Any financial advisor worth his salt will recommend that you start saving and investing early in life. The same goes for travelling; start saving your memories early on. Over the course of a lifetime, the surest way to control your travel overhead is to take as many trips as you can while you’re young, single and unencumbered with a mortgage payment, rent or kids. Sell your car, pack your stuff and leave it with the folks or put it in storage. Whatever you manage to save on unnecessary expenses on the home front leaves you with additional funds to finance your journey abroad.
And if you are short on funds while you are overseas, finding a "cash" job will integrate you into your new host country at a much faster rate. If you are traveling the LiveCheap way, you aren't going to need that much money anyway.
The first thing I did right out of college was to take off to see the world. When you’re young, you can do with a bunk bed in a youth hostel and get all kinds of special deals and discounts on everything from lodging to a Eurail pass. You’re healthier and better able to deal with the occasional bumps on the road like losing your passport or sleeping in an airport because of a missed flight. But the single greatest advantage you have is financial: the bills won’t pile up while you’re away from home because you won't leave a home behind.
When you take into consideration the ‘opportunity cost’ of travelling before you get ensnared by your career or tied down by your business and family obligations, you save a fortune by treating the travel bug early on in life.
Most entry level jobs pay minimal wages – just enough to cover the basics. So you won’t be giving up much in the way of income or savings. By the time you’re in your peak earning years – mid thirties to mid fifties – you’ll have a slim chance of convincing the wife that you ‘need’ to walk away from that 100K sales job, hire a nanny for the kids and sign up for intensive tango lessons in Buenos Aires. Regardless of what the wife says, unless you’re a college professor, your employer is unlikely to give you a sabbatical – even without pay.
Seeing the world the way it deserves to be seen takes time. You really pick up on the ambiance of a place when you have a few weeks to experience the leisure of random strolls and spending hours watching the foot traffic while sipping lattes at a favorite café. A couple of extended stays in Paris or Madrid can leave you with adequate linguistic skills – especially if you’ve already taken a few courses in high school or college. You can take time off from being a tourist and sign up for an intensive language program. It allows you to pick up the skills that will come in handy on future visits and will look real good on a resume – especially if you want to land a job at the State Department or with a multi-national corporation.
Young sojourners and old alike can experience mother earth on the cheap by booking round-the-world tickets. They offer some excellent value. Don’t just compare prices, pay attention to the number of stops allowed, the expiration date and the flexibility to change your itinerary. Click below for some sample airfares and more information on Around the World bargain tickets. Notice the special deals for students.
A few years ago, I landed a job in New Zealand. Part of my compensation package was a trip home to Seattle every few months. Instead of buying a regular coach ticket to Seattle, I opted to pay a few hundred dollars more and booked a round-the-world ticket for $1800. It’s an incredible rush to visit Sydney, Hong Kong, Cairo, Frankfurt, London, Seattle and Wellington in 15 days. I might have spent a few extra hours in the air but the shorter flights more than made up for it by cutting down on the jet lag. My ticket would have allowed me to squeeze in a side trip to Buenos Aires or Hawaii. Alas, I was a professional in my early forties and had to get back to work. In my younger days, I would have had the luxury of booking a three month trip with fifteen stops. So many places – so little time. So travel cheap and travel young, you will never forget it.
Like this Article? Get our daily email of cheap articles and tips:
or subscribe via RSS.
The Frugal Nomad has travelled to over 40 countries and lived, studied and worked for extended periods of time in London, Paris, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, Wellington, New Zealand and Alexandria, Egypt. He calls Seattle home - for now.
Like this article? Share it on Facebook or more!