You want to travel but you don’t have enough vacation time from work, and you have a mortgage and other bills to pay. So you never end up going on that trip, and opt instead to go on short, week-long vacations to get away.
I hear this a lot from readers, friends, and family members. We had the same concerns when we booked our honeymoon in late 2013, not knowing whether we would be able to be paid for the time off.
My husband does not get much vacation time from his job each year (just the statutory minimum) and because we got married in our hometown, he needed to take some time off for the wedding.
I left my full-time job with excellent benefits and vacation time the week of the wedding for a temporary position offering me a raise but no benefits or vacation time at all.
This left both of us with no income from day jobs when we went on our trip.
I can also tell you that I worked very little on our trip. Because of the nature of the honeymoon – travelling to third world countries in South Asia and spending a large portion of the time trekking and/or travelling on unreliable busses, with our bags in the capable hands of strong young Nepali men – I did not bring my laptop. Any work that I did manage to get done was via my iPhone, through a weak and unreliable wifi signal.
Despite our lack of income for the month we were gone, we still have a mortgage and bills to pay. It was surprisingly simple to prepare financially for no income for a month. Here’s how we did it:
Ramping Up the Side Income
Besides the day jobs, both J and I have side income. J runs a small eCommerce business that we built earlier this year, based on the things that I design, and I have some decent side income from my various side hustles.
When we knew that we’d be left without an income during our honeymoon, so we got to work making extra money. Between following up with clients, raising product prices, and working more, we were able to save even more than we’d normally be able to save.
We Sold Some Things We Weren’t Using
After our wedding and before we left on our trip, I spent the summer cleaning up several of our rooms and listing the things that we didn’t need on Craigslist.
We ended up selling some clothes that we no longer wear, some household items, books, DVDs, and electronics. I didn’t sell things just for money for our trip, but because we got many wedding gifts and we wanted to create space for everything.
I was also horrified when my husband started calling one of our spare rooms the “room that makes things disappear”, because we tended to put things in there and close the door, pretending they didn’t exist.
We ended up with just over $500.00 to bring on our trip, which we used for spending money for about half of our time in Kathmandu and Bali.
Cut Back and Check Priorities
When we initially booked our trek, we thought that we would be going away for twelve days. That’s how long our time in Nepal was, and we didn’t consider going anywhere else after that leg. A few weeks later, though, we noticed a good price on a flight to Bali, so we quickly booked it and extended our stay.
We knew that being away for a month would be expensive, both in opportunity and travel costs, we decided to cut back.
Instead of eating out each week like we had previously, we tried to have date nights at home. We watched our grocery spending more closely and cut expenses that we didn’t need but had somehow crept up on us.
This helped not only to provide us with a bigger financial buffer when we did leave, but also ensure that we weren’t charged more than necessary for services when we left.
If you travel to a country with a far lower cost of living, your expenses will be very low when you are travelling. With enough preparation, it’s really not that hard to take off somewhere without an income for a period of time and still come back with money in the bank and crisis free.