There are some experiences in life that are simply worth the money.  Traveling to a far-away land, or just somewhere you haven’t been before is a rewarding experience for your growth as a person– and to me that is priceless.  You cannot let something like finances completely hold you back and shut you out of going on an adventure.  Here are four ways you can make this next trip happen:

1. Budget

Now that the travel itch has hit, you need to immediately start thinking of ways to save money. Grocery bill last week was $115? Find some deals, eat a little cheaper, and save a $20 bill each week. Stop going out to dinner and start cooking for yourself almost every night. Spend time doing free activities at a local park, or if you’re lucky enough, hiking a mountain or relaxing at the beach. Bike to work if you’re able, you’d be surprised to see the difference in how much gas you will use. Set a tangible goal each week, and see if you can surpass it. Over the span of a year, you will have a sizable chunk of expendable income.

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Outside of a little gas money, hiking awesome trails can be free.

2. Enroll in a travel credit card

I was not a big fan of credit cards for a long time. I felt like I spent more than usual because I never saw money exchange hands, though over time, my tune has changed. There are many companies that have cards that can earn travel points towards flights, hotels, and a number of other things relating to travel. When buying those groceries, use the card. Gas? Card. Just be sure to pay it off in full each month in order to avoid paying interest, and you will reap the rewards.

3. Research your destination

If you are saving this diligently for a vacation, then odds are, you will have a number of things you’d like to do when you visit. Make sure to know the location you want to travel to and find out how much things will cost you. Know the exchange rate. Is your currency weaker or stronger there? Look for hotel deals, and consider hostels in order to mitigate this expensive aspect of a vacation. Find some experiences that are cheap, like the aforementioned hikes or beachbumming. Once you know these pieces of information, you will be able to accurately allot money for your stay.

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Just chill on the beach. Chillin’ is free.

4. Buy the tickets and don’t look back

This is the biggest one for me.  There’s a significant amount of fear that goes into making the decision to spend a significant amount of money, especially if money is tight. If you think it could work, then I’m banking on the fact that you can make it happen. Be disciplined and take the necessary steps to make a dream a reality. Life’s too short to live paycheck to paycheck without some real life experiences to help you grow as a person. Just go. It may dent the wallet, but it will be worth every penny.

Post by Pete McKeown, contributor

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