- Don’t get discouraged – if you simply can’t afford a room with a view on board the QE2, remember that you’re only in your room when you sleep anyway. In other words, settle for a little bit less in order to experience a whole lot more.
There is also a fourth reaction, one I don’t encounter very often, but which leaves me completely baffled:
- Bored: “Traveling has never really interested me,” while stifling a yawn and changing the topic.
I admit, I’ll never be able to understand that one! Happy travels!