English: Costa Rica (orthographic projection)

Money and travel seem to go hand in hand. I never seem to have enough money to fund all the traveling I’d like to do. So it seems like a shock to most people when the “girl who is always broke” up and decided to visit Costa Rica.

A few weeks before I decided to apply for the International Volunteer Program I took a look at my finances. Since my travel blogging skills don’t earn me many press trips, it looked like my next trip would be coming out of my own pocket.

My finances are in pretty good shape for the most part, I’ve got some good credit balances which I realize isn’t ideal but it works in my case. So basically I’d like to share how it is possible to travel without breaking the bank.

After checking my finances and seeing just how much I could afford I decided to start applying to volunteer programs. The first program that I was accepted to was Spain actually. However after researching and realizing that the flight to Madrid was going to cost about $1200 it was clear that Spain was just to far. That would be the first thing I would look into if I was a newcomer-distance from where you live.

That being said my choices based on proximity were roughly Mexico and Costa Rica. Guess where I chose?

So once I picked Costa Rica it came down to the amount of time I would want to spend volunteering.  1 week seems like too little and 1 month seems like a little too long. So 2 weeks it is! The price will go up or down depending on how long you are planning on staying.

Lets get down to the numbers shall we:

  • My flight to Costa Rica costs $561
  • My program fee (which goes to your host family for food and room) $545
  • My reservation fee $220

So overall we are looking at around $1300 for two weeks. Not too bad in my eyes.

So besides putting a few of those costs on my credit cards I figured out another REALLY great way to get money (no I didn’t stand on the corner).

The great way is to fundraise!  There is actually a website dedicated to this called GoFundMe.com, which makes it really easy to set up your donation page and collect donations as well. The thing with this is to keep an easy goal in mind. Trying to raise more than $500 can seem almost difficult especially in these hard economic times; unless you have wealthy friends, which in that case send them my way!

So if your thinking about fundraising follow these steps:

  • Set a obtainable goal, mine was $200
  • Spread the word, not just in emails
  • Utilize Facebook and Twitter; the majority of my donations came from friends on Facebook
  • Make sure to personally update your progress; saying things such as “10 more people needed to donate $20″ will make people more incline to donate. $20 doesn’t seem like too much money to most people

I was able to raise $200 in a matter of two weeks, its really very simple! 

The long of the short is that traveling doesn’t have to break your bank account. There are many ways of obtaining money to fund your trips.  As long as you are realistic about how much money you can put towards a trip then I don’t see why you shouldn’t be able to travel. Once again I highly recommend volunteering with organisations they are a great way to see the world and do some good at the same time.