How to holiday when you have no money

How to holiday when you have no money. Choices you need to make to make your dreams a reality.

It has to be said that we holiday a lot as a family. We take chunks of time out of our busy school and work routines to go and experience different parts of our backyard and the world together. In the last few years we have taken many small trips into the countryside, driven around Australia, visited Niagara Falls and New York and snowboarded in Whistler. Soon we will visit Macchu Picchu in Peru.

Over the years I have had many people tell me that we are very lucky to be able to do these things. I agree that we are lucky but perhaps not in the way you might think. My husband and I are lucky that we both have good jobs, healthy children and matching attitudes towards what is important in our lives.

Yes we are teachers, so we do have holiday time to be able to do these things together. What we don’t have is an unlimited supply of funds. I believe that it’s the choices we have made in the way we spend our money that might be slightly different to the norm.

Once the basic needs of life are fulfilled: we have a roof over our heads, enough food to eat and clothes to keep us warm; everyone has a different priority for the way they spend their money.

We choose where to spend our money.

We are all different in the things we enjoy doing and the way we prioritise our spending.

  • A relative has spent their money on a boat. They love to go out fishing, snorkelling and swimming with their children.
  • A friend has a camper van. They enjoy getting away from the bustle of the city for the weekend and love to find out-of-the way bush camping spots to explore with their kids and dogs.
  • An old Uni friend got great enjoyment out of spending time with his horses. Not a cheap pastime when it involves events most weekends.
  • Another friend put every spare cent into his car.
  • Yet another friend loves fashion and is always the best dressed woman in the room.
  • What do we like? We like to travel.

The choices we made so we could afford our holiday.

We like to go away on holiday and prioritise our spending so that we can do it. We are prepared to go without some things in order to be able to afford it. None of us are the slightest bit interested in fashion and wearing the latest styles. We dress neatly and nicely but we don’t spend a lot of money to do so. (All the designer labels in my wardrobe come from the op shop.) We don’t buy new cars. We very rarely eat out. Our children’s bedrooms are not overflowing with toys. We do our own home maintenance and fix things before they need to be replaced. We make gifts or give the gift of our time. It’s the combination of these small choices made every day that mean we can afford to go away on holiday as often as we do.

The holiday has been a long time coming.

I have to explain that overseas holidays have not always been the norm for us. Not all of our family holidays have involved leaving the country or spending long stretches of time away from home. We actually did not set foot on a plane for 12 years after starting our family. This did not mean however that we sat at home. We still took small trips and got away from the everyday grind of life with small children. It’s amazing how three days camping by the beach can make you feel as refreshed as if you have spent three weeks away.

Getting away from it all without spending a fortune.

A friend of ours has a bush block not far from a lovely beach down south. We camped on that block for years just to give ourselves a break. It cost us nothing in accommodation, we lived on sausages and paid a small fee to the caravan park up the road every couple of days so we could clean ourselves up. Mostly we just spent our time at the beach and explored what the countryside had to offer. We almost made it a challenge to see how much we could do without spending a cent.

Are we lucky that we can see so much of this amazing world of ours? Yes, of course we are and we know it. It’s not been without sacrifices along the way but these have been made willingly.

How can you do it too?

My challenge to you today is to decide what it is you most want to do. Once you have done that, decide what it is you are willing to do without in order to make your dream a reality. For a very small minority of people it is possible to have everything. For the rest of us there are choices to be made. What will you choose to do?

If you are not sure what you want to do, check out My Life Roadmap here for some goal setting assistance.