Jen Yih3 Comments

How I Afford to Travel

Jen Yih3 Comments
How I Afford to Travel

unfortunately I don't have a trust fund, a sponsor, or a rich boyfriend flying me around the globe. So how am I really affording this? 

Would you like to know all my secret HACKS to traveling? Would you like to know what I'm doing while I'm traveling & the purpose of where and why I pick certain destinations? I don't do it with the special credit card deals (ok some credit card deals) or super duper secret websites that find cheap flights. Here's how I afford to travel:

I worked my ass off.

I pinched pennies.

I sat at a desk job in Honolulu for 1 year, a semi-office job/on-set production job in Portland for another year, followed by another design-ey creative desk job again for another 1.5 or so. 

I don't go shopping. I actually really dislike shopping. 

I don't go out to eat 24/7, I like to cook little vegan/veggie bowls for myself (beans, rice, veggies, and vegan sausage is relatively cheap). I haven't bought meat or cooked it for myself in probably 3 years. 

I don't binge drink & buy fancy cocktails. Well, sometimes I do, but a lot less if we're talking relativity. 

I'm a little selfish and don't buy people stuff. Our family stopped giving xmas gifts mainly because we all have too much sh*t we don't know what to do with it all. 

I lived in my brother's basement and paid cheap rent for almost 2 years, and paid cheap rent elsewhere even before that, and again before that. 

I sold the things I didn't need at a garage sale and on Craigslist or at a resale shop, even my camper van, which was sad. I reminded myself that the $20 dollars I made off those designer jeans I don't ever wear is a night in Bali at a beach bungalow. 

Most of the activities I really love are free or an expensive start-up cost, then relatively free after that: surfing, skiing, hiking, running, climbing, yoga, camping things like that. All are within a 1-hour-ish radius of where I've been living. I pack food, water, the essentials. 

When I travel it is usually on miles & repeat the activity paragraph above, every time I go to Hawaii I set up a hammock between two palm trees at a friends house and surf (bring my own board), hike, run, sun, repeat. 

I do love Alaska Airlines & all of their partners (as a person that lives on the west coast) because once you hit Gold MVP status, your bags (oversized bags including skis and surfboards) fly for free, they have awesome partnerships with other airlines (most benefits transfer), you get a buddy pass every year, and every $1 you spend on your Alaska card = 1 mile. I just bought a ticket to Bali for $29 & 50k miles via Alaska and Emirates. Cool. Loyalty to a credit card or airline is usually a good idea.

Lastly, after stacking a small pot of gold, I resisted the temptation to buy a new house in Portland (as a good future investment) or that new Volkswagon I was eyeing and convince myself that I love my 2004 Jeep (it gets the job done) and pulled the ripcord... I realized I could budget out 3 months of lavish living abroad, 6-8 months of low-budget backpacking, or somewhere right in the middle.

I realized there's never really a great time to quit your job or coordinate with friends or plan the perfect get-away during the off season or perfect swell or snow conditions - so you just go anyway, with or without everything being perfect because that's the point of travel...of everything?

I chose the places carefully based on my passions & a few places that might push me out of my comfort zone. Paris is great & all, but what do I have to learn from it? There's a few things I really truly love & feel inspired by, and I decided to chase after a few destinations that might offer experiences that really..."stoke" the fire. 

So...get to work & start converting all those things you don't need into cold hard cash so you can go live your life.

Questions, comments, concerns?