Wanderlust Fund : 10 Tips to Fund Your Travels

While I'm supposed to be conducting research for our next travel itinerary, I couldn't help writing another blog post. You might be thinking- "She's traveling again?"  Yes. I often receive questions from friends and acquaintances how I can afford it.  So I'll dedicate today's post with a few tips for funding wanderlust.

Travel Fund
The husband and I started this a long time ago. Just as we had a "Food Box" (It's an actual box with a budget per month that we use for grocery, eating out, and household expenses).  Similarly, we have a separate fund that we use for traveling.  After reviewing our overall salary, we allocated our budget.  Creating a travel fund and managing it well, worked out very well for us.

{Warning: This is a long post. Grab a cup of coffee and read on}
We cannot accomplish the travel fund without saving.  Meaning, we need to prioritize by cutting down on other expenses. I don't shop a lot and have a minimalist closet and we think many times before buying a home gadget (like that crepe maker that I really like but have no space to keep it, so we never purchased it thinking we could do it in a pan).

We do not live beyond our means. We aim for basic living-so no luxury bags and shoes and definitely no expensive brand new cars. We even once shared an apartment with another couple located in an inexpensive area  in order to save, during the real estate boom in Dubai.

Wise and Creative Spending
We assess every expenditure and make sure we canvass well before we go for it.

We have become creative- for example by purchasing The Entertainer Book . It's a compilation of 1,500 buy one get one free vouchers valid for a year. These coupons enable us to get a free main course for each meal purchased. So we often pay restaurant bills for the price of one. It's a thick book with hundreds of restaurants, coffee shops, bars and adventure offers. This discount book also allows us to get a plus one to adventure activities for every purchase  (E.g. an adventure water park or desert safaris..)

**I'm not a fan of credit cards. You might have seen that from the Couch Talk: Financially Chic post . Mainly because of the temptation that goes with it. However, they come in handy for booking hotel reservations and emergencies.  If paid on time without incurring interests then it's not a problem. As much as possible, we prefer using debit cards. 

Luck and Hard Work
The past ten years, I knew that if I get myself a sales position, I would be traveling a lot more. I had no sales experience prior to that, but I just jumped right in anyway after reading sales books. I was fortunate to have landed my first four years in Dubai traveling a lot within the Gulf region to sell and manage projects.  When it was time to move on, I was offered a job by an international company (whose name I will not mention here). One of their negotiation tactics during my interview while negotiating my offer was a product training and a free trip to Austria along with lots of international travels. So of course I said yes!

My point being is, there are career options that enable and involve a lot of travel. E.g. English language teaching volunteers, Media and PR, Career in the Airline Industry, Sales, Hospitality Industry,  Job in Travel Agencies with tour package discounts. I have a friend and classmate who works for a travel agency and her Facebook page is filled with photos from every continent. 

Air Miles
I would have missed a lot of our adventures if it weren't for Air Miles. The husband and I both have it. Due to frequent business travels, we both earned a lot of mileage and more often than not, we didn't want them to get expired- So I forced myself (there wasn't a lot of forcing) to use it even for just a weekend in India or Sri Lanka.

Geographical Location
Working as an expat entitles to one free airline ticket to return home per year.  During my years working in Dubai, where most people I know go home, we've decided to explore other countries instead, using this free ticket. Being in the Middle East, a lot more regions became more accessible as UAE can be considered a central hub for travel.

I'd rather do it now than later. Life is too short. I'm never sure whether I'd still have that tomorrow. Many years down the line, I don't think I could hold my bladder for those long bumpy bus rides in Bolivia. For sure, my knees won't be able to make it during those long hikes in Peru. 

Spend time wisely too (not only money). Instead of watching TV all weekend for example, explore the area. We need not go to an exotic destination, maybe the next town offers something interesting and meaningful. Don't wait for a decade like me before visiting Dubai Museum when I can clearly sacrifice two hours of my weekend seeing and learning something new.

We all have our own priorities. Invest your money where your heart is. When you make travel yours, and your desire for it is so strong, you'll just find yourself in a place wondering how you ended up there-realizing that it was once a dream written in your wanderlust list. Opportunities will open. Luck is an immediate companion of opportunity.

Plan Ahead
There are a lot of Promo Air Fares and if you plan ahead (even as early as six months in advance) you'll get yourself a good deal. This is true with accommodations as well. Research. Know the peak and off-peak season while still trying to consider the weather (You don't want to be stranded in the rain in an island during monsoon season).

Stick to a Budget Per Trip
When traveling, draft how much you want to spend for the entire vacation. With an excel sheet, I create an itinerary along with the breakdown of costs we might face along with contingency. A print out of this budget sheet comes with us and serves as a reminder that we need to stick to the budget. This is a great example where research deem most useful. This goes by sticking to a budget per day during your trip. This was how I survived one month and a half traveling in the Philippines.

This next trip of ours is not a good example for planning ahead though because I just missed the promo air fare by a hair strand (I didn't book it soon enough). I'm now trying to compensate the amount we've lost by getting cheaper (but fair deal if not good quality) accommodation.  It's also the peak season. However, there are days when we need to spend money in order to spend time efficiently.  

