The ongoing pandemic has brought an unpleasantly abrupt overhaul to life as we know it. However, many of the changes that COVID-19 has created are only temporary. Sure, things like remote work and online shopping will likely remain in vogue for a long time, but an inability to cross international borders is likely going to disappear as soon as the public health crisis is declared at an end.
If you’re a young person who is feeling stifled by the current travel restrictions, don’t worry. Your traveling time will come. In the meantime, here are a few things that you can do to financially prepare for the adventures that are down the road.
Start with a Solid Budget
A budget is always the first step of any good savings scheme. It’s very difficult to save money if you don’t know how much cash you’re making, spending, borrowing, and so on. With that in mind, make sure that you have a solid budget in place by:
- Adding up all of your income: This could include things like your salary or any form of consistent paychecks, a side hustle, and passive income.
- Calculating your predictable expenses: This consists of things like rent, school loan payments, car loan payments, and groceries.
- Consider your discretionary spending: How much money do you tend to spend on non-predictable expenses like entertainment or eating out?
Understanding the amount of money you’re making compared to the amount of money you’re spending is important. It provides you with a critical foundation to build on. By analyzing how much money you have and how you spend it you can separate your wants from your needs, paving the way for the savings to follow.
Once you have a firm budget in place, it’s time to set some goals. What kind of travel are you considering soon?
Do you live in Upstate New York and you want to visit somewhere nearby, like the Big Apple or the Adirondacks? If that’s the case, you’re looking at expenses in the range of hundreds of dollars. If you live in California and you’re thinking about backpacking through Europe for two months, though, you’re looking at a much steeper bill.
Gauging the nature and scope of your travels can help you set reasonable goals as you begin to save money for the future.
Improve Your Credit
When it comes to saving money, your first thoughts may revolve around things like setting aside cash and opening up a savings account — and these are certainly worthwhile things to do. However, there are several other subtle ways that you can indirectly save for your traveling adventures.
One of these is improving your credit score. Good credit is an essential part of healthy modern finances. This is because your credit score can have an impact on a ton of critical life activities, such as:
- Getting a good interest rate on a loan: Good interest rates mean lower overall quantities of cash spent on interest.
- Being approved as a renter: If you find a quality establishment at a good rate, your credit score can help you get approved as a renter.
- Landing a good job: Often your credit score can factor into getting hired, as it reflects things like responsibility, competency, and trustworthiness.
In addition to all of these, having good credit means you can open up credit cards. These can often be ideal alternatives to using cash while you’re traveling. If they’re lost, you can cancel them with a quick phone call. Just remember to call beforehand and let the credit card company know that you’ll be using your card in a different area, or your card may get shut down by the provider as soon as you use it in another location for the first time.
Work on Your Lifestyle
Often evaluating the way that you live your life can be a lucrative endeavor. Numerous activities can creep into one’s lifestyle and slowly drain away money. Take a few minutes and consider what things you do regularly that are costing you money in unnecessary ways, such as:
- Buying convenience foods: Are you eating out too often? Are you paying double for time-saving freezer meals? Convenience foods may be useful, but that user-friendly aspect often comes at a cost.
- Having your food delivered: Everything from using a personal shopper with Instacart to having your food delivered with GrubHub can quickly eat into your disposable income.
- Maintaining too many streaming subscriptions: If you have more than one or two subscriptions, consider canceling extra ones and then churning your services regularly.
- Buying in small quantities: If an item isn’t perishable, consider buying it in bulk. You may have to store it, but you can often save significant amounts of money over the long run.
By reevaluating your lifestyle, you can ensure that you’re saving money wherever you can in anticipation of the adventures that tomorrow will bring.
Study the Places You Want to Visit
If you know that you want to visit an area like Italy or the Poconos, consider using your interests to help with your savings efforts. For instance, avoid spending money on entertainment services like renting a movie or buying a game. Instead, spend time reading up on the areas that you want to visit.
This doesn’t just help you avoid spending money in the short term. It also equips you with valuable information that can help you travel affordably when the time comes. Additionally, it can alert you to possible opportunities to study abroad or even pick up work as an adventure guide or travel writer to get paid while you travel.
Using the Present to Save for the Future
The inability to travel during the pandemic may feel discouraging at the moment. However, if you use the delay to better prepare your finances, you may end up being grateful for the wait once all is said and done.
It doesn’t matter if you’re crafting a budget, improving your credit, or evaluating your lifestyle. By making a concerted effort to save money in the here and now, you ensure that you’ll be in the best possible financial shape when the time to travel finally arrives.