You Can Go Anywhere!
I can't tell you how many times I've been in casual conversations with people and they'll say, "Oh, I would love to go to (fill in the blank), but I could never afford that!" Then, I start digging and asking probing questions about their likes, dislikes, preferences, etc, and lo' and behold, I give them a general realm of how much that fantastic trip would cost, and they look at me shell shocked and say, "Damn, I can afford that!"
A delightful blogger, Paula Pant, over at afford-anything.com, wrote an impressive piece entitled, "Quit Your Job, Travel, and Live Remarkably," (http://afford-anything.com/2011/07/01/quit-your-job-and-travel/). You can jump over and read the article for yourself, but what I thoroughly appreciated about the article was the quashing of such misconceptions that people have about those who do travel. For example, a lot of people think that if you travel a lot, then you (or your family) must be wealthy; you are going into great debt; or you have someone else footing the bill. Generally speaking, nothing is further from the truth. Those of us who have a passion and thirst for travel realize that any and all travel is possible. Proper planning and budgeting can get you anywhere around the globe. Whether it's a once in a lifetime trek to the Himalayas, or monthly jaunts to hit every major city in the U.S., you are your only limitation.
Incidentally, there is always more than one way to skin a cat, errr, I mean, go on a trip. Some of the non-traditional methods out there are becoming ever popular among a segment of the population, and while these tactics may not be for everyone, some may be appealing to those who want to hit the road and stick to a tight budget:
- Couch Surfing - This type of travel is most definitely not for everyone, but for the more adventurous and trusting souls, this may be the perfect way to see the world. The premise behind this type of travel is that you essentially call on friends and family members, and spend time on their couch while you are traveling.There is even a site committed solely to securing lodging (these are not family and friends, but people who sign up on their site http://www.couchsurfing.org/).
- Home Swapping - A wonderful move called, "The Holiday," (Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet were the actresses in the movie); these two found themselves seeking an escape from their day-to-day lives, and with the help of an online house matching service, Kate spent the Christmas holiday at Cameron's ultra modern home in California; while Cameron trekked to Kate's modest, but charming home in England. I can not promise that your experience will be as fun-filled as it turned out for them, but if this is an avenue you are willing to explore, there are numerous services out there that assist in the vetting process (background checks, monetary exchange, etc).
- Educational Travel - It is becoming more and more popular. Typically the accommodations are fairly modest because the schools/institutions will utilize the dorms and or lesser expensive apartments in the city to accommodate the students; however, this is a great way to travel, meet people, and have an incredible learning experience to boot!
- Hostels - Well, they've been around forever. A lot of people swear by hostels; however, if I had to stay at a hostel, I'd be swearing.
- Rent An Apartment - When you are traveling abroad, if you are going to be in Europe for an extended period of time (say two or more weeks), renting an apartment is an attractive alternative to save money. What I particularly like about the apartment renting concept is that you can have a primary location where you keep all of your "stuff," and if your primary base is in, say, Paris, you can jump on a train and explore other surrounding cities and spend a night or two in varying locations without schlepping all of your stuff. And even though you will need to secure accommodations in those other cities, it's far less expensive to explore while you are there on that continent, than to do separate trips flying from the U.S. to Europe.
*Image used from: http://flash.atlrec.com/diggy/images/jetsetter.jpg