"I wish I could afford to travel...."

"I can't afford to travel." | "I wish I could travel." | "Maybe some day I'll be able to...."

Those are just a few of the excuses I hear people use on a daily basis when they talk about their future travel dreams, or see photos of a country across the world they'd love to go to.

This year I decided it would be the year that I leave my state of New Jersey at least once a month, and so far it's shaping up pretty well for that!

  • March 24 - 31: Ireland
  • April 9/10: Washington, DC
  • April 11: NYC
  • April 28 - May 2: Jamaica
  • May 28 - 30: New Hampshire
  • June 2 - 6: Florida
  • June 18 - 20: Washington, DC
  • July 2 - 5: North Carolina
  • August ???: Nashville, Tennessee
  • September 16 - 19: Wheelstock, Woodstock, NY
  • October 22 - 24: New Hampshire
  • November ???: Jamaica

....... And these are only the trips that I have planned! This list doesn't include last-minute day trips, or even those trips and hikes around New Jersey that I enjoy so much.

How do I afford to travel so much as a 22 year old woman living in a state that boasts one of the highest living costs in the United States? And how do I make it work with... work? I figured I would share the info below:

  1. I don't eat out more than 2x/paycheck. My crockpot is my best friend, and you can find some of my favorite meals that typically cost around $20.00 for a whole week of food via this link here. If you aren't a fan of eating the same thing multiple days in a row, make a few meals and freeze half for some variety in your week. I use this Crockpot from Walmart, that costs about $20.00 in stores or online.
  2. I try to steer clear of going out to the bars on the weekends. Instead I spend most of my time hiking the pine barrens or taking surveys on Amazon's Mechanical Turk for some spare money while I watch Netflix at home. 
  3. Every paycheck I take $100-$150 out in cash to use for eating out, going to the bar, going on a paid outing, etc. Once that cash is gone, it's gone. I don't swipe my debit card unless I'm buying groceries or paying for gas.
  4. I travel where my friends are. I save so much money staying with friends or family around the country (and others!) I'm in a unique position where my dad just bought a house in Mandeville, Jamaica, so I'm able to travel there relatively cheap (around $400 - $600 for roundtrip tickets, depending on the time of year), and I've made friends across the country who I can readily visit.
  5. I take smaller trips on 3 or 4 day weekends - or try to travel on "slower" travel days, like leaving on a Monday or Tuesday instead of a Friday night.

These five tips, combines with some serious self-discipline has allowed me the honor of not only getting to see other countries and states, but buy my dad the trip to Ireland I've always wanted to take him on. We leave in 14 days, and you can expect 10,000 photos a day. (Okay, okay, I'm exaggerating.. more like 9,000...)

So how do you travel? Any tips that work for you? And what's your ultimate "dream" destination? Leave a comment below and let me know!