Did you know that once 2020 rolls around, people born in the '90s have lived in two centuries, three decades and two millennia?
With 2019 and this decade coming to an end, many people are re-evaluating their goals and planning for the future. At Travel Money NZ we hope some of those goals include travel and have put together a guide on some must-visit destinations in 2020 to help get the ball rolling.
Many people argue that they want to travel but can't because of the cost. Sure, it can be expensive, but as you realign your goals and look at your finances for 2020, we can guarantee there is some wiggle room to accommodate for a holiday. If there isn't, well, you're probably looking at it the wrong way. Don't stress though; we've all done our fair share of travel and have a few tips that help us save that little bit extra for travel.
With this in mind, as you set your resolutions, it's worth checking out the following tips so you can accommodate adventure in the New Year and the new decade.
1. Make travel a priority and set a reasonable goal.
Straight up, if travel isn't one of your priorities, then you won't go to the effort of saving for a trip. Simple. As soon as you've set your sights on a location, do something to make it concrete. Whether it's booking in your leave with work, creating a Pinterest board of inspiration or creating a separate bank account, you need something that makes the goal real.
With this in mind, if you set a goal that isn't realistic, then it will probably do more harm then good. For example, if you're on minimum wage, chances are you probably can't afford a luxury trip to the Maldives after only a few months of saving. If you have a destination in mind, research the average cost of a holiday there and calculate how long it will take you to save up for a trip. Once you have details, you can start saving and planning.
2. Give yourself time to save
Following on from the point above, if you don't give yourself enough time to save, then you are setting yourself up for failure. Only you know your income, spending habits and expenses. While you can cut back on a few things to save extra cash in a flash, you don't want to limit your life to afford travel.
3. Be flexible with your travel style
If you're keen on a destination that might be slightly out of your price range, don't give up hope. Instead explore different travel options or alternatives. Whether it's swapping the luxury hotel for an Airbnb or private room in a hostel, or swapping a more expensive location for a more affordable but similar alternative, there are ways to make it work.
For example, when European summer rolls around, everyone is keen to join a Sail Croatia or Sail Greece trip. These can be pretty expensive though and are often too far out of peoples budget. Instead of giving up entirely on your dream holiday, why not look at cheaper alternatives like Sail Turkey, or save on flights and your trip by going closer to home in the Philippines or Thailand. You're still on a boat, eating great food, having some drinks and floating in Paradise, one is just a couple thousand dollars less than the other.
4. You don't have to give up the everyday stuff, though you may need to make a few swaps
I'm going to use myself as a prime example of this. In October 2018 I decided I wanted to travel for three months around the world before moving to Canada. I started saving in October on a basic marketing graduate salary (Between 50 – 65k per year), lived in a share house, didn't miss out on too much and had enough to pack up and leave by May 2019. In eight months, I saved about $12k, and I didn't have to live on tuna and rice to do it.
I looked at my budget and found places where I could cut down. Instead of going out for dinner and drinks, I would cook at home for friends. I cut back on drinking, don't smoke, and limited my shopping and stopped getting my nails done. Every time I made a purchase (outside of groceries and living expenses), I asked myself if I would rather that purchase or the extra money on holiday. Quite often, the holiday won.
I didn't stop living my life though, because sometimes I still wanted to have brunch with my friends at an expensive café, or treated myself to a cocktail on a night out. Let yourself have those treats, but always keep the biggest treat of all, your holiday, at the forefront of your mind.
5. Create a life budget and travel budget and stay on top of them
This is a big one and is where you need to be a bit more cutthroat. When you've decided on a destination, it's worth doing some research to see the cost of flights, accommodation, activities and daily expenses. We have a nifty travel budget that takes care of your daily expenses for you and helps determine how much travel money you'll need, otherwise, if you're still in the initial planning stages sites like Numbeo are a great resource.
Once you have an idea of how much your holiday will cost, it's time to look at your personal budget. It's best to write down two lists:
1. Living costs: things like rent, mortgage payments, bills, groceries etc.
2. Extra costs: here are the things that you don't NEED to survive like that huge phone bill, eating out, Ubers, shopping etc.
Now you have your two lists, go through both and cut down the fat. Can you reduce your grocery bill by shopping at farmers markets and cheaper stores? Do you need to catch public transport or Uber's or can you walk? Do you need to get takeout twice a week or can you cook a fun meal instead? Should you be buying lunch every day or can you take leftovers?
