Too Broke To Travel? What To Do When You Don’t Have Money To Travel

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Too Broke To TravelI’m a big proponent of travel as a way to open minds and expand horizons. I especially support traveling with kids (I wrote a whole book about it). But I get it. Sometimes you don’t have money to travel. Maybe you need to use your emergency fund to fix the roof. Get braces for someone. Fix the washing machine. Maybe you don’t even have an emergency fund. Sometimes you’re too broke to travel.

So I get it. So what do you do now? How do you expand horizons and open minds without setting foot in another country?

Start with why

Remember, the point of this isn’t to brag about how many countries you’ve been to, or to collect a bunch of souvenirs or photographs. The point is to introduce something new into your life. In our highly customizable world, this is getting harder to do unless you make a conscious effort. You can easily read only the news you want, hear only the music you like, see only the things that you already agree with. Start with small steps to get your brain to think about things differently. To see the world from a new angle or perspective. There are ways you can do that at home too.

Start with your commute

Change your route. The paths that you drive or walk everyday have become ingrained. So ingrained that you’ve stopped thinking about them. Have you ever driven home and realized that you can’t remember anything about the drive? That’s because you’re on autopilot. Take a different path tomorrow and you’ll notice more of your surroundings. Your brain is working harder to figure things out. You’ll see something new.

Start with the library

There are an estimated 120,000 libraries in the U.S. You can go inside and check out a book for free. You could get a book about travel or a great memoir. You could also just get a different kind of book than you usually read. If you always read science fiction, try a western. If you’re into romance novels, try historical fiction. You could even [gasp] read non-fiction. Just change your perspective.

Start with the news

But not the news that you’re used to. Pick a news source outside the U.S. and get a different view of what’s important in the world. The following non-U.S. based news sources all have versions in English: Der Spiegel (Germany), Al Jazeera (Qatar), BBC (UK). There are dozens more: Jakarta Post, Cape Times, and The Rio Times just to name a few. Go online and pick one. Next week pick a different one.

Start with a field trip

Too broke to travel means no round trip tickets to Bolivia. It doesn’t mean you can’t go check out a museum or art gallery.

“Too broke to travel” is temporary

You can view this as the status quo or as a temporary setback. Start that emergency fund. Start a savings account labeled “Travel.” Start planning to go see something new in person. Set a deadline for yourself and stick to it.

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