I can’t count the times that I’ve been asked, “how do you afford to travel so much?” or “how do you always have the time to travel?” At the same time, I also hear people complaining, “I don’t have the money to travel” or “I don’t have time.”
The truth is, consciously or unconsciously, the people who say they “don’t have the time or money to travel” simply made the choice not to travel more.
Traveling is a Decision
Believe me, I get that there are some people who can’t afford to travel for very legitimate reasons. There are people who struggle to make ends meet. There are people who work two or three or more jobs just to be able to pay the bills each month. Family, bills, schooling, all that stuff comes first.
Still, they made a choice. They made the (likely unconscious) decision to pay bills instead of buying a plane ticket. If it comes down to food on the table or buying a plane ticket, I would 100% be happy with my decision to put food on the table over buying a plane ticket and wouldn’t regret it for a second.
The key is to recognize that you are constantly deciding how you spend your time and money, whether you realize it or not. It’s for that reason that I started eliminating phrases like, “I don’t have the money to…” or “I don’t have the time to…” because the reality is that I do have time and money. I just chose to spend it on something else, and that’s okay.
We make decisions based on what is a priority for us. In the above example, putting food on the table was a higher priority than traveling. For others, saving for a down-payment on an engagement ring might be a pretty high priority.
However, there are quite a few people who have made certain things a priority without even realizing it. Do you know what your priorities are? Are you confident in your answer? Have you every sat down and actually consciously decided what you want to be focusing on financially?
My friend is the perfect example of this. He often states that he would love to go to Japan, but doesn’t have the money. At the same time, he has hundreds of dollars worth of video games sitting on his shelf. Without even realizing it, he has made the decision to prioritize video games over travel. Again, that’s okay. The problem is just that he doesn’t realize he has chosen to prioritize one over the other, which leads to statements like, “I can’t afford it.”
Turning Unconscious Choices into Conscious Decisions
Since I caught the travel bug, I find myself looking closer at my expenses and how I spend my time. I’ve made an effort to look at the bigger picture of my financials instead of just, “do I have enough money in the bank to buy this right now?”
I find that I am asking myself, “Do I want to spend the $150 at the hair salon to dye my hair, or do I want to spend $150 for a night or two in a hotel somewhere cool?” Sometimes the answer is yes, I want to dye my hair because I’ve wanted to do this for a while or I just need a pick-me-up. However, I’ve found that more often than not, the answer is no, it’s just not that important to me.
I also started looking at how I’m spending my time. Sure, it’s nice to to take a Paid Time Off (PTO) day just to relax, but looking back, I typically wish I would have just went to work that day and saved the PTO day as an extra day to use for travel.
You need to pinpoint what’s important to you and what makes you happy. Sometimes they’re the same and sometimes they’re different (because paying bills is important but definitely doesn’t make me happy). Then, you can start using this knowledge as the basis for your decisions.
Affording to Travel
Through the mentality of making conscious purchases, I’ve been able to save a significant amount of money for travel, money that I used to spend elsewhere. It works because travel is high on my priority list.
I also found that changing my mentality of “I can’t afford that” to “I chose to prioritize something else” has overall made my life feel a little less stressed because I am content with what I have instead of being upset by what I don’t.
My Challenge to You
My challenge to you:
- Sit down and figure out what is most important to you or what you are most happy doing.
- Eliminate phrases like “I can’t afford to…” or “I don’t have time to…” from everyday speech and replace them with phrases like “I chose to do this instead.”
Once you’re done, let me know what you decided and how it’s going for you in the comments below!