I’ve written perviously about why I’m not lucky to travel but people still insist I am – I hear it alot these days, especially having been backpacking for over a year again and already starting on booking my flights for my travels this year.
I’ve also been trying to convince people I know to come join my adventures – a suggestion that is always met with an array of quite frankly p*ss poor excuses, so I’ve decided to pass on the 5 simple steps you need to use to get your backpacking dream on the way to being a reality! Follow them and there’s no reason you too cant be sipping mojitos on the beach by the end of the year!
Ok – the first step without a shadow of a doubt is start saving. It might sound obvious but people completely overlook the cost of travel and live lives where saving isn’t something they really consider. It’s super important and you need to get this part nailed else you wont be going anywhere!
Sit down and put pen to paper to document your incomings and outgoings, now make a realistic goal to save every month and on pay day squirrel it away before you have chance to save it!
Any extra left over at the end of your months pay you can either treat yourself, or better still add some extra into the pot.
Also start having a serious think everytime you put your hand in your wallet.
When I’m saving to travel one of the best things you can do is convert every expense into what it would buy you in one of your destinations. For example that £5 sandwhich meal deal you buy each day – that’s a night accomodation, meal and 2 beers in somewhere like Chang Mai in Thailand. Try making a pasta salad and taking it in from home.
Just start trimming back on those little luxuries you buy and they soon add up. My buddy from work used to buy a Starbucks coffee each day before work, after some quick calculations we worked out that she was spending just short of a grand each year on coffee alone!
But you don’t need to cut right back and become a social recluse, just plan maybe one night out a month and stick to a set budget for the night. After all would you rather be partying in London and spending £100 in a night or spending then same amount living and partying for an entire week in Koh Rong in Cambodia?!
At the end of the day though even if for some ridiculous reason you decide not to go traveling, you still have a good little savings pot to invest in boring normal things like sofas or cars!
The sooner you start saving though, the sooner you can be relaxing on a beach far away!
When you’re in the saving mindset you can get planning.
Have a think about where you want to visit and what you want to do. Use guidebooks, travel brochures and of course blogs to give you a whole heap of inspiration – check out my travel bucket list for a few awesome things to do too!
Ideally you want to be aiming for £1,000 per month of travel, but big things should be added in on top just to be safe.
Go into a travel agents like STA Travel with your list of destinations and start getting some quotes together for your flights as soon as you can.
You don’t need to book them right away but at least you’ll get some idea of how much they will be and if needed some places you might want to cut out to fit in with your finances. It also pays to get a variety of quotes from different companies – each trip planner with give you new ideas or routings you might want to consider.
Put all this info together and get a firm destination list together, an order, top to do list and make a note of key dates on your trip – such as when your Thailand visa expires after landing there, or the fact your want to hit up Sydney for Xmas and New Year.
Also at this stage it’s worth deciding if you want to do any extended travel like a working holiday visa in Australia or New Zealand to top up your funds halfway.
Adjust your plans or time saving to make sure you come to a good middle ground but leave some leeway to make sure you have enough cash together in time though!
With this in mind you can start the really exciting part – getting things booked!
Yes you might not have enough saved already to cover everything but you can certainly make a start.
Getting that first flight and first few nights accommodation booked is a great way to make the whole thing real and it’ll mean you stick to your budget heaps more!
Over the next few months of saving keep planning and booking – aim to get at least one thing sorted each month just to keep the stoke going…be it small like sorting a travel cashcard or something a bit bigger like sorting your Inca Trail hike tour.
Once you’ve got a leaving date and your first flight booked it’s time to start thinking about the best part of starting a backpacking adventure – quitting your job!
Now there are two ways you can go about this.
Firstly (and not the most recommended!) if you hate your job you can simply leave it to the bare minimum time frame to hand your notice in, saunter up to your boss and with a big smug grin on your face declare your quitting and going to live the dream whilst whacking your resignation letter on his desk, no warning…BAM!
Secondly (and the way I’d advise) is to give your job as much notice as possible and do it all professionally, you never know you might be glad of getting your old job back if you ever return! Bevster from Pack Your Passport wrote a great post on how to leave your job properly so that’s worth a read.
Either way once that’s done you can spend your entire work days annoying your colleagues and making sure everyone in your office is aware of how many days you have left until you fly to an exotic location and leave them all behind!
So you’ve saved, you’ve planned, you’ve booked it and you’ve quit your job – now that’s all done and dusted you simply have to count down the days and go enjoy your adventure!
It really is that simple guys, I’m pretty dam unorganised and I managed to do it! I wasn’t funded by rich parents, I didn’t win a competition, I just realised traveling is what I wanted to do, so I made it happen!
I’m happy to say that it’s the best decision I’ve ever made and I’ve met no one so far whose ever regretted going out and exploring the world – so get out there and enjoy life outside the 9-5 grind!