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how i afford to travel how can i afford to travel where is tara povey top irish travel blog

This is something I get asked CONSTANTLY.  So I’m just going to tell you everything about how I can afford to travel, even if it’s not cool or if it’s kind of boring. I think that’s kind of better anyway. There is no big secret to cheap travel. I haven’t been robbing banks ( people suggest this far too regularly, maybe it’s my love of balaclavas? Or dead president masks?). Keep reading and you’ll see that most of the reasons that I can afford to travel will be things that you can do too.

First things first, I am neither a trust fund baby, nor a prostitute (not that there’s anything wrong with either). Sorry guys, all of THIS *gestures sassily to self* is not for sale. So that rules two common guesses out . But let’s get down to the nitty gritty, how I can afford to travel so much. One girl, one year, sixteen countries, what’s my secret?


Being a Pharmacist

how i afford to travel how can i afford to travel where is tara povey top irish travel blog

I’m afraid my big secret is that I have a job that pays well. Sounds simple? Well, I guess it kind of is in one respect. However, I had to finish a degree and a Masters in order to get that job. And, honestly, it’s an extremely stressful and responsible job to walk into when you’re 23. I worked for 2.5 years, saving a bit of money every month while still spending more than enough to enjoy myself. So, when the time came around to travel, I had a pretty healthy looking savings account.

That’s not me bragging, I’m just stating a fact. You did ask how I can afford to travel after all.

In the past year I have probably spent about half of my savings. But I’ve been to 16 countries (excluding the UK & Ireland), had the MOST AMAZING experiences ever and met some incredible people. I could have spent less, but I’m not really a shoe-string traveller. I like cheap travel but I LOVE comfort and convenience. I’ll always be willing to pay a bit extra for that, though maybe not TOO much extra.

The other incredibly convenient thing is that my job allows me to come back to work whenever I need to. So at the moment I’m working for 2 months back in Devon to top up my savings before I head off again. Not a luxury too many people are afforded, which I appreciate (Gotta throw that in just in case my manager is reading, hah ).

Most big companies offer a “career break/sabbatical” policy (which is what I’m currently enjoying). If you like your job and want to return to it after travelling make sure you ask your manager/ HR department if there’s one in place in your company

**UPDATE** – I’ve been on the road for over two years now and have spent all of my savings. However, now I make money from my website and do occasional pharmacy days. If you want to read more about this make sure you check out my incredibly honest article, DRUGS, DEPRESSION & TRAVELLING THE WORLD. 

The Blog

how i afford to travel how can i afford to travel where is tara povey top irish travel blog

Then there is the whole travel blog thing. In the beginning that didn’t offer TOO much of an advantage. But once I gained a fair amount of traffic and social media attention I ended up getting free or discounted stays/trips/flights etc. Not that it’s exactly free, as there is a lot of work involved in social media coverage and write ups etc. I spend a lot of time in nice places staring at screens. The reality of travel blogging is not always glamorous

However, now this has become a big part of how I afford to travel. Obviously this has dramatically reduced the cost of travelling and I am extremely thankful for that. I’ve worked with some great companies and look forward to working with many more in 2017!

**UPDATE** I’ve luckily gotten to point now where I actually make money from my website as well, not always enough to live on. But it’s definitely better than nothing.

You can set up your own website too! The travel blogging community is a friendly, helpful one that isn’t quite over saturated yet, unlike other kinds of blogging. 

Freelance Work / Etsy Selling 

how i afford to travel how can i afford to travel where is tara povey top irish travel blog

This is not a massive contributor to how I afford to travel, but it does make a difference. Before I left the UK in October 2014 I had started selling drawings (not just drugs) and hand decorated shoes on ETSY. This gave me a little bit of extra income to play with. Not much at all, seriously very little, but anything helps.

Now, I have started taking on paid free-lance writing assignments for other websites, which again provides a little bit of extra income for my travels. Hopefully this will increase in the future!! So if I can’t find cheap travel at least I’ll have the money to pay for it.

Also, now that I’m back in Ireland I’m thinking about selling the shoes again. Good idea? Any takers??

There are a tonne of different ways to make extra money while travelling. I have friends that teach English via Skype or that do digital marketing for companies remotely. There are PLENTY of options to earn while you travel. 


