The Secret to Traveling When You Don’t Make Much Money

When I was visiting my old roommates in Dallas, Rachel turned to Rachael (the house must be confusing now) and said, “Tricia is great at traveling.  She made like, how much money?”

“$14,000 a year.”

“And how many trips did you take?”

I paused.  In the last year I’d gone to Puerto Rico, Greece, and several trips in the US to places like New Orleans and San Antonio.  “I try to go somewhere every three months or so.”

Rachael, my replacement in the Saranac house, raised her eyebrows.  “How?” she asked.   

Now, I could sugar coat things.  I could point out the necessity of using websites like Groupon and Kayak and airlines like Spirit and Southwest.  I could mention how important it is to be flexible, to go where it’s cheapest instead of where you most want to visit.

But the truth was this:  “I don’t spend money on anything else.  I pretty much never buy clothes.  I have the same winter coat I’ve had since high school.  I only get books and movies from the library.  And I spent $25 a week on groceries, so you have to be okay with living off eggs.”

Rachel and Rachael’s smiles froze.  It was not the Secret they were wanting.  It’s not the secret I want, either!  I would rather have some sneaky fool-proof way to save hundreds of dollars (and again, there are ways to make traveling cheaper, but it’s never going to be dirt cheap).  But in reality, we all have a little spending money.  Well, those of us who are privileged to have spending money have it.  We get to choose where we put that money, and for me, traveling is more important than grown up furniture, eating out multiple times a week, or having new shoes.

There’s no hidden secret.  If you want to travel, save your money and spend it on traveling.  Just…eat scrambled eggs and avocado for lunch for three years, too.

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