Take the trip of a lifetime: The Save and Splurge Lifestyle

Brooke Saward in Stockholm
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At the end of this year, I will have visited 6 out of 7 continents and before long I’ll complete my mission of the seventh when I get on board a trip to Antarctica, hopefully in 2015.

But how do you do it? How do you take the trip of a lifetime?

– the most common question I am asked to this day.

At just 22 years of age I have visited somewhere between 40-50 countries (I get a different result each time I count), have flown on hundreds of flights around the world, and have now made it my job to travel the world full time.

Poolside in Vietnam

Poolside in Vietnam

I grew up in Australia – one of the world’s most remote countries in terms of travelling. Most people I meet react with the same gaze of equal admiration and jealousy when they meet an Australian, followed by an “I’d LOVE to go to Australia one day”. I left almost 6 months ago to take the trip of a lifetime.

Since leaving Australia almost 6 months ago for my year-long journey around the world stepping foot on all inhabited continents (you can argue Antarctica is inhabited if you like for arguments sake) – including Oceania, Asia, Europe, North America, South America, and Africa + The Middle East.

But prior to this whirlwind journey around the world I had already travelled overseas in my short 22 years of living – not once and indeed not twice, but 11 times. Before you jump to the assumption I will save you the trouble – my parents have not payed a cent of my travels. They were all self funded.

So the part you have been waiting for – how did I do it?

The Save and Splurge Lifestyle

The “Save and Splurge” philosophy I have been living by since I first travelled overseas over a decade ago is simple, easy to achieve, and rewarding all in one. While it is as simple as the title suggests, I’ll do you all a favour and spell it out for you so there are no excuses about ‘not being able to afford to travel’. I point blank refuse to accept that as a legitimate excuse as to why you would love to travel but cannot afford to do so.

I will however accept alternative excuses such as family commitments, work commitments, school commitments, and so on and so forth. If those are the choices you have made in your life, then you have chosen not to be able to travel. But if you claim you would love to see the world but can’t afford to do so? I simply cannot accept that as the truth in it’s purest form.

So here we go, the save and splurge lifestyle explained…

Travel costs money – so go on and get some

I’m not going to argue with you on this one – travelling the world costs money. The only way you are going to acquire money (unless you’ve sourced a money tree, in which case we should become friends immediately), then you’re going to have to work for it.

Sure, some of the lucky .00000000000001 of the world are lucky enough to have everything ‘handed to them’, but for the majority of us it’s a little harder. Besides, there’s no gain to be made from sitting back and pointing the green jealousy monster finger… Lucky them!

For the rest of us, we need to work. Lots.

The save and splurge lifestyle is incredibly rewarding – you get to spend your hard earned pennies on luxury experiences or goods that you are taught to believe are beyond your means. So of course you have to work your butt off to be able to afford them, but the reward is more than worth your while when you know you have earned this experience yourself. A luxury holiday costing thousands of dollars isn’t going to come easy, but if you want it badly enough, it’s yours.

Save like you know a GFC is coming

It’s one thing to earn money, and it’s another thing to actually save it. When I was studying at university full time I was working around 60 hours a week on a casual wage – meaning I was earning quite a substantial income for a university student studying my Bachelor’s Degree. But none of this would have actually meant anything if I had have lived the ‘typical’ uni lifestyle of partying on weekends, keeping up with trends by having all the ‘in things’, and so on and so forth. So I saved like I was preparing for the apocalypse and spent nearly $0 of everything I earned. Here are my top 5 ways to save money and have almost $0 expenditure costs:

1. Live with your parents – this is an obvious and sure-fire way to save a lot of money (as opposed to paying weekly or monthly rent). It also means you won’t have electricity bills, water bills, and if you’re lucky like me (my parents are angels) – no food expenses, laundry expenses, etc. etc.

2. Sell your car – not for the initial financial gain, but for the long-term savings on fuel, insurance, car servicing, and any unexpected costs. But how will you get everywhere? It’s not all doom and gloom! You’d be surprised how many friends/family will offer to give you a ride when you need one, and in the worst-case scenario public transport is your new best friend.