If you haven’t heard of it, you need to get ON this. Essentially you just stay in someone’s house/apartment/castle, whatever! It’s often been a lifesaver for me during high season or when there’s a major event on in a city that I completely forgot about. Hotels will usually hike their prices up, but I can usually find a bargain on AirBnB that often includes breakfast and other perks. In fact, I’m renting an apartment with them for an entire month in June/July. Other couples do things such as house-sitting. Check out Two Drifters guide on how they afford to travel as a couple for all the deets.

If you haven’t signed up yet, do it here and you’ll get ยฃ24 off your first trip (which in some countries is enough for a free night’s stay)!

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New Friends

The more you travel, the less it costs…… well….. not environmentally (I do feel guilty about that, but I’m a vegetarian so that mildly offsets it, right?? Please say yes!). BUT ANYWAY, the more you travel the more amazing people you meet from all over the world. And if you’re lucky, they’ll help hook you up in some other places in the future. For instance I met Nathalie, an amazing Danish Doctor, while I was kite-surfing in Portugal. Then when I visited Copenhagen she was kind enough to have me stay at her apartment. This makes for cheap travel.

And even more interesting is that I only ended up kite surfing in Portugal because I had previously worked with Surf Experience Portugal and they were cool enough to hook me up with the kite-surfing trip.  This kind of thing happens all the time when you are open to the infinite possibilities that life holds, especially while travelling.

It’s not about using people, I obviously only visit and stay in touch with people I actually like/care about. I love the relationships I build while travelling.

Obviously anyone can do this! Make friends, stay on their sofas, make more friends, go visit them. It might be tricky if you’re extremely shy, but have a couple of shots, get some dutch courage and make some friends!

Going Home

how i afford to travel how can i afford to travel where is tara povey top irish travel blog

Right, I know I’m 26, soon to be 27 as my boyfriend loves to remind me, but going home every once in a while saves me SERIOUS money. If I’m ever not sure about where to go next then I head home to Ireland for a week or two and plan my next trip. To be honest, sometimes it’s nice to just stop for a few weeks as well and not have anywhere to be.

Ireland can be expensive so it’s nice to see my friends and family and not have to pay for accommodation for a little while. Plus it gives me time to catch up on my blogging with reliable internet (most of the time). This is a massive part of how I afford to travel. 

HOPEFULLY most of you have this option too. If not to a family home, then to a close friend’s house. 

Travel Smart

You can make travelling as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be. I try to keep my travelling to a mid-range budget. There are a number of things that I do to keep the cost down. I can’t fit them all in this post, but here’s a few that contribute to how I afford to travel!

1)I am a firm believer in budget airlines and cheap travel when I can find it. I love Ryanair as you’ll know from my controversial guide to flying Ryanair.I spent a lot of time travelling around Europe this Summer, mainly because Ryanair & Easyjet make it so cheap and convenient. Even in Asia you have airlines like Air Asia & Cebu Pacific that can be incredibly cheap. You don’t have to spend a lot on transport and I rarely do. Just bring your own entertainment and snacks and it’s grand. Or, failing that, a sleeping pill, hah.

2)I try not to travel during school holidays unless it is absolutely necessary. Obviously the flights are more expensive and the airports are a nightmare.

3)I also always use incognito mode on my browser to book a flight, or clear the cookies, so that the website doesn’t recognise that I’ve looked at the flights before and hence hike the prices up. This is a classic cheap travel tip.

4)I usually stay in guest houses and hostels if I’m travelling solo and have no one to split the cost of a private room with. If it was a country or area I was worried about I sometimes spring for a hotel or private hostel room. However, for instance, I’m off to London next week and I’m paying ยฃ16 a night to stay in a 6 bed dorm door to save money. I, personally, don’t do couch surfing. However, I have friends that do it and they say it’s wonderful and a great way to save a lot of money while travelling.

You can do all of these and more. There are so many ways to make travel fit your budget. 

Christmas/Birthday Presents

Nowadays I ask for all Birthday and Christmas presents from my family to just be cash, or items I will need for travelling! EASY! It sounds a bit mercenary or grinch-like but it really makes a big difference. It has saved me hundreds of pounds without having to do anything and it makes Christmas shopping much easier for everyone. This really is an important part of how I afford to travel. So next time your family/friends ask you what you want for Xmas, you know what to say!

Marry Someone Rich

Joke. Just checking if you were still paying attention. You are, right?? Of course you are, you’re the best.

So there you have it. One girl, one year, sixteen countries. That’s how I did it. Now you know! HOW I AFFORD TO TRAVEL! I think that’s all of my secrets to cheap travel ?? If I think of anything else I’ll update this.

