Social

Sunday, 4 November 2018

How I afford to travel and how you can too

Travel all the time

The number one question I have been asked since I started Melis Living and moved to Singapore is how can you afford to travel so much and for so long?

In 2018 we have visited 10 countries, taken 22 flights and had a ruddy good time. I want to caveat this guide by saying I am aware how lucky I am and not everyone can afford to travel all the time. I hope you will read this in the manner it is intended which is a little guide on the sacrifices I make to save up so I can afford to travel to as many places as possible. This is not a boast at all, I am writing this in my fluffy pyjamas living a very non-glamorous life in the UK in full on 'saving mode'!

I see so many social media posts and quotes saying 'quit your job and do what you love' but it's just not that easy and most of us have to work and save madly to afford to visit the places we lust after. Read on to find out what small changes I have made over the years to build up enough savings to see some amazing places and make unforgettable memories.


Budget, budget, budget!


I can't emphasise this enough. I have a little 'budget spreadsheet' that is really simple to do and just tracks my income and outgoings each month. I do a forecast 3-4 months in advance and try to enter things like birthdays I need to buy for, nights out, etc. 

It probably takes me about ten minutes to update and seeing everything in black and white kinda makes you think. It definitely means you have a new mindset for the month and know exactly how much disposable income you have. I use a credit card with cashback to buy pretty much everything but have a direct debit to clear it off in full.

I totally notice that if I forget to check my budget for the month ahead I end up spending way more money, so it's a really good habit to get into. It forces you to look at everything you are spending and decide if that iced chai skinny latte habit is really worth it to miss out on Paris with your mates. That brings me onto my next point...

Prioritise your spend on day to day items


I know we all want the best of everything but if you want to see the sunrise at Angkor Wat or cycle round Vietnam's countryside then you're going to have to choose your spending wisely. I love eating out but I try not to do it all the time and cook whenever I can. I go for special offers all the time when dining out. If you're a student make sure you've got your NUS or Unidays card and flash it everywhere.

When I was in an office I took a packed lunch religiously. I rarely buy hot drinks when I am out and about and always carry my own water bottle. Little habit changes like this really add up when you think about it. If I am out drinking I try and stick to drinks offers or share a bottle of wine with my friend rather than buying lots of expensive cocktails, knowing that this will help me afford to travel which I will enjoy far more than a few cocktails!

I drive my other half mad with my meal planning but I really plan our food shops to make sure there is no waste - it's good for the environment and your purse, so feels like a double win! We have vegetarian meals at least once or twice a week.

I also try to save as much as I can on transport. I avoid taxis unless I really need one (usually late at night when I don't feel safe walking) and try to park in the cheapest places.

How I afford to travel all the time

Learn to do your own beauty treatments


Before I wanted to travel all the time I used to be well into the salon beauty treatments and talk about my beautician like she was my best mate. Since I discovered the joys of seeing sunrise in a new place far surpass seeing a new colour on my nails I have started to try and do as many beauty treatments as possible at home and this literally saves me £100's.

The first DIY job I tried was eyebrows and I'll seriously never look back. Now I have practised for a good few years I can do a really good job at home myself using two amazing products I buy on Amazon. I get these tiny waxing strips from Parissa and they are fantastic at only £8.99 for 32 strips. I find I use around 5 or 6 strips per wax so they last ages with no pain and easy to use.

I also tint my own brows using the Eyelure tint which I find incredible - take a look here. It is so affordable at £6.99 for the full kit - the same kit is still going strong for me after a year and I find the results basically as good as the salon. Follow the instructions carefully and make sure you pick the right colour. I have linked the dark brown which is perfect for me but I do two rounds to get them the shade I like. I promise this product is a total game changer!

I also do my own gel mani and pedi using a kit I bought from Sensationail. For under £50 (the cost of two professional manicures for me) you can buy the starter kit on amazon here. This will get you your curing lamp, primer, base and top coat, nail file, cleanser, nail remover kit and a deep berry colour to get you started.

It does take some practise to get them to stay on for longer than a few days but once you've got the knack it's a dream. I reckon I am saving £500+ every year by using my own nail machine - that could be a week's holiday! I absolutely find this a reasonable sacrifice to be able to afford to travel the world.