3. Re-think your social calendar – going out with friends on the weekend is great fun, but it is also likely to end up being incredibly expensive – especially for girls trying to play ‘keeping up with the Jones’ and keep on-trend. Re-think the way you socialise – invite your friends over instead of going out to lunch, cook for your friend for dinner, or meet up to take your pets for a stroll instead turning into a wild animal yourself on a Saturday night. Sure, it’s good to indulge once in a while – but not every weekend if you want to save your pennies.

4. Minimise your mandatory costsmandatory costs that are required to live such as food, medical bills and transport can’t be completely negated – but they can be reduced. If you’re doing your own grocery shopping, rethink your diet in a way that will be financially beneficial. For me being a vegetarian reduces the cost of living exponentially, but that doesn’t suit everyone. Cutting back can include reducing sweet treats (also beneficial for the waistline), or switching to frozen veg instead of fresh (though not particularly suitable for all).

5. Eliminate unnecessary costs –  unnecessary costs are just that — unnecessary. Stop going out for dinner and make a nice meal at home, stop going to the movies and watch an old classic at home, reconsider your gym membership and opt for outside fitness… the list is endless.

Keep your eye(s) on the prize

There’s only one thing separating you from your end prize – focus. While it is easy to sit back and be jealous of someone else’s life, don’t forget they have probably (most likely) worked for it. Nothing in this life comes easy to anyone – in one way or another we all face the usual challenges presented by life. Jumping to the conclusion that we ‘can’t’ have something we want, think about how you CAN.


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    June 23, 2015 at 9:42 pm

    Like Cara, I too cannot believe that you worked 60 hours a week whilst at Uni. I worked only part-time whilst studying full-time on both occasions that I went to uni, and it was hard enough doing 25/30hrs work in addition to my Uni workload. 60 hours really does sound like an exaggeration.

    Also, you say you’ve been living the save and splurge lifestyle since you first travelled overseas a decade ago. By my calculations you’ve been self-funding all your travel using the S&S lifestyle since you were 12! Again, this seems a little unbelievable.

    Overall I enjoyed the article, safe travelling 🙂

    June 17, 2015 at 10:36 am

    Good article apart from one thing. Full time uni AND working 60 hours a week (so about 8 hours every day of the week? I hardly believe that. As someone who has studied full time and worked full time at the same time on 40 hours a week, that is only just managable. You mustn’t have had any tutes to go to or slept at all. Im all for working hard, but at least make it a believable goal 🙂

    June 17, 2015 at 9:44 am


    People have to realize that the only thing standing in the way of them and a life filled with travel is themselves. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your tips!

    October 12, 2014 at 6:44 am

    so true how much we can achieve once you drop the “keeping up with the Jones'” mentality! kudos for shining a light on how attainable a life of travel can be… if you CHOOSE it.


    This kind of Season's Sunglasses
    August 18, 2014 at 7:05 am

    Take the trip of a lifetime: The Save and Splurge Lifestyle – WORLD OF WANDERLUSTWORLD OF WANDERLUST

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    June 25, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    This is a awesome post and shared great tips here. I am bringing you some of my favorite splurge or save finds as of lately. Colored aviators and bright prints.

    June 25, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    this is a brilliant post Brooke and very inspring too. I am saving to make that one foreign trip this year which I have been dreaming for long.

    Misha Gillingham
    June 24, 2014 at 3:26 am

    Love this post, Brooke! You are far wiser then any 22 year old I’ve ever met. And glad to learn that you are a vegetarian, like me =)

    June 23, 2014 at 2:53 am

    Love this! I have been reading so many of your articles lately since I recently decided to travel for 5 weeks in 3 weeks!
    I agree that most people’s money disappears in very unnecessary costs, especially eating out… I find it’s wasted money if you eat out more than once a week since it’s so easy to prepare some leftovers every time you cook.
    But I can’t believe you were able to work that much during university!! How did you keep up with the course work and readings?

