Wanderlust. Travel addiction. Whatever you want to call it, once you have the travel bug, it’s incredibly hard to shake! It can lead to hours researching your travel “bucket list” destinations and saving every last penny for your next trip. You become attracted to other people who you can share travel stories with and get addicted to documentaries filmed in far-flung corners of the globe.
But unlike most addictions, the travel bug can actually be a good thing and spur you to see more of the world than you ever imagined possible. Yes, it may drain your money resources that could otherwise be spent on buying a new car or saving for a mortgage, but the experiences you have as a result will be priceless.
As the saying goes, travel is one of the only things you can spend money on that makes you richer. It will give you a self-confidence you might not previously have had and introduce you to ways of living that will transform your perspective on life. You’ll probably meet like-minded individuals along the way who will become life-long friends and you may be inspired to pursue a different path than the classic “school-college-job-marriage-mortgage-kids” model.
Travel enables us to see the world differently and become more tolerant, compassionate beings, which can only be a good thing for humankind. So if the travel bug has hit, don’t try and suppress it – satisfy it any way you can!
How to satisfy your travel bug with limited resources
First and foremost, you need to outline what your travel goals are and how these fit in with your life back home. If you’re still in high school or college, then travel might be limited to holiday periods or study exchange programs, while those working might only be able to get away during their annual holiday leave periods.
If a couple of weeks vacation isn’t enough, then perhaps consider a gap year from study or work to really go exploring. Some employers will be happy to give you leave without pay while in other situations you might have to resign from your job altogether. It all comes down to weighing up what’s really important to you and how strongly the travel bug has bitten.
Research your “bucket list” destinations
One of the most enjoyable parts of travel is researching your adventures and the best part is, it doesn’t cost a thing! So if the travel bug has hit you bad, don’t despair. Head to your local library to satisfy your cravings through travel books or jump online to read blogs about your dream destinations. Researching will help you plan your next adventure, give you lots of insightful tips and probably help you save a few dollars at the same time.
Create a savings plan
Once you’ve made a plan about where you want to go and for how long, it’s time to start saving. Figure out how much you think you’re going to need, then add a little bit more to your budget just in case. Travel doesn’t have to be expensive and the more you do it, the more you’ll discover ways to save while on the road.
A savings plan to feed your wanderlust might mean making sacrifices. Perhaps you won’t be able to eat out as much as you used to or will need to watch movies at home rather than spending big at the cinema. Ask yourself twice if you really need to buy that new shirt or if you can curb your coffee addiction for the foreseeable future. Saving for travel doesn’t mean you have to stop living and you’ll figure out plenty of ways to have a good time without breaking the bank. Just keep reminding yourself why you’re doing it and the travel rewards you’ll receive at the end.
Travel to cheap destinations or those nearby
If your finances are limited, an all-inclusive luxury overwater bungalow holiday in the Maldives might be out of the question. But there are heaps of other more affordable destinations that can still offer incredible travel experiences. Backpack through Southeast Asia to discover the cultural riches of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam or head out on an overland safari through Southern and Eastern Africa. Secure a working holiday visa in Australia or New Zealand that allows you to earn while you travel or grab a Eurail Pass to city-hop between hostels across the continent.
If finances are really limited, then satisfy your travel bug in your own backyard, discovering new destinations that might not have been on your radar. Go camping and trekking in the national parks, have a long weekend away in an iconic city or volunteer your time on a project that gives you the opportunity to travel interstate. Travel comes in so many different shapes and forms and sometimes it just takes a bit of creativity to find inspiration.
Find a job that allows you to travel
Almost everyone who’s been bitten by the travel bug asks themselves at one point in time, “how can I turn this lifestyle into a living?” As the world becomes more digitally savvy and many businesses now operate online, the opportunities for freelancers has skyrocketed. No longer does a career entail an office and set working hours and as long as you have a laptop (and an internet connection), you can earn money from wherever you are.
Becoming a travel writer is probably the first thing people think of when they consider a life on the road, but there are so many different lines of work you can pursue as a freelancer. From data entry to graphic design and even working as a PA for a virtual company, all you have to do is figure out what you’re good at and how that can translate into an online career.
Aside from freelancing, there are also plenty of opportunities to work as tour guides or cruise ship personnel and travel at the same time. You can complete an English as a Second Language certification and teach in various locations around the globe or become a team leader on conservation projects in remote destinations. There are so many ways to transform your travel addiction into a lifestyle, no matter what your interests are.