How I Afford Traveling the World By Myself at 21

I don’t travel through any type of program. My parents do not give me money to travel. I don’t have a sugar daddy. There are no travel agents or booking companies that are on standby. I just travel by myself. 🙂

 (Edit: any way of travel is good travel).

Ahhhhh, yes. The question I receive numerous times on the daily.

“How do you do all of this?”

First and foremost, I have learned and still continue to learn “how to travel” every time I step foot somewhere rather than my home state Michigan.

  • $$$: So basically….I work at a restaurant. Aaaaaaand I work there a lot. I save my money. This is the most important thing I can tell you, folks. Spending your money on NEEDS not WANTS. You won’t see me in the Starbucks drive-thru every morning waiting on a Java Chip Frappe to wake me up. You won’t catch me at Applebees for half-off appetizers every Friday night. I don’t go shopping all of the time. I. Am. Cheap. As. Hell. Don’t get me wrong – I go out and have fun sometimes. Just do it wisely. If I do that – I’ll probably pick up an extra shift that week or next. Learning to be a minimalist and learning how to save money is the first step to traveling. Because if you don’t have money… you can’t buy that first plane ticket.

—– How my mind works: “$32 for a cute shirt? Do I need that? No. $32 is a week of accommodation in Thailand. I’m fine.” Self-control….holla!

  • Flights: Speaking of plane tickets…..those can be expensive. My secret weapon for flights is using Skyscanner. There CAN be some tricks to booking your flight – which I have found to be true quite often. Booking your ticket on a Tuesday afternoon around 7 weeks before your trip can typically give you the best price. Of course this isn’t always the case….but it does work a lot. Sign up for e-mail alerts and check your flights daily. Sometimes you’ll find the prices drop dramatically one day – juuuuuuust book it. I’m someone who does a lot of things last minute and I never really have issues with it, either. Meh.
  • Accomodation: This. This. This. This is my #1 money saver, okay? How do I afford traveling? I never stay in a hotel. You heard it here first. I either…

1. Couchsurf, which is free and life-changing. I love staying with locals because they are always INCREDIBLE people/families and I LOVE being able to live day-to-day like a local. There’s nothing quite like it. I still talk to all of my Couchsurfing hosts except like…..one. Good people, good people.

2. Stay in a hostel , which is so disgustingly cheap in so many countries. I typically lean towards using HostelWorld for booking my hostels because it’s easy to use, has all the information you need, and it’s safe/reliable. Example: The photo below is a hostel that I stayed at in Indonesia for almost $6 a night. Yeah…..SIX DOLLARS. I usually stay in the largest mixed room because it’s cheapest. They have female/male only dorms, mixed dorms, or you can rent out your own room. The more people in the room – the cheaper. I’ve stayed in hostel rooms with 20+ people but most tend to have 6-10 beds on average.

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Puji Hostel in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
3.  Volunteering is another super awesome way to travel. The two websites I use are WWOOF or typically I like to use WorkAway. In most cases, you will work for ___ hours a week doing some odd job wherever you find yourself – and instead of getting paid, you receive free accommodation and SOMETIMES free meals. You can do some really cool jobs and learn how to live a more sustainable lifestyle doing this. Highly recommend.

4. AirBnB is an option that I sometimes use if I want to be alone or have a “luxurious” night somewhere. I rarely use AirBnB because I’d rather stay with people – and I’ll never book a room that is more than like $25-$30 a night. That’s too much for a night, haha.

  • Food: This depends on where I am, I suppose. But basically – I don’t go out to restaurants for every meal. I tend to lean towards accommodation that offers a free breakfast. That’s always nice. If I’m not receiving meals, depending on my location, I still tend to eat for super cheap. If I’m in Europe, for example, I’ll stop into a grocery store and pick up bread/meat/cheese/fruit/veggies for cheap and that’ll hold me over for a couple days. Cook your own food. Always look for hostels with kitchens! If I’m in Asia, it’s harder for me to find grocery stores and places to cook. What isn’t hard to find, however, is street food. And this isn’t nasty, unhealthy, street food. This is authentic rice, meat, and veggies that I can become full off of for less than $5. I also tend to eat a lot of fruit when I travel because fruit is primarily cheap everywhere and I could consume fruit for the rest of my life. I do go out to a restaurant every now and then, especially in cheap countries. I like to go out with people I meet in hostels and my couchsurfing hosts. Just be smart about it.
  • Shopping? Souvenirs? Yes, of course I do some shopping when I travel. Nothing extreme. I’ll pick up souvenirs for my parents and my closest friends. I don’t have a lot of room in my backpack and I don’t buy anything heavy because I have to carry that thing on my back for hours at a time sometimes….so not havin’ that. But clothes that I can fold up and little knick-knacks are always good options.
  • Activities: This is what I spend the most money on when traveling – but it’s always worth it. Things like skydiving, scuba diving, paragliding, riding on a gondola in Venice, swimming with sharks, etc….etc….etc….I have ideas on activities that I want to do in certain cities/countries and I always try to allow myself to do them. If that means I have to pick up extra shifts at work or maybe I don’t eat dinner for two days…..so be it. LOL.
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Scuba diving in Hawaii
  • Misc: TREAT YOSELF……wisely. I’ll buy a dessert and I’ll go out and have drinks with people I meet along the way. If I go to Madrid, Spain….you KNOW I’m going to invest in some amazing churros and if I’m in Paris you KNOW I’m going to indulge on some Nutella/Strawberry crepes. And yeah, I’m going to throw back a couple 75¢ beers in Asia with people I meet at my hostel. Also: in some countries you can get full body massages for like $20 soooooooo. Whateva. Life’s too short. TREAT YOSELF. Just don’t be stupid.