In the mean time, how do YOU afford to travel?? Leave your personal experiences below. Maybe I can try some of your tips.


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22 Responses

  1. Dolores

    Was way ahead of you Tara. My upcoming trip to Austrailia was my suggestion to my 3 kids that for 1 year instead of birthday, Christmas and mothers day pressies they funded my Aus trip. No presents I didn’t really need and 5 weeks in Austrailia for me. Yippee.

  2. Tara

    Thanks Jess! Glad you liked it! Yeah, that’s exactly what I wanted to do. Explain that it’s not some magical secret. Everyone can do it ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Stefan

    Marry someone rich LOL! Another important way we’ve managed to keep travelling long term is finding ways to cut one of our most expensive expenses – the accommodation budget. Couchsurfing’s worked a treat but the blog has now helped us get some sponsored accommodation recently.

  4. Claudia

    I get asked the same question over and over. How do i afford to travel? I had a good job in a previous life. I saved A LOT and have now spent all my savings on travel. And now that money is little, I just don’t spend on anything… I haven’t bought a pair of shoes in 5 years, because I would rather save that money on travel ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Tara

      Awesome. That’s so cool to hear. I’ll probably be the same in 5 years time. Hahah.

  5. Carol Colborn

    Very honest! Me? I am just spending my retirement money to have fun before I die!

  6. Tara

    Hahahaahah. You’re so funny! I dunno how much longer I’ll be selling drugs for to be honest. My soul……. it hurts.

    Marry someone rich! You’re a babe. It’s a legit option!

  7. Jenni

    Great article, i especially like tip3 i never thought about clearing cookies, i always wondered why the price went up if i was shopping around. I cant wait to read your other posts, im just starting out so need all the extra advice i can get

  8. JC

    I am totally jealous about you having a job that you can come back to when you want to. I have a good paying job, but if i were to leave for more than 2 weeks I’d be out of a job, and that let me tell you puts a real damper on my travel plans!

    • Tara

      Heyyyy ๐Ÿ™‚ yeah it’s pretty handy. Though my job are having a few issues paying me at the moment! I seem to have been lost in the system. But hopefully they figure that put soon. Hahah. Are you in America? They’re not GREAT for career breaks/sabbaticals over there are they??

  9. Jojo

    Thank you for such a different perspective on this kind of post. I was hesitant to check on the post from Pinterest figuring it would be like any other but it isn’t and it’s very refreshing!

    I wish my company had a similar policy to “career breaks.” That is something I would love in a job. And like my parents always said, you work hard when you are young and in school to have a better and easier life afterwards that you otherwise wouldn’t.

  10. Day Mikee

    I work as a pharmacist in Philippines. I also love to travel. I have been to few of our countries 7100+ islands. I am very inspired by your travel tips. If those are not PATENTED, I would definitely do and copy your tips for my next trip. Heheheh. Thank you for the amazing advices! Keep on travelling!!!

    • Tara

      Thank you! I have visited the Philippines and I LOVED it ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy travels!

  11. Ben Zweber

    Great post! I’m a firm believer travel can be affordable. And it’s so true about meeting new friends while traveling. The more people you meet, the cheaper it gets and, of course, more fun!

  12. Gabriella

    This just popped up on my Pinterest and it’s a great post! Just subscribed ๐Ÿ™‚

    Can I ask how you approach companies/airlines/etc to get free or discounted things to aid your travels? I just started my travel blog, so I know I have some work to do before I get many followers or anything, but I’d still be interested in knowing! Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Mihela

    Nice one!! My usual answer to question how I afford to travel longterm (just returned from 355 days roaming around South America) is: work hard play hard. Which means I did have a serious 9-5 job (usually until later than 5 anyway) for a couple of years. I am having also a blog but still haven;t got to the phase to try to earn some money or benefits with it. Need first learn more about this options.

    But one of suggestions I got from a longtime traveler and I started to use it as well is Travel slow. So don;t run from one place to another but stick around maybe a week or longer. On top of saving on the transport and maybe some long stay discount rates, you will also get a very good feeling for the local community and a place where you are!
    And some volunteering can help as well to cut down the costs a lot!

  14. Marijs

    Great articles, I definitely found some similarities and totally agree on the meeting people all over the world making travel cheaper. I’ve stayed at many friend’s homes while traveling and it has lowered the cost significantly. Keep up the good work/traveling!


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