Samuel Turner

Everyone wants to travel when they’re young, or at least they should. You’re just out of school and want to see and explore as far as your wallet will allow. The most common misconception is that travelling is an unaffordable luxury while you’re young, or that you can only afford a month vacation at the maximum. I’ve been travelling for a year and I’d like to tell you how it’s possible to see the world while you’re young and not jeopardise your financial future doing so.

young travellers

Planned trips are far too expensive

Want to travel the world while you’re young? Start off with ditching organised tours. Yes, they can be fun and a great way to meet people but they are extortionately expensive and you can do so much more if you do it by yourself. Of course this takes planning but the positives outweigh the negatives and will definitely save you thousands. I’ve personally been on one before that I really did enjoy but felt a lack of freedom as well. When you travel independently you can do whatever you like, whenever you want and of course save buckets of money at the same time.


You own the most invaluable asset ever – time

When you’re young you have what everyone older wants – your youth, little to no responsibilities and (seemingly) unlimited time. Arguably you will never get another moment like this again in which you are truly free. So why not make the most of it? Ditch the casual job and pick up a backpack. You can always make money, but you can’t always travel, which links to my next point.


You have the rest of your life to work until you die

So many people I know have not really travelled, due to their perceived necessity to immediately jump from school to their prospective careers. There seems to be an unspoken social rule that you will miss out on your hopes and dreams if you don’t dive headfirst into the workforce. To a certain extent this is true - you have a finite time to make money and beginning early will assist in you climbing the corporate ladder. But a year or two will matter little and the long-term pang of regret will outweigh the couple of years ahead your peers may have on you.  You have to ask yourself, do you want to work away your youth or enjoy it?


Embrace your stinginess

Travelling the world will of course take money. You will have to work hard for it. But in many Western countries, you can make a decent income even while being quite young. This means you may have a high disposable income, but you should be wary on how you spend it. Every time you get paid, automatically transfer into an account you can’t touch with high interest. I personally requested an account that would cancel my interest if I touched the money - ensuring I never made a withdrawal. But don’t see it as a burden – embrace your stinginess. I always saw it as an exciting investment into my future. Every dollar I saved was a dollar I could spend overseas.


The longer you travel, the cheaper it becomes

The thing about long term travel is that you become super flexible. If you’re travelling for a short time, you’re a slave to the fluctuating costs of flights as well as the expensive cost of travelling itself. If you are flexible you can pursue other options, catching buses, trains or even cheaper flights on different days.  Therefore the longer you’re staying in place, you won’t just get to appreciate it more, but you’ll also be able to lessen the costs of transportation.


Plan, plan, plan

More planning = more money saved. Simple. If you can spend time planning on getting to a destination, rather than a quick and more expensive option, you can travel for longer. For example, I wanted to get from Marrakesh in Morocco to Ljubljana in Slovenia. A direct flight would have cost me around £420. Instead I looked at cheap flights out of Morocco to other destinations. In the end, it took some time but I caught two flights, an overnight train, a taxi, two metros, and two buses – arriving in Ljubljana with an extra £300 in my pocket.

Make sacrifices and compromises

This is one of the most important points. You won’t be able to travel the world easily if you don’t make sacrifices along the way. Two cups of coffee every day for a year turns into an eye watering amount of money (Note: I do not advocate the banning of live-giving coffee, just be aware of where you can save money!). Think about where your frivolous expenditure goes.

Think about how much you spend (or in my opinion, waste) on alcohol on a weekly basis. If you can afford to drink so much, you can definitely afford to travel. In some places (like where I am now for example - Georgia) beer costs around £1 for two and a half litres and I can guarantee it will taste much better when you’re overseas.

The compromises you need to make will ensure you can travel for longer. For example, sharing a dorm room with 5 other people doesn’t sound incredible but for less than £3 a night in Egypt, why wouldn’t you? Take the long and less comfortable bus, public transport instead of a taxi, and maybe a train instead of flying. Cook your own food where you can, as most accommodation options have facilities for you to do so. Always be on the lookout to save money where you can and you’ll realise you have a lot larger budget than initially expected – and well on your way to seeing the world.


Don’t forget:

  • Set saving goals but smell the roses along the way. Treat yourself for reaching financial benchmarks but stay on track.
  • Backpacking is the easiest way to travel the world cheaply. However, don’t think this necessarily means that you will be roughing it. Most hostels are comfortable, affordable and a great way to meet people.


Samuel Turner is an Australian journalist with a passion for adventure, travel and food. Follow him on Instagram @turnernator and Facebook Samuel Turner.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and are meant as travel inspiration only. They do not reflect the opinions of Cover-More Insurance. You should always read the Policy Documents available from your travel insurance provider to understand the limits, exclusions and conditions of your policy and to ensure any activities you undertake are covered by your policy.