If you're lazy like me it not only saves you money doing your nails at home but also time - you can squeeze in a manicure whilst you binge on Netflix rather than trying to rush into town for it. There are 80 colours available from Sensationail so definitely a shade for everyone. I also have some amazing 'cuticle nippers' which help get that nice clean finish for my manicure - you can find them on Amazon here

How I afford to travel all the time


Try to resist 'fast fashion'


Now there is no way I am going to lie to you and say I don't give in to a high street binge now and again but I try to stick to Primark and H&M now to enable me to spend my hard earned cash on travel instead. I love a charity shop bargain, especially in affluent areas as you can find some really good buys for next to nothing.

After my recent style makeover I learnt what colours and shapes suit me and how to build a capsule wardrobe. Before buying an item of clothing now I have three questions:

1. Does it suit my style and colouring?
2. Can I think of 3 ways I will wear this with other items in my wardrobe?
3. Will I still think about this in a week if I don't buy it?

I find this really helps me avoid impulse purchases that will stay on the hanger with their tags on for eternity crying 'pick me, pick me' whenever I open my wardrobe!

Another great tip I picked up years ago is to withdraw the amount you are willing to spend in cash before you head out shopping and leave your cards at home so you are unable to overspend.

Look out for deals


I think this is a mindset that once you get into you will actually find quite satisfying, especially when you can then afford to travel somewhere fabulous with the savings! I am an absolute deal fiend. I hardly buy anything without googling 'discount codes for X' and finding at least 10% off.

You'll be amazed how many online brands have discount codes buried on the web somewhere. Sometimes if you fill your online basket then leave it you will get an email offering you money off to go back and complete your purchase.

For bigger purchases such as insurance I swear by Martin Lewis's site The Money Saving Expert and will read up on here as well as using comparison sites. Just live by the motto that you will never pay full price for something and I guarantee you'll be on that beach with a cocktail feeling very smug that you basically covered it with that 10% off code you used the other day...

How I afford to travel all the time

The big one


This is a bold statement but I am going to throw it out there. If you are desperate to see a certain part of the world e.g. South East Asia as we were, then could you consider moving there for a period of time? The main reason we could afford to travel so much this year was that we were living in Singapore which was great for a couple of reasons. 

Singapore is a tax haven with great salaries so your net pay is higher. All the exotic destinations we wanted to visit were very close by. No flight was more than £100 or so, and it was so easy to get around. It made sense to do it this way and get Asia 'out of our system' so we could then come back to the UK and save for the big purchases like a house and a car. 

If you do fancy a stint abroad but have your reservations, read my 10 common fears before moving abroad and I guarantee you'll be inspired to give it a go!

Dubai is another fantastic place to live for this reason as Emirates are so well connected. There is no way we would have seen the places we have from the UK as we would never have been able to afford the flights.

Never overpay for the trip itself


This is definitely one for its own blog post so look out for this soon. It's all well and good saving all this money for your travels but you must plan your trips strategically as well! 

Try not to travel at peak season in your destination. We managed to get a good deal for the Maldives by visiting in August which isn't ideal weather wise but we actually had beautiful weather for most of our stay. We always use comparison sites such as Skyscanner and Booking.com

I hope you enjoyed reading these tips and have gained an insight into how I afford to travel regularly. Hopefully it has given you the motivation to save up and make some small changes to get out there and travel yourself! If you enjoyed this post please follow my pages on Instagram and Facebook to get your fix of colourful travel photos daily.

This post contains some affiliate links which earn me a tiny commission if you use one at no cost to you. I only ever recommend something which I have tried and tested myself and love. To read my full disclaimer and privacy policy, click here.

How I afford to travel all the time



28 comments :

  1. What an amazing and refreshing post! You’re so right luck plays a part and I always feel grateful to have the opportunity to travel. These are really great tips on saving to make that next trip a reality :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks lovely, I am so glad you enjoyed it! M x

      Delete
  2. Super tips. These ideas will go a long way to squeezing another few holidays out of someone’s pocket. I see a lot of what you say in myself. Like you it drives my other half mad. I hadn’t realised you moved to Singapore I thought you were still up in Newcastle.Thanks for sharing

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for reading, glad you emjoyed it. I am back now :) moved there at the start of this year to pack in seeing 10 countries then headed home after 8 months - the best time ever!