Among Other Things..
There are also other possibilities of funding a backpacking travel while overseas. There are short term jobs. One friend even worked as a tour guide while traveling. There are volunteer opportunities, student exchange programs you might be interested in.

By the way, I'm not earning anything from this blog that will allow me to travel. I have yet to learn from travel bloggers out there who's earning from writing. No, traveling is not free (except for those job training and business travels I got years ago). All those 'leisure' travels were funded by us, where we worked hard and saved.

Now that I'm not working, how do I fund my travels? Saving allowed me to have some back up funds that I'm using for this career break. I'm also lucky to have a husband who supports my decision. This next travel is due for this reason and is not only for leisure. I will discuss this here later once things do move in that direction.

Enjoy. Happy blogging -Blogging is surely addictive.
As much as, or even more than traveling.
Check out our first blogger link up.
Okay, back to researching my itinerary now.


Wanderlust Fund Blogger Link Up

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I would like to invite all bloggers to participate.Share your story how you've budgeted for your vacation and adventure. I would love to learn and curious about your travel tips-how you were able to transform that dream vacation into reality. This is not limited to travel bloggers alone, as long as you're happy and willing to share your tips and advice, then you're all welcome. 

ObjectiveMy aim is to spread the word that travel is affordable. I'm often impressed by those who have rented camping cars and are traveling the world with their families and/or loved ones.

Check out:  Irene of Away from Tenerife on her post on Tips to Fund Your Travels

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  1. I love this post. And I love how you are very smart about your financials! It makes a lot of sense. My husband and I are also saving up for a trip to Korea and Japan next year - little by little, every month :) happy traveling!

  2. This is a great post! I have 4 trips to save for this year so i'll use some of your tips. Thanks!

    Lattes & Lacee

  3. This is great. Obviously you have to plan and budget for vacations. Admittedly, that's a little tough to do with kids.

  4. Great post. I agree with a lot that you posted and the travel is ALWAYS worth it. <3

  5. Fantastic post Arni. My husband and I do something similar where we set aside a certain amount of money in our budget for travelling every month. But we are guilty of credit cards, living beyond our means and spending more than we budgeted for - it doesn't help that travelling has gone up considerably in the last couple of years. I am definitely going to save this post somewhere so that I remember to go through the motions of budgeting! Also, can I ask about your free ticket home? Is this through your company or because you live in Dubai? It has me curious!

    1. Hi Meghan, yes to both. Yearly air ticket is not mandatory to be provided by employers in the Middle East as per labor law, but a one-way ticket to return home is,once the contract is completed. However, most companies provide an annual return air ticket after working for one year in the company, as part of the employment package/offer along with 30 days vacation per year. This is provided by the companies here like the ones I've worked for.

  6. Oh I loves all your tips Arny, I have travelled quite a lot (not as you of course) but I will have to start a travel fund, let think about some tips and do this because it really a great activity to dedicate a little time too.
    Great post, really useful!

  7. Wow Arni, you're a pro of travelling! Really nice tips, I will keep in mind that excel spreadsheet tip to help me stay on budget. I also like the tip about speding time wisely and dedicating some time to get to know places nearby. Sometimes we neglect many beautiful places near us just because they're not far enough, silly!
    I would like to link up, after all I'm supposed to have a travel blog as well hehehe so I will think about some useful tips in the upcoming weeks :)

    I'm curious about your travel plans, enjoy the preparation and research, that's part of the fun!

    Have a lovely evening.
    xoxo Irene

  8. Making a list of your financial priorities and comparing it against your actual spending is a very good exercise.

    It is very easy to spend money on clothes and extras without realizing those same dollars could go elsewhere. Great advice.

  9. I've recently been struck with a massive case of wanderlust!

    I just want to travel. Last year I managed six holidays but this year I have none organised.

    Perhaps I need a travel fund too.

    Hope you are well, take care love :)

  10. aghhh i loveeee these tips! we always want to travel more, so i definitely think setting aside a travel fund would be wise :) great post!

  11. Love this post. Will def try to do a post on how I budget for my trips and participate in this lovely initiative ....prob when I have time to think of what to write haha.

    Sounds like you have a big trip coming up. Can't wait to read/see where you are headed next.

  12. It's always nice to see how other people manage their travel expenses. Because we live and work between three countries, for us it's often about spending more money due to time constraints in our personal and professional lives. I agree with all of your tips, but for some people not all of them are doable. For instance, only perhaps twice in our married lives have we been able to book holidays 6 months etc in advance. That just doesn't work for us at this point in time but it is definitely something that if you can do, you should. Can't wait to see where your next adventure takes you. I've got a lot of domestic travel this year. We've toyed with the idea of Rome, Spain, another trip to India and of course our trips to Fiji. But no decisions as yet :)

  13. It's true!Learning how to master your money is the only way for getting rich.

  14. Hej killar, tack för denna intressanta artikel.
    Om du vill läsa mer om fördelarna med Spara i Fonder Tips detta är rätt plats för dig!