    Lea Hudson
    June 21, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    I totally relate to this article! People always wonder where my money comes from, but they don’t realise I don’t have the same going-out-every-night lifestyle that they have. I only spend money on (cheap) clothes and travel (and rent). I would LOVE to be able to live with my parents, I think it’s the best way to save money!

    June 21, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    You’re such an inspiration! Looking forward to your future posts! So much beauty to explore…

    Department of Wandering
    June 21, 2014 at 3:16 am

    Great advice, Brooke. I also spend most of what I earn on travel. It takes hard work and a very budget conscious attitude and even more so when you are supporting yourself and can’t rely so much on the help of parents anymore. I wouldn’t have it any other way– I would much rather spend this money on creating incredible experiences than blowing $100 every Friday or Saturday night! Think of how much this adds up to over a whole year!

    June 21, 2014 at 3:15 am

    Excellent post, Brooke! Again, 100% correct. I can’t just sit in one place and wish I had a million pounds to travel the world, I should work for it. And I have started a summer job and will try to save every single penny! To be honest, even if I become half as successful as you, I would be really happy! :)x

    June 21, 2014 at 12:54 am

    Good advice–thanks for sharing! I try to travel as often as possible, and there are definitely ways to make it happen by staying focused and prioritizing things. I’ve done months where I’ve reconsidered every dollar I would spend, trying to spend as little as possible on anything. It’s certainly worth it!

    I also try my best to spend the least while traveling. It’s easy to overindulge once you’re already on a trip, but I definitely think it’s possible to experience culture and simple happiness when you’re already in a new place.

    June 20, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    As a fellow travel blogger, I couldn’t agree more. Traveling costs money but it’s also a priority we make. I am based in the US but my husband and I travel often. We make sacrifices and work hard in our daily lives to do so. People need to understand that it can be done, it’s just about figuring out where your priorities lie!

    June 20, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    My story: I work for travelling. I saved money for one year so I could fly from Greece and make my dream roadtrip accross California! I live alone so I have some costs every month like my rent and my food but otherwise I minimized all the unnecessary costs (I almost forgot what shopping clothes feels like)! The trip worthed EVERY SINGLE PENNY and now I am saving for my next trip to Poland and hopefully next year to UAE!!

    Keep up the good work xx

    June 20, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    Tick, tick, tick!!! Miss Brooke you have totally hit the nail on the head. It comes down to needs and wants. Your blog is of service to so many people and if they read between the lines of your posts you can see how hard you are working at creating a substantial business and you deserve every one of your successes! Love your blogs and IG photos!

    June 20, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    Love these tips! My boyfriend I are saving money for a HUGE (well, maybe not huge for you ;)) Europe trip. We’re trying to push for 4 months. So I’ve implemented most of your tips. I live with my parents, bike to work (still have a car), double thinking before I say yes or no to going out for dinner or a drink, vegan etc. I really need to cut out my gym membership.

    But yah, good for you! Love your blog.

    June 20, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    Such great advice! I’m not currently saving to travel (in the future I will be) as I have other goals in mind first. But I love what you have said about re-thinking the social calendar because it applies to everything. There are so many better things to spend money on over going out and partying every weekend! All the money wasted could be spent on amazing lifetime experiences – like travelling! Keep doing what you’re doing xxx

    June 20, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    Hey Brooke!
    Loved the article considering I have a year and a half ’till I finish my degree and plan on leaving Portugal as soon as I’m done and not coming back for a while.. A really looong while. 🙂 I’m about your age and before I found your blog I found the whole idea of not utilising my Business degree and going travelling instead incredibly scary.. But you’ve become such an inspiration lately and I cannot wait to be done with school and do what you do!
    I have a question, though – were your parents totally okay with you setting off like that after uni? Mine are kind of closed-minded and insist that I get an MBA right after.. I feel bad that they’ve invested in my education and I’m choosing to throw it away.

    Best of luck on your future travels!

    PS – Hope you enjoyed Lisbon!