      Delete
  3. Great post! Priorities are very important when it comes to saving. Some people save for new car, new phone, new wardrobe, and some of us save for traveling. I don't mind giving up on a new dress if it means I can pay for a night somewhere abroad. I also have a money jar, where I put in coins. It adds up quite quickly and you don't miss the coins that you put in there.

    Janja | seekingwonderful.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes this is so true. I love your coin jar idea - that is brilliant! Thanks for reading. Melis x

      Delete
  4. Living abroad is actually an incredible tip, that would save insane amounts of money- I just dont have the confidence just yet, maybe one day! Thank you for these tips x
    MY recent post: https://lifeofellabella.blogspot.com/2018/11/real-talk-power-of-makeup.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is the most amazing thing you'll do, I promise! It has changed my life. Maybe one for the future :) thanks for reading! M x

      Delete
  5. Love these tips! Budgeting is so key

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes it's the only way to get to see these exciting places!

      Delete
  6. Love this post! Some really great tips as well! I have recently started doing monthly spreadsheet budget and it does make a difference. Your tip about clothes is so true I really must start leaving my card at home so I can’t splurge hahah. I truly wish I could move abroad but sadly not a option for me currently, I look forward to reading your next post – Elle x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading and I’m glad you enjoyed it! Yeah it’s so hard not to buy clothes but it really helps - or I just don’t go in the shops any more if I can avoid it! :)

      Delete
  7. Thank you so much for such an honest blog post. Travelling has never really appealed to me before, but now it is beginning to tempt, and my daughters are asking when they can go on a plane like their friends are doing. Now I need to find some more paid work to pay for it... ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am glad you enjoyed it. Of course it's not for everyone and money is a huge issue. Hopefully you can do it :) Travel doesn't have to be abroad anyway there are so many parts of the UK I haven't explored yet!

      Delete
  8. Enjoyed reading these tips. We use many of them too, and it nice to read we aren't the only ones who prioritize spending on travel. For example, I'm happy to eat simple foods for dinners each night to be able to eat fantastic meals on an annual cruise ship vacation.

    My favorite part:

    "I see so many social media posts and quotes saying 'quit your job and do what you love' but it's just not that easy and most of us have to work and save madly to afford to visit the places we lust after."

    So true!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks I am glad you enjoyed reading. Just checked out your blog and looks like you're an avid money saver as well, it is worth it to enjoy our beautiful world!

      Delete
  9. This is so true. I did the whole 'quit my job' thing BUT I saved for ages before that and I make similar small sacrifices to keep it up.
    I'll have to dig into your posts on Singapore - thinking of stopping there on the way back from New Zealand :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah excellent yes I have a few - 48 hour guide, things to do when it's raining (it rains loads!) and the best rooftop bars! Got so many more to write it's just finding the time. I quit my job in the end as it was getting me so down, but I am really glad I had the savings behind me to do it.

      Delete
  10. Really enjoyed reading this,I moved from Norway to the UK back in 2008 with my then 4 year old daughter. We would love to travel more, but as my daughter is full-time studying at the moment, travelling only happens during the holidays. I've forwarded her this post as I know she would love to travel the world in a few years time. Great advice!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks I am glad you enjoyed it. That's such an amazing thing to do! I was in Turkey until I was 4 and love the fact I have experienced childhood in different countries. I hope your daughter enjoys it and it inspires her to start saving now :)

      Delete
  11. Great tips! It's really all about priorities!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it! Melis

      Delete
  12. I would have never thought of moving abroad a year to travel but I think it would be worth it! Great article!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Whilst it sounds bold and expensive at first, it does get the travelling 'out of your system' in one go and has totally worked for me. I am now really happy to settle down!

      Delete
  13. I'm rubbish at budgeting for travel if I'm honest - I could do so much better! I'm very impulsive, book things a year in advance and then worry about paying for it all later. It seems to have worked so far ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah I was exactly the same before we wanted to visit so many countries in quick succession then I realised my usual method won't work! I'm sure now we are back in the UK and travelling less I can relax on the hardcore budgeting front a bit :)

      Delete
  14. Great tips that are not the "norm" on budgeting content. I love that you're honest about it and know how lucky you are to get to do what you do. It's not for everyone to just "quit and go." Thanks for your candidness! <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, I do get sick of reading 'positive quotes' that actually get people down who can't just chuck in the towel and travel immediately so thought I'd give some actual real advice! I am glad you enjoyed it. Melis

      Delete