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Christine Wardlaw 2018-5-18

Western Union + Dear Alyne: Save Money to Travel

Dear Alyne is a World Citizen and has been to 72 countries around over the Globe. She is a WU customer and guest blogger who we’ve teamed up with. Follow along with her adventures, here: https://www.instagram.com/dearalyne/    

After traveling to 70 countries, the number one question I get is this: How do you afford to travel so much?

You might think I have rich parents, a high paying job, or a generous boyfriend. But the truth is, I had just one thing… a burning desire to travel!

All of us have priorities, and when I was 17, travel and saving money were mine. So I had to be strategic. I had to make money, and I somehow had to save it! And so it began. I chose an affordable college that I knew I could graduate from without debt. I got a job at a grocery store making $7.25 an hour; minimum wage. Every time I bought something, I had to decide “…is this worth an hour of work? 5 hours of work? 10 Hours of work?”. If it was a $20 dinner, that meant 3 hours of work! If it was new running shoes, that would have been $75 or 10 hours of work. That’s why I ate at home and kept my old running shoes for all 4 years of University!

For transportation, I chose an old free bike over buying a car, because a bike is practically free, and a car comes with the extra costs of gas, repairs parking, and insurance! That’s a lot of money!

For food, instead of eating at restaurants with friends, I choose to eat simple foods at home. Groceries can add up quickly, so I made sure to always base the meals cooked at home on seasonal fruits and vegetables that were on sale each week. That way I could have fresh food AND affordable prices, and be able to save even more money to use on what I loved: travel! Remember: when you eat out even a few times a week it can add up to hundreds of dollars quite quickly.

Last of all, accommodation. I chose to live in a room that was cheaper than everywhere else in order to save money on rent. I even used my old sleeping bag as a blanket! While the house I lived in was old, I loved its charm, and what I loved even more was how much money I was able to save on rent every month.

Each of our situations is different and as simple as it sounds here, we all know saving money isn’t easy. Every time I wanted to buy something I had an inner struggle, and I had to keep my long-term goal in mind. Did I want a nice new winter coat? Or did I want an extra $100 to save for Egypt? Do you want the new iPhone? Or do you want a flight to see Paris for the first time?

Let's just say I never bought an iPhone until I was 27.

But I did visit Paris!

All the time, people want to know. “How can I afford to travel?”, and the answer is simple: It’s a choice. You have to choose to save money or travel over everything else. Day after day. Time after time. Thanks to this mentality, I was able to save around $3000 each school year, and because I backpack and travel on a shoestring, that would last me my entire summer vacation - up to 3 months!

Of course I'm coming from a position of privilege. Not everyone is able to make $7.25 an hour, that's a lot in some countries! But if we're going to be honest, I have friends all over the world who make only a few hundred dollars a month, and because they want to travel more than anything, they find ways to make it happen.

We all need something to look forward to, and for me, that's travel. For me, travel is not a relaxing  beach vacation, it's a necessity. So I make it happen. No matter what.

When something is more important to you than what you eat, what you drive, or where you live …then you'll find a way to afford it.

Let us know how you save to travel below, and see you on the road!

Xx @DearAlyne

Want to see more? Watch her video on this topic, here!

This Article was written by

Christine Wardlaw Christine Wardlaw has been at Western Union for five years, specializing in communications and social content strategy. She lives in Denver with her husband and Insta-famous dog @rangergsp, exploring the mountains in Colorado and the eclectic food scene in the city.

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