What Lessons Has Traveling Taught Me About Money?

“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” – John A. Shedd

How to travel the world
New friends in Argentina

There was a moment of silence at the table. We had exhausted all possible conversation topics for the moment. The silence was going to get really awkward. You know that feeling when everyone has nothing left to say even though the party has just barely started? That always ruins the night.

So what did I do? I killed the silence by telling a recent trip story.

The story involved drinks, an exotic location, and interesting characters. Everyone loved the tale and the night resumed. This led to more stories, more jokes, and more laughs. The story had so many sub-stories and sub-topics to dive into. The night was back on track.

The thing with going on frequent trips is that you become the most interesting man in the world to your friends back home.

You always have a story to the tell. You always have something to talk about. You have epic fails and amazing triumphs. You’ve spent nights on the streets. You’ve also spent days on top of the world. You never run out of things to talk about with your friends.

Traveling, partying, and exploring have all taught me a great deal about myself and about life. They’ve also taught me a decent amount about MONEY.

What has travel taught me about money?

Travel the world
I tried bringing in the head band in Panama City Beach

Experiences are everything.

I’m all about experiences and trying new things. I could live with very little. I don’t need many things. Give me my laptop, some fresh clothes, and access to good food.

My friends used to laugh at how empty my condo was. Just the bare bones. Nothing fancy. I didn’t mind this at all. I was never bored. With a mind like mine, you don’t need much to be entertained.

What do you really need? I’d much rather live and experience.

According to this article at Psych Central:

“Even for people who naturally find themselves drawn to material purchases, our results suggest that getting more of a balance between traditional purchases and those that provide you with an experience could lead to greater life satisfaction and well-being.”

I also found another article on Psych Central:

“When you have some discretionary money, it is a good idea to find ways to use it to bring you together with other people.  In the long-run, those purchases will help you to buy some happiness.”

Travel is the best investment that you could make because experiences are way better than things that you’re just going to toss out one day.

You don’t need to be rich to travel.

“It must be nice to have the money to travel.”

This is a common misconception. Everyone generally thinks that you need to be rich to travel. That’s not the case at all. I’ve met some of the poorest people possible on trips. They barely have enough money to scrape by another day. Yet, they use their creativity to find a way to survive another day on the road.

I’ve met folks that have done the following just to stay on the road:

  • Find odd jobs.
  • Work at the hostel in exchange for free stay.
  • Live off nothing.
  • Cook food daily.
  • Save up for months in advance by not going out and not spending money frivolously.

Most “rich people” don’t even get to travel that much because they’re so busy working.

You don’t need to be rich to travel. You don’t even need to have money saved up right now.

I won’t leave you hanging. Studenomics is all about practical tips.

How can you travel when you have no money?

  • Take advantage of low hanging fruit to save up (stay in, eat in, avoid common money traps.)
  • Work program. There are many programs available where you can work in a foreign country.
  • Volunteer. This will help the world, give you meaning to your life, and allow you to see the world.

[Must read: 5 steps to get hired as an English teacher abroad.]

Stop blaming your finances for not traveling. You already have enough money. What you need is less excuses.

Making more money > saving money.

It really is.

The more money I make, the more I want to work. I always explore new options for making money. I want to find new ways to solve problems.

Saving money is just meh.

Making more money is exciting.

Find a way to make more money (hint: start freelancing now) and go after it.

This planet is filled with interesting characters.

“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” – Tim Cahill.

The highlight of every trip has been the people. I don’t care about sights or landmarks. I care about the stories and memories.

When you travel you’re going to feel a plethora of emotions about the various folks that you run into. Everyone makes you feel a different way.

What does this have to do with money? You see that everyone has a unique relationship with their finances. Some folks hoard every penny. Others live like there’s no tomorrow. Some even go into debt because they don’t ever plan on paying this money back (not advised). At the end of the day, it’s your money and you should treat your money however you want to.

We all want the same things.

Everyone just wants validation, love, security, enjoyment and hopes for a better future. The way they verbalise this and work towards it is where things branch off, but we all have the same basic desires. You can relate to everyone in the world if you look past the superficial things that separate you.” — Benny Lewis

We all really want the same things. Money is just a tool that makes most things possible. However, money isn’t the only tool.

You don’t have to win the lottery to enjoy life.

There’s this common image in our minds where we think that we need to win the lottery to travel or have fun. That’s totally not the case. You’re never ever going to win the lottery (sorry the odds are against you) and that’s okay. I don’t even play because I don’t care. If I want more money, I go after it.

You don’t need to win millions to live somewhere else on this planet.

Nobody has their finances figured out 100%.

You don’t need to feel guilty if you don’t have your finances figured out because most people don’t. Most of us just wing it or hope for the best. If you start planning a little today, you’ll be far ahead of the game.

What’s the point of all of this? Where am I going with this?

I want you to invest in a trip.

I want you to save up for a trip and to go on it. You can’t just plan forever and then never go. I want you to actually leave home and explore a little bit.

The rules are simple:

  • Pick a destination.
  • Choose the amount of time you’ll be away for.
  • Plan the escape date.
  • Research.
  • Save up.
  • GO!

Where are you going to go first?

The travel post that you need to read is…

[How-to become your own travel agent for your epic adventure.]

If you want to start traveling or plan some sort of an epic journey, you need to read that article. I share with you every single detail that you could ask for when it comes to organizing an excursion.

I guarantee you that you’ll come back with many lessons from your first trip. I would be one ignorant jerk today if I had never traveled before and explored other cultures.

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