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A recent survey from travel tour company Contiki found that many 18- to 35-year-olds would give up everything from sex to coffee to Netflix to satisfy their wanderlust. But given the time and expense, traveling the world is easier said than done.
INSIDER spoke to travel bloggers and experts to find out how to budget time and money for a vacation without sacrificing too much.
Here are nine tips that will help you to go on the vacation of your dreams.
Set up a bank account specifically for saving travel funds.
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Alexis Tiacoh, PR specialist for Expedia and travel blogger, said she simply became smarter about her budget.
“I’ve had to sacrifice excessive spending in order to travel. Whenever I start planning a trip, I have to put my debit and credit cards on ice! That means refraining from $10 customized orders at Starbucks, buying shoes, and going crazy at HomeGoods,” Alexis told INSIDER.
She also transfers money from every paycheck to a bank account dedicated to travel so she’s not tempted to use it.
Cut out impulsive, unnecessary purchases — and track your spending.
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Giving up Netflix? It might not seem significant, but the money accrues over time. By examining what you spend each month, you can figure out what you’d be happy to spend less on or eliminate completely.
“Make a list to calculate your expenses and figure out where you can cut back. $10 saved here, $30 more there … it adds up quickly!” he told INSIDER.
Sally Elbassir, the Los Angeles-based foodie travel blogger behind Passport & Plates and social media manager, agreed.
“When I worked in West Los Angeles, lunch near the office would often cost me anywhere between $10-$15 each day. Pre-made salads or wraps from the grocery store cost $5 and making my own meal cost me even less. Being a little more conscious of how you spend your money can go a long way in saving for travel,” Sally told INSIDER.
That especially includes spending on fashion.
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“Some of the things I gave up for my journey abroad are mainly related to fashion,” Mo, Bali-based scuba instructor and travel blogger at Travelust 101, admitted to INSIDER. She said before traveling she would spend hundreds of dollars each month on makeup and clothes.
Now, she only adds to her wardrobe as needed.
“After spending 13 years in New York City, capital of world fashion, it was an enormous relief (particularly to my bank account) when I stopped worrying about how I should look, and instead focus on how to live a life I love.”
You can still eat and drink out — just be smart about it.
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While plenty of 18-35 year-olds are willing to give up beer or carbs, it’s okay to indulge in socializing out – in fact, it’s practically unavoidable.
“I ‘supplement’ my meals when I go out to eat,” Gabby Beckford, a Data Quality Engineer and travel blogger at Packs Light, told INSIDER. “At 23 eating and drinking out are almost impossible to miss as social occasions, but it can be so expensive. So now I eat a snack or even a small meal before I go out to eat with my friends so that I can actually be happy ordering that salad or just getting an appetizer.”
She says it’s a win-win situation since she not only saves money, but she also gets the social benefits of meeting up with friends. Plus, she finds supplementing meals at home helps her make healthier choices.
Don’t ignore your “home base.”
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Omar Oualili, a tech employee, travel blogger at In a City Near You, and student, said he’s been to 52 countries – but he hasn’t explored the city where he lives (London) much.
“It’s a great city to live in but it’s more like a hub to work, study, and travel to other destinations. If I make two city breaks a month, I’m too tired and not bothered to do anything on the weekends I spend in London,” he admitted to INSIDER.
He said he knows a lot of people who “give up” on their hometowns or home countries to travel, and he’s trying to overcome this by being a traveler in his city more often. Whether it’s a full-blown staycation with a booked hotel or simply a day exploring a new neighborhood, treating where you live as a destination might just give you a new appreciation for it.
“That way I can experience it differently and see it from an angle that does not involve a commute to work or a close deadline to an essay at university.”
Think carefully about how you use your paid vacation days.
Vacation deprivation is a real thing – Expedia even conducted a survey about it and found American workers take the least amount of vacation days in the world.
“[Vacation] gives you a chance to relax and recharge and clear your head,” Alison Sullivan, a career trend expert at the website Glassdoor told Healthline. “Vacations reduces the stress that can build up when you are working, working, working.”
So instead of letting those paid days off go to waste, actually use them. By tacking them onto a long holiday weekend, you can extend a short vacation to be even longer.
“The biggest sacrifice I do have to make is time,” admitted Anna Beyder, PR professional and travel blogger at Stay Roaming. “I only have so much paid time off and have to factor in weekend birthday getaways, bachelorettes, weddings, and so forth.”
She said this year she is missing Thanksgiving with her family in order to use the paid holiday for a trip.
Sarah Serakalala is a South Africa native living in Spain and she runs the travel blog Cheap in Madrid. She has had similar experiences.
“I have given up being part of the big moments (like birthdays, Christmas) and small moments (like outings) with some of my closest family members. It is just not the same not physically been there,” Sarah told INSIDER.
Juggling family obligations with the desire to take a trip and limited vacation days (sometimes as little as 10, according to CNBC) can be a challenge, but it’s ultimately up to you to decide how you’d like to spend that time.
Don’t waste endless hours on apps that don’t have to do with travel.
Jen Ruiz, founder of the solo female travel blog Jen on a Jet Plane, told INSIDER, “I’ve given up dating to travel, deleting Tinder and all other apps and devoting my time to researching new destinations and hunting for flight deals instead of swiping.”
She said last year she took 20 trips in 12 months, all while employed full-time as an attorney. Jen found deals like a $38 flight to New Zealand and a $16 flight to Ecuador.
You don’t have to dedicate all your time to scouring the corners of the internet for cheap flight deals. Sign up on sites like Scott’s Cheap Flights or set airfare alerts to get notified when there are error fares, flash sales, or price drops.
“Fly with budget airlines to reach popular places like Europe and consider travel hacking for hard-to-reach places, like New Zealand or South Africa,” Jen told INSIDER. “The better you get at finding deals, the fewer sacrifices you’ll have to make to incorporate travel into your life.”
You don’t have to sacrifice family time to travel.
“I feel parents today are too quick to sacrifice their lives and marriages for kids. Most of us have created child-centered families where our children hold priority over our time, energy, and attention,” Tamiko told INSIDER.
“While I may have missed out on important events, my daughter will also understand the importance of self-care, setting boundaries, and the importance of travel all which are equally as important as seeing her perform at a cheer competition,” she added.
Carol Cain, travel blogger at Girl Gone Travel and founder of social media marketing and branding agency BraveWorld.Media, has seen the benefits of traveling with her kids, especially now that they’re in their teens.
“We ‘trained’ our little ones on how to sit quietly, be respectful of personal space, and tolerate long distances while sitting still while on long road trips across the country. Now, as teenagers, they are not only better traveled, but in many cases more polite and better behaved than most adult travelers,” she told INSIDER.
It’s important to remember what you gain from traveling, too.
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With all this talk about sacrificing things for travel, it’s easy to forget how much it benefits you.
Dana Hooshmand, adventure writer who co-founded Discover Discomfort, gave up a six-figure Silicon Valley career in order to travel more. He doesn’t look at it as a loss, though.
“Travel doesn’t have to be about giving things up,” Dana told INSIDER. “Think of all you can gain: you can learn a language (put that Spanish to use!), volunteer to gain amazing life experience, kick ass at a martial arts boot camp, and start to understand a foreign culture. These all even help your career, because they make you stand out. If you travel to learn something new, you’ll bring home more than what you left with.”
Mo agreed. “[It doesn’t] feel like ‘sacrifice’ when you are working towards a goal. It’s just about resetting priorities and shifting perspective.”
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