Inspiration & Humour Mountain Bike Tips

9 Tips for Making Your Adventure Dream Come True

December 13, 2013

I know mak­ing your ‘buck­et list’ dreams come true isn’t easy. Life — and bills, and work, and all kinds of oth­er things — keeps get­ting in the way of our best-laid plans. But if we let life keep get­ting in the way of our dreams, we find our­selves one day look­ing back with deep regret at a life not lived accord­ing to our pas­sions and dreams. So I thought I’d write you with a few tips for mak­ing those dreams come true. Hope you enjoy ’em! — 
Mike Brcic, founder/Chief Hap­pi­ness Offi­cer Sacred Rides

How to Finance Your Adventure Dreams and Other Tips

1. Open a Dedicated Savings Account

If you are seri­ous about your effort to fund your trav­els direct­ly and method­i­cal­ly, rather than out of what­ev­er is in your bank account when your trav­el date comes around, this is a crit­i­cal step. In most cas­es the cost to set up an account is zero, save for a bit of your time. If you go this route, make sure you do not face any min­i­mum bal­ance penal­ties when you actu­al­ly start to use and spend down the mon­ey you’ve saved. It may also be use­ful to have ATM and online access to the account, which will let you draw mon­ey direct­ly from the account when book­ing and while you trav­el; this keeps you from min­gling your reg­u­lar accounts with your “trip mon­ey,” guar­an­tee­ing that the mon­ey you set aside for the trip is the mon­ey you actu­al­ly spend. Using a sin­gle, ded­i­cat­ed account will also help you keep on bud­get dur­ing your trip, as the eas­i­est way to know how much you are spend­ing is to track the bal­ance of your spe­cif­ic trav­el account. You can keep an eye on your bal­ance as your trip pro­gress­es, and track the true cost of your trip with­out too much effort.

2. Then Set Up Automatic Transfers

Once you have a ded­i­cat­ed account set up, you have to fill it up. If you don’t trust your­self or fam­i­ly mem­bers to do so, set up an auto­mat­ic trans­fer at a reg­u­lar inter­val to do it for you. This is easy to set up and can real­ly add up over time. A trans­fer of $20/week (~$3/day) adds up to a tidy $1040 by the end of a year; throw in a bit of inter­est in a high-inter­est sav­ings account and you’ve got almost $1100. With­in a cou­ple of years you’ve got enough for a pret­ty awe­some trip. Once the trans­fers start hap­pen­ing you won’t even notice the miss­ing mon­ey, and your dream trip keeps get­ting clos­er and clos­er to actu­al­ly hap­pen­ing. “2 years! That’s a long time to wait!” I hear you say. Well, if you don’t set up a fund for your trav­el dreams, then you may be wait­ing a whole lot longer… like maybe nev­er. If you’ve set up a recur­ring direct deposit for your pay­check, often you can work with your employ­er to have your deposits split among mul­ti­ple accounts. So you could have 1 or 5 or 10 per­cent of your pay­check go straight into your ded­i­cat­ed trav­el account — with­out hav­ing to move it your­self or being tempt­ed to spend it.

3. Let Someone Else Do It for You

If the pre­ced­ing approach sounds like too many trips to the bank branch, you can do the whole thing online — and even have some­one twist your arm. To that end, check out (see a video of a fam­i­ly sav­ing for a trip around the world below), where you choose a sav­ings goal when you set up your account, and let Smar­tyP­ig keep the trans­fers going until you reach your goal. Sub­se­quent­ly you have sev­er­al options on how to col­lect the mon­ey, includ­ing trans­fers back to your bank­ing account, a deb­it card or even gift cards. On top of that, it seems that Smar­tyP­ig offers one of the high­est inter­est rates in the coun­try, so your mon­ey works for you as well.

4. The Trusty Change Jar

I final­ly filled up a large pret­zel jar of spare change recent­ly, and took it to a local bank with a change machine (avoid the super­mar­ket machines, which take 8 per­cent of your sav­ings). I dis­cov­ered that we had accu­mu­lat­ed over $500 of spare change — yeah! Seem impos­si­ble? Not at all — it only takes $1.36/day to get to $500 in a year. If most fam­i­lies have two adults emp­ty­ing their pock­ets into a buck­et every day, the sil­ver adds up fast. 

