How The F?
Updated: Apr 1, 2019
Traveling is not my job. I'm not an instagram model and I don't get paid to stay in hotels or take pretty photos with a ton of food surrounding me that i'll never eat. Because of my following I do however get discounts on hotels in exchange for posts, but they end up always being more expensive than an airbnb, so I've never used this option.
First and foremost I'm lucky enough to live at home. I have moved in and out so many times I have lost count. I can afford to live on my own, but A. my parents haven't kicked me out yet (also they would die without me), and B. I'm constantly struggling to figure out where I want to live or what I want to do with my life (aren't we all?). Obviously living at home gives me an advantage to saving money (not really) and being able to travel, but this isn't the sole factor on how i'm able to travel so much, it just helps. - I pay for every other bill and adulting item I have- minus rent and utilities which is around $950-$1200 a month in Kansas City if I live alone.
For work i'm a freelance video producer + photographer in Kansas City, and I own a small social media business where I help other small businesses grow their business. I help people with their social media, websites, marketing etc. I have created this life for myself because I was so unhappy working a 9-5, and i have worked my fair share of them. BUT the money isn't consistent with freelancing. I don't have a salary. I am paid as a contractor and have to put away money for taxes. I make a very average amount of money a year, by no means am i 'rolling in the dough'. To do what I do you really need to be good with saving your money, self-motivated (probably the hardest part) and organized, or you'll be in debt (which I am, thank you student loans). Last year alone there were 2 months where I made nothing after expenses and taxes. I spend my money on adulting and traveling, that's basically it.
When I'm home in Kansas City I work 12+ hour days, I barely have a life here. I take enough time away from work to see my friends and spend time with my family each week. Having a healthy balance is important.
One of the biggest factors for how i'm able to afford traveling is credit cards. I have a few of them. This helps me get free flights domestically, for example when i'm flying to New York and New York to Spain I only end up having to pay for my New York to Spain flight because of the points from my credit cards. Also, getting a credit card that has 0% APR for 12-15 months will help you afford to travel and pay off your travels within a year or so without extra interest. This is nice for me as there are some months I don't make that much money. Being flexible on your dates can be a huge factor too, it can honestly be the difference of $500-$1000 for a flight. Read my 'Flight Tips' for more info on that. I also book airbnb's for the most part. You can do hostels or airbnb's and get a fairly cheap rate for the night. You don't have to stay in a fancy room, you're barely in the room anyway.
I hear people say all the time "I don't have enough PTO", yes, you may only get so many days for PTO, but that's your choice not to take off more days. It's not the end of the world if you don't get paid for a few days. I do it all the time and i'm alive. It's not like you're taking off and will never make money again. You will be heading back to your full time job and making money in no time. If you can afford traveling for a couple weeks, you can afford to take off for a couple weeks. Have you ever asked your boss if you can work while you're away?
When I travel I still work, it's not a full vacation for me. I carve out time to work in the morning and work in the evening. It's exhausting, but it's the only way i'm able to travel & pay bills.
This could be a huge factor for you, or it may not be, but I don't have kids or a dog. There are options for that, though. You might not be able to take as long as a vacation as you would like, but something is better than nothing. You can take your little ones with you and make memories, or have you called your mom or dad lately? I'm sure they would be happy to take the little one for a bit- if not, call my mom she would gladly take them as she is not on a track to getting grandkids at this point. Pets are easier, it sucks to leave them, but if you find a good pet sitter they will be in good hands.
And lastly, to bring the cost down travel with a friend, or partner, split the cost of everything!