50+, on a budget, need to travel? 7 tips to get a travel fund together

Little money but with the urge to travel is a common scenario and a lack of riches is no reason to stop you. People in their 50’s and 60’s often ask me if they can afford to travel – and of course I say yes! (This really applies to any age.)
In this post I will focus on new travellers of an age when the kids have flown the nest – and it’s definitely a lot cheaper than travelling with them so that’s a bonus! However, if money is tight, don’t think long term travel is out of your reach. I will post a few articles to give you ways to make it happen. This first one is to help you get ready with a bit of extra stash. It may all seem obvious to many of you, but sometimes just going through these things has given people I talked to ideas for getting some funds together. Check out these 7 tips to help you get the money together to get on the road......

  1. Decide how long you want to go for – three months, a year, indefinitely? Now you can plan accordingly. Let’s assume a year or more for this article. 
    First, set a departure date (let’s say six months from now). Second, open a travel account at your bank.
    Now save like mad, and get excited by watching it grow! And the first money to go in that account comes from doing this:

    Absolutely every time you are about to buy something, ask yourself “do I really need this, or, can I do without it, or,  can I get it cheaper?” If you don’t buy it, or if you find a cheaper option, then put the money you didn’t spend straight into the travel account. Nicely done!
  2. Your accommodation can be a big saver for you.
    If you rent, can you go somewhere cheaper, can you share for the next six months, can you get someone in that spare room for the next six months?
    If you own, do you have a spare room you can rent out for the next six months? Would it be good for Airbnb (more on this in a later post)? That can be a great way to make some extra income for your travel fund and work around you and your commitments. Even better, get a job house-sitting locally (it will help later) and rent your house out now – that’s six months of high level savings just like that!
  3. Increase your income – increase your savings. You probably have a bit aside at the moment but can you add to it over and above the current savings plan.What other ways you can increase your income over the next six months?
    Can you get a second job? Can you sell some of that craft work you do? Can you babysit – its not just for teens? If you have a job, can you ask your boss for a raise or some overtime? Any extra income goes straight into your travel account!
  4. Do you own a house? If you rent it through a property manager, will the rent cover the mortgage? Will there be any extra once all the costs are covered? If there is no mortgage, fantastic – there are your ‘travel funds’ right there! Get a property manager and work out what will be needed for fees, maintenance etc and see how much is left for your monthly trip!
    (Watch for my post on leaving property behind!)
  5. De-clutter! Apart from a good cleansing, it saves on any storage you might need, and adds to your funds. What do you really need and what do you really want to keep – be ruthless. Go through every cupboard and ask yourself these questions:
    a.       When did I last use this?
    b.      Do I really need it?
    c.       Do I want to use up valuable storage space with this?
    As soon as you say no to one of the questions – sell whatever it is (or if unsellable throw it out to save storage)! Put the cash into something you really do need like travel insurance or a backpack.
  6. Are there any  regular bills you pay without thinking about it? Check what goes out and see if you can get rid of it now - do you need a cell and home phone, do you need netflix for the next six months? Put that money into the travel fund.
  7. Finally, there are costs just to get on the road but you can minimise these. You don’t have to start out heading to the furthest point in the world involving expensive flights. Example – if you are in the USA there are a lot of other states to visit and you can simply head south where there’s a whole other world right across your border. (Be happy you are not in NZ where the closest countries are a 3-4 hour flight away with no overland options!) Additionally you can choose to go to cheaper areas so your budget will go further – check this list out!

Once you have your savings plan and know when you are going, read about stretching the budget now you're on the road!