5. Do a True Budget

It sounds like a gov­ern­ment bud­get office tac­tic, but I encour­age you to do a bud­get that accounts for mon­ey you don’t spend while on your trip. This includes food, low­er ener­gy bills, week­night movies, Net­flix or on-demand rentals, sus­pend­ed paper deliv­ery, etc. This will give you a much more hon­est cash-flow analy­sis of how much your trip is going to cost you. Don’t for­get to fac­tor in non-trav­el costs like board­ing for pets and hir­ing the neigh­bor kid to mow the lawn; in the end, for plus and minus, you will have a bet­ter sense of what the trip actu­al­ly costs. Check out for a great online way to set up a budget.

6. Rent out your place while traveling

Short-term rental sites like allow you to post your apartment/house/room online and rent it out to peo­ple look­ing for a short-term place to stay in your area. If you have a 1‑bedroom apart­ment in a desir­able neigh­bour­hood in a big city, then you can prob­a­bly get about $100/night while you’re away. If you have a whole house to rent out, you could get up to $300/night. If you’re going on a 10-day trip and man­age to rent out your place for the entire dura­tion, that can mean up to a few thou­sand dol­lars toward your trip, per­haps even off­set­ting all of the cost of your trip!

7. Liquidate Directly into a Travel Fund

Almost every­one I know has a plan to get rid of a ton of stuff on eBay or craigslist, and almost all of them have yet to get to it. They need moti­va­tion; the deci­sion to put all monies col­lect­ed direct­ly toward a trav­el fund can pro­vide just that. Once you set up an account of some type per the above, start emp­ty­ing out your clos­ets of all your extra stuff, and fill up your ded­i­cat­ed trav­el accounts with the income. I recent­ly sold a fil­ing cab­i­net for $50, a dish­wash­er for $150, an old “Sports Illus­trat­ed” mag­a­zine for $37 — there’s a cou­ple nights’ stay at a decent hotel right there.

8. Start Collecting Points

Chances are your dream adven­ture involves a flight, and flights can be pret­ty expen­sive and often form the biggest part of your dream trip bud­get. If you aren’t col­lect­ing points yet, start now. First off, get a cred­it card that allows you to redeem points toward flights, unre­strict­ed (i.e. you can book with any air­line, any flight). Many trav­el rewards cred­it cards also offer addi­tion­al perks such as free bag­gage insur­ance and trav­el med­ical insur­ance. Put as many of your dai­ly expens­es as you can onto your cred­it card (but be dili­gent about pay­ing off your bal­ance every month — inter­est rates on cred­it card bal­ances will wipe out any advan­tage of any rewards you earn). If you trav­el fre­quent­ly for busi­ness, then sign up for a loy­al­ty pro­gram with your airline(s) of choice. Most of the big air­lines now belong to air­line net­works so that points earned with a par­tic­u­lar air­line can be redeemed towards oth­er flights with­in the net­work. Make sure you use your loy­al­ty card for every flight! Once it’s time to book your tick­et, even if you don’t have enought points for a free flight most cards will allow you to use some of your points bal­ance towards your flight, sav­ing you at least a few $. 

9. Plan — and Commit — Way in Advance

Whether you’re sav­ing up for that dream moun­tain bike trip in Nepal, a surf trip in Cos­ta Rica, or a month along the Camino de San­ti­a­go, start plan­ning way in advance, even 2 or 3 years out. Make one small but firm com­mit­ment to actu­al­ly mak­ing the trip hap­pen. Whether it’s putting a deposit down on a guid­ed trip, book­ing a hotel, or even book­ing a flight, mak­ing that small com­mit­ment means you have to actu­al­ly back out of some­thing in order to change your mind, which means that you’re less like­ly to waf­fle and change your mind, and more like­ly to actu­al­ly make it hap­pen! Have any addi­tion­al tips for mak­ing your adven­ture dreams come true? Share them in the com­ments below!