Why You Actually Do Need Money to Travel


All those articles out there saying things like, "You don't really need money to travel. Just read our tips!" are kind of misleading. What they're not telling you is that for them, they probably made enough from their job, or are going to make money from their job while on the road to be able to pay for things. Now, yes, it is possible to quit your job and go all over the world on a pretty small amount of money, but only for a small minority of people. This minority is called, "the people who find ways to basically pay for nothing and don't care to live the least luxurious life possible."

Yes, if you're anything like me, you're not brave (or friendly) enough to only couchsurf everywhere you go. You may need to travel with more than just a hikers backpack. You might not want to do hard labour in exchange for a place to sleep in a barn in the middle of Bulgaria. Those articles were made for the people who can fit their entire life into a bag and not be afraid to hitchhike or barter their way around the world. For the other people, the ones like myself who want to stay in a clean hostel, look pretty or presentable each day, or take a picturesque train ride, or need backup money just in case something horrible happens and you have to pay 200 Euros to rebook a flight you missed, we need money to travel, or else it's not going to happen.

While I wish I could just get rid of everything and get on a boat to New Zealand to work on a farm in a small village, that is not my travel style. I am a city girl. While I like seeing small towns, that only happens for a short time, and then I want to go back to the big stuff; the place where everything is happening. Because of this, I need cash to be able to do this. I'm not super outgoing, which means I'm not willing to use up my precious travel time to get stuck with a coachsurfing host who wants to be with me 24/7. I know there are benefits to making friends with locals, but the word "free" doesn't end up meaning that for some people who allow you to sleep on their futon. And while I am not one to splurge for a nice hotel room, I am happy to pay for a cheap hostel, which can be inexpensive, but the more popular of city you go to, the higher the prices (especially on the weekends, when the rates go up even higher).

In the end, if you are living in the most simple way, where you can survive on a tiny amount of food, can get by with three items of clothing, and don't mind meandering somewhere with no worries about getting there fast, then I wholeheartedly suggest you buy the one-way plane ticket and then take off with less than $1000 in your bank account. For those of us with a bit bigger view of how we enjoy seeing the world, it's best to set aside a lot more money to be able to get the full experience.

How to get this money? Work your ass off at your job and save up every penny and then quit. Find a telecommuting position so you can work on the road. Go to university in another country and use the financial aid money to travel (which is what I am doing). Be lucky enough to have parents or family who will fund your adventures. Make a GoFundMe or IndieGogo campaign to raise money. There are many ways to do it, just don't get too delusional about reading articles where the author says it's possible to be broke and still see the world. You won't be living in luxury, you'll struggle with transportation, food will be an issue, and this isn't to be pessimistic, just realistic.