Ok, I get it. If I forgo my venti non-fat $5 Starbucks latte everyday, I will amass fortunes of great wealth and be able to travel indefinitely. It seems every budget and saving article has this same advice – the daily Starbucks habit has become the modern day coupon to clip from spending habits.
What I find most interesting as a traveler, is knowing what that $5 actually means – in real-world terms – to a travel budget and a dream trip.
Knowing this everyday spending-to-travel conversion rate is as essential as knowing the dollars to baht conversion when thinking about saving and budgeting a Big Trip. This understanding and a well-formed travel vision can motivate action into savings and (Whoa!) make your travel dreams come true.
The most common question I received when traveling around the world for two years was, “How can you afford it?” I paid for it by saying “no” to a lot of things and saying “yes” to what that saved dollar meant for a trip – a camel ride in Egypt and volunteering in India. The first step in motivation to save and sacrifice is knowing what your travel dollar is really worth. I sat down with Tara Russell – a “Life Sabbatical & Long-term Travel Coach” – of Three Month Visa Coaching and Consulting and she explained to me how a saved dollar has translated into real-life dream experiences for her clients.
“In America, especially in urban centers, we have a warped sense of what normal things cost.” She expands, “That $5 latte can actually mean a whole day of spending in developing countries.” I can relate. Living in San Francisco, a $50 dinner out with friends every weekend is “normal.” In my experience, just one of those dinners is three days of sweet living in Goa, India – beach front shack, fresh fish dinner, and some Kingfishers drunk while watching the sun set on the Arabian Sea.
To help you save for your Big Trip, Tara has come up with a very unique and impactful way of translating what the skipped coffee, the cheaper bottle of wine, and that bypassed impulse Groupon means for your travel dreams. She’s calculated some of these “saying no to something means saying yes to my travel dreams” conversions for you in this list.
Instead of a Triple Grande Soy Latte and a Fruit Scone at your Local Starbucks ($8.00)
Say Yes to a Hotel Room and Breakfast in Kathmandu, Nepal
Photo by akunamatataon Flickr
Instead of a Salad and Drink at Mixt Greens For Lunch
Photo by zcopley on Flickr
Say Yes to One Day on the Annapurna Trail ($15.00)
Photo by pawanpandey on Flickr
Instead of a bottle of Beringer Private Reserve 2008 ($38.00) on Wine.com
Say Yes to a Personally Guided 3-hour Lecture Tour of Gion, a popular Geisha District, in Kyoto, Japan
Instead of a 60 minute “Fully-Loaded Facial” at Bliss Spa in San Francisco ($180.00 before tip)
Photo by miamism on Flickr
Say Yes to A 5-Day Riverboat Journey into the Brazilian Rainforest
Photo by albertphotograf on Flickr
Instead of Two Tickets at a Movie Theater and a Popcorn ($30.00)
Photo by EvelynGiggles on Flickr
Say Yes to a 90 Minute Aromatherapy Massage at The Sanctuary Resort and Spa on Koh Phangan in Thailand
Photo by victoriapeckham on Flickr
Instead of A Lululemon Tank ($54.00)
(Unless, of course, your dream trip involves a Yoga retreat, then by all means, save for this and that!)
Photo by Carolyn Coles
Say Yes to Admission to Machu Picchu in Peru
Photo by James Wilson on Flickr
Convinced yet? It’s not about deprivation, but choices. Somedays you may choose that bottle of wine or be in desperate need of that facial and that’s OK. It’s all about having the awareness of what each dollar spent means in terms of saving for your Big Trip.
Just remember what Tara says, “Be really aware of where your money is going and make sure that your spending habits are in line with your values. If you get really mindful about your finances,
-Your next dream trip might be hiding at the bottom of that latte.”
About Tara Russell
Tara Russell, CPCC, CDC, is a “Life Sabbatical & Long-term Travel Coach” – a Certified Life and Career Coach with a passion for working with clients who dream of taking time off to travel, live, work, study or volunteer abroad. As the Founder and President of Three Month Visa Coaching and Consulting, her mission is to empower her clients to change their lives (and ultimately the world at large), through meaningful international travel experiences.
- Estimating Your Big Trip Budget
- Best Articles for Planning an RTW Trip
- Kyoto Sights and Nights
- The Sanctuary in Thailand
- Hostels in Kathmandu
- Wikitravel on the Annapurna Circuit
Photo credit: Photo by epSos.de on Flickr