Who funds your trips? Is it the person that takes your pictures? How much money do you make? Do you work remotely? How rich are you? (I wish) What do you do?  How many leave days do you have? How do you afford to travel?…and my all my time favorite; will you ever settle down? Do you ever see yourself getting married? These questions come from curious well-meaning people. I love traveling. The following are some of the methods I apply to afford travel, I hope they come in handy.

Saving

I wish my folks would tell me, “child, it’s all fake, we are millionaires, we were just teaching you to be humble.” Since it is not going to happen, I have to save. In my opinion, this is the first commandment of travel hacks. It is also the toughest. Saving is no doubt the most essential part of traveling. You have to commit yourself. Create a savings account and set a standing order on your income. The savings account should be inaccessible for a period of time for your own good. The length of time depends on where you intend to travel to and the number of days you wish to spend on the trip.  Look, something always comes up when it comes to money, and you may be tempted to use that cash. If you intend to save, act like that money is the Bermuda triangle.

At Kilifi Creek: I saved a couple of months for this trip

With that said, may the forces of discipline be upon us as we try to save.

Accommodation

Avid travelers recommend great places to stay.  They indicate hostels and hotels they occupy on their trips and it is up to me to decide if I can afford  the place. Once I make a decision, I will use booking.com to reserve a spot or email the hotel directly. I love booking.com because payment is upon arrival. In case I can’t find a hotel on booking.com, I email the hotel directly. Backpackers hostels are very affordable.

At Demani Lodge, Zanzibar

In fact, if you wish to keep accommodation costs low, use backpacker’s lodges. I use them when I am traveling alone since it allows me to meet fellow travelers.

Travelling Solo

What happens though when all your friends cannot make it for a trip, you have been looking forward to? SNAKES! Okay, I kid. Unavoidable circumstances arise that force your friends to bail. You may choose to cancel altogether and reschedule or travel solo. I often go with the second option. I am currently planning a solo trip through Southern Africa. I will share my experience on my blog soon after I get back in one piece.

Travel as a group

Travelling as a group helps deal with loneliness. You are in the company of people you love and care for.

Lamu, Kenya

What’s more is that you get to cost share on tourist activities and sometimes accommodation. It is definitely cheaper to travel as a group.

Visas

Did you know there are at least 40 countries a person with a Kenyan passport can visit visa free? As a new traveler, these could be great countries to start with. Most of the time I give these regions preference unless the people I am traveling with decide otherwise.

At Prison Island, Zanzibar; Tanzania is visa-free

If all the visa-free countries are not your cup of tea, then prepare yourself to deal with embassies. If you want to visit a country like South Africa and you do not want to book a flight unless you are sure you will get a visa, get a travel agent to make a dummy return ticket for you before booking a flight. Once you get your visa, you can go ahead and book your flight.

Leave days

I wish I worked remotely. Heaven knows I wish I did. I have an 8 to 5. I utilize my annual leave days carefully. At the beginning of the year, I decide where I want to visit and when exactly. I make sure it is periods we are not busy, as for me it is usually towards the end of the month, so I make sure I do not book leave days on such days. Also, I plan my days around days that coincide with holidays such as Easter holidays, or Mashujaa days. Such extra days mean a lot when you are on the road. Christmas is a no for me though. Everything is super expensive on Christmas holidays. I am also keen to travel on low tourist seasons because activities are a bit cheaper and places tend to be a little less overcrowded.

Al Awir Desert, Dubai. I took advantage of the long Easter weekend.

Unnecessary costs

I was talking to my colleague who is an avid solo traveler a couple of months ago. She had just come back from Mauritius, and I asked her how she manages to travel.  She said, “I live like a Miser.” She continued to expound “I avoid partying every weekend, I carry packed lunch to work, my car is 1300cc, I make my nails once a month, and sometimes I make my hair myself.” These costs seem trivial at a glance, but once you sit down and do the math annually, it might add up to a flight ticket.  Note that there is nothing wrong with partying and spoiling yourself to designer bags and shoes. It all depends on one’s priorities. If you have a love for travel, you ought to make such sacrifices.

Cheap flights

Cheap flights are my saving grace. Let’s face it, a return ticket will probably be the most expensive item on your trip.  You may want to take advantage of flight deals. You may also want to compare prices different airlines offer on skyscanner.com. Another thing is I decide months earlier where I want to visit, so I book my return flight three months before. Best believe three months before will make a difference.

Relationships & Travel

Compared to most people my age, my priorities sometimes seem upside down. Sometimes I wonder if I am normal then I laugh quietly to myself because anyone who knows me knows I am completely unorthodox. Listen, there is nothing wrong with wanting a family in your early 20’s, my God people out there have the cutest families that make my heart melt. It is gold to have a family that adores you to death. There’s nothing wrong with not wanting these things at this age either. It does not mean I do not want them. Travelling should not be seen for people who do not want to settle down. We have feelings too.

Generally, travel is a lot of fun. However, you need to do lots of research before packing your bags, especially when visiting other countries.  You need to know beforehand how to act prim and proper in some cultures. Get tips from other travelers if you can. I always message avid travelers for queries about visiting certain places and honestly, most of these famous travelers will respond to your questions. They are always happy to help.

If you are crazy about traveling, what are you waiting for? Happy Travels!

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— Winnie Rioba

Rioba is an avid traveler and writes about her many escapades and hair journey on her blog JUST RIOBA.

( Images in this particular blog post provided by Rioba )