Hopefully this blog post helped answer your questions – and hopefully it inspires you and made you realize that traveling the world is SO possible. If you want it – go get it.

Thanks for reading my blog post. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns: please feel free to e-mail me: kimberlyncharters@yahoo.com

Also – follow me on instagram to see travel photos and inspiration almost daily – @waddupkim

  • XOXO, KIM CHARTERS – AS KIM TRAVELS.

 

How I Afford Traveling the World By Myself at 21

Why I chose to gain my education from world travel – to those who I have disappointed.

This post may have a little more text than normal – but I’ll throw in photos too, don’t fret. Bear with me and read on.

I strictly remember a moment months ago where I was visiting my old high school to watch one of their shows for theater. I was walking down the hallway and stumbled by my old high school vice principal. He stopped and greeted me. Typical small talk ensued – and the questions “What are you doing? Where are you going to school?” couldn’t have jumped out of his mouth any faster after our “hello”.

I’m thinking to myself……everyone else he has seen since graduation would probably answer that question like:

  1. “I’m graduating from Michigan State University in 5 months with a Bachelors Degree in business”
  2. “I’m an engineer now – I graduated from Michigan Tech this year”
  3. “I’m a nurse working at the local hospital”

But here I am. Wanna know what my answer was?

“I’m not in school currently. I work at Lucky’s Steakhouse. I decided I’d rather travel the world for now. But!!! I graduated from Delta College with my Associates Degree last semester…..pretty cool, huh?”

I got the whole ‘Aw, Kim. You’re better than that. Get back to school!” spiel. I just kind of smiled…..walked away…..and then thought to myself……

Wait, what? Did he really just say “you’re better than that?” I was 20 years old when he told me this. When he told me this I had traveled to almost 20 countries. When he told me this I had lived with local families from numerous countries: literally living within different cultures and experiencing life from various perspectives. I was gaining education every single second while I traveled. I wasn’t sitting in a desk or writing in a notebook – but I was becoming more and more educated everyday.

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This is the problem. Two words.

Societal norms.

We are expected to graduate from high school and immediately enter a community college or University. We are expected to continue our college education consistently for years and years until we reach the desired degree. Putting ourselves into a massive debt just so we can get a “good job”….that we may or may not be miserable doing…..just so we can…..pay back all that debt? Wait, what? Skkkkuuuuuurt!

No. Not I.

You see….

I’m young. I am now 21. I don’t quite know what I want to do for the rest of my life – but that’s okay. Why should I? I still have a lot to experience and when I fall in love with something I’ll work to make it my career. I’m not going to waste my money and time going to college right now to take random classes and rack up a huge debt under my name. And honestly – I just wanted a break. I’ve been going to school since before I can remember (literally) each and every year.

So….the world is my classroom.

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I get every subject out of it, too.

Sociology. Math. Science. HISTORY. Language. Art. Fitness. Religion. You name it.

I am learning about humans from all around the world. I am learning about their cultures and how they live their daily lives. I am learning about different countries’ history – strolling through ancient sites and ruins in Rome, visiting concentration camps and WWII museums in Germany, or paying a visit to various sacred temples in Indonesia for example. I am seeing and touching what I would be looking at in a textbook.

I’m constantly surrounded by different languages and accents – where I’m picking up words, phrases and rules as I go. I’ve been eye-to-eye with some of the most important/impressive pieces of art in the world at art museums like The Louvre in Paris and the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam. (Yeah, I have a selfie with the Mona Lisa….no big deal). 

I have to use my brain and do math while traveling – estimating costs of plane tickets and how much I spend each day. Converting currency daily and being able to do conversions for distance, weight, temperature, etc…..

I am exposed to different religions everywhere I go – being able to visit their churches, mosques, temples. Going to ceremonies. Experiencing their way of worship.

And of course – I have my fitness class. Not only do I walk miles on end with two large backpacks on both my front and my backside….but I hike. I swim. I scuba. I hike mountains, in the desert, through the water, and sometimes even an occasional volcano. I’ll do yoga in Bali and I’ll scuba dive in Hawaii. My body is constantly moving, on the go, and working hard.

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And I’m happy. 

I am doing what I love to do. I am living my passion. I am living out my dreams and goals.

 

As of right now, I don’t want to be in a classroom setting. I don’t have any idea what I want to do. I’m young. I’m growing. I’m learning. I’m finding myself. And that’s okay.

So – yeah, Mr. EX Vice Principal….if you so happen to read this….

I’m traveling the world instead of going to college right now.

But I’ve got one hell of an open-mind, a big heart, and a zeal for life.

Sorry to dissapoint you….but I’m happy with this lifestyle for now. And that’s all that really matters.

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I am living – not surviving. 

Thanks for reading my blog post. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns: please feel free to e-mail me: kimberlyncharters@yahoo.com

Also – follow me on instagram to see travel photos and inspiration – @waddupkim

  • XOXO, KIM CHARTERS – AS KIM TRAVELS.

 

Why I chose to gain my education from world travel – to those who I have disappointed.