Once you've cut down the fat, go through and do it again. Calculate how much you can save and write down that number. Divide your total holiday cost by this monthly saving and boom; you've got your savings timeline.
As we said above, it's essential to give yourself a bit of wiggle room. No one is perfect, and there are times where you'll order takeout or get the Uber. A budget that is too restrictive is not a recipe for success. Instead, budget for a few little treats and savour them when you can.
6. Don't wait until the last minute to book and buy your foreign currency
Keep an eye out for sales and holiday expos for flights and accommodation as you can save a lot of money and potentially afford something that you otherwise wouldn't have been able to.
The same goes for foreign currency. Purchasing the week before your trip might mean missing out on extra cash when the Aussie Dollar is doing well. We know you probably don't have time to keep an eye on exchange rates though, so Travel Money NZ has a few tools to help you out.
Rate Alerts: Punch in your currency and preferred exchange rate and we'll let you know if and when the Aussie Dollar hits the mark.
Rate Move Guarantee: Add this to your foreign currency purchase in-store. It's free, and if the rate improves within 14 days, we will refund you the difference*.
Best Price Guarantee: If you find a better price we will beat it**.
Cash Passport Platinum: Lock in your exchange rate with the Aussie Dollar is doing well for up to 10 currencies*.
These tools, plus a little bit of your own time and effort, could save you a lot of money that can otherwise be spent on an extra nights accommodation or a few cocktails by the pool on holiday.
7. Make yourself accountable
If you're not held responsible, then it is much easier to push saving for travel to the side. Whether it's creating a monthly savings target to telling your parents/friends/grandma/sisters boyfriend/Great Aunt Mary, you need something or someone that knows about your goal and will motivate you to get back on track if you fall off the savings wagon.
I find it's good to tell friends and family, as they will not only help keep you accountable but also understand if you say no to different events because it isn't in your budget.
8. Be willing to try new things
This applies to everyday life and when on holiday.
Your day-to-day budget might require you to skip the gym membership and instead go for runs outside and do home workouts. Or, instead of going out every weekend you might invite your friends over to your place for drinks and board games. While these options may not sound overly appealing, the effort of trying something new will pay off in the long run when you are on holiday.
Once you're on holiday, you may need to try different things and be open to new experiences to maximise your holiday budget. Maybe it's trying street food instead of the usual restaurant affair, or staying in a budget hotel or hostel for a few nights to save some funds. If you're open to new things, you'll be surprised at how much you can enjoy an experience, unlike what you are used to.
9. Take up a side hustle
If you need to fast track your savings doing a little bit of extra work on the side is a great option. My hustle of choice was tutoring, and for about six months, I spent four nights a week after work helping kids with their homework and assignments. You'd be surprised how much parents are willing to pay to get their kids a better grade.
If tutoring isn't your thing, there are plenty of other hobbies or skills you can turn into extra cash. Are you crafty enough to make things to sell online? Can you offer dog-walking or car washing? Can you Airbnb out a room in your house or do odds and ends on Airtasker? Figure out what you can do and what your schedule allows for, then commit and watch the extra cash roll in.
10. Have a travel savings account
This one is super important. There is nothing more motivating than seeing the number in your savings account slowly tick up towards your goal. Having a separate account means you have an exact idea of how much you have saved, and you are less likely to move funds out of the account knowing they are for your travels.
Once you get paid, move your allocated travel funds directly into the travel savings account. That way, you won't be tempted to splurge on anything else, and you are hit with the satisfaction of working towards your goal.
Everyone always asks me: how do you afford to travel so much? The answer is pretty simple. I love to travel, and every day I go to work knowing that part of what I earn is helping fund my next trip. I still like to treat myself now and then because you don't want your life outside of the holidays to bring you down due to strict budgets without wiggle room.
As we move into a new year and a new decade, be sure to evaluate and set some goals for yourself. Even if your goal isn't to travel, these tips and mindset can be applied to almost anything. With that in mind, everyone needs a holiday at some point. The world is a big and beautiful place, let 2020 be the year you challenge yourself to a new adventure.
If you are planning a new adventure and need some travel money tips, or need to grab some foreign currency, be sure to visit the team of experts at Travel Money NZ. They have plenty of tools to ensure you are taking off with more.
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