3 ways to fund long-term travel

financing travel

Going on a 200-day round-the-world trip, cycling through Canada, travelling around Australia in a van... Do you have serious travel plans but are wondering how to finance your adventure? Organizations, companies and even individuals might be able to help you make your travel dreams a reality. Though the financial aid you may get will usually only cover part of your travel related expenses, it will often enable you to enhance your international experience and strengthen its credibility. Spotlight on 3 ways to fund long-term travel.

1. Get a travel grant!

Various organizations or associations allocate travel grants each year. Of course, financial aid is granted to people who have a well-defined travel project. Criteria for obtaining a grant are highly variable: age of the applicant, type of travel (responsible tourism, sports or cultural travel...) and originality of the project... To apply for a grant, you can’t just have a vague idea of the purpose of your trip! Competition can be quite fierce as in most cases a judge is responsible for selecting the best projects of the year. Expect to have to submit an application and/or convince during an interview.

The amount or money you receive can also be quite different from one grant program to another. In return, you may be required to keep a travel journal, write a report or organize an exhibition.

A few examples of travel grants

  • National Geographic Young Explorers Grants (YEG): USD2,000 to USD5,000 grants designed for 18 to 25 year old individuals pursuing exploration, research or conservation projects.
  • The Royal Geographic Society and BBC Journey of a Lifetime Award: GBP5,000 awarded every year to an individual over 18 who plans an inspiring journey anywhere in the world.
  • Huckberry Explorer’s gants: USD1,000 to help fund a worthwhile and challenging adventure (3 awards per year).

2. Find sponsors!

To promote brand image and raise brand awareness, some companies sponsor projects, especially when related to their business or when there is a solidarity goal. Are you planning a long cycling trip? Why don’t you get in touch with a cyclist equipment brand? Do you intend to make many quality videos during your round the word world trip? Send your sponsorship request to a video camera supplier! Companies can support you by funding part of your trip or providing specific equipment for example.

Do note that contacting a business without having made clear and detailed travel plans is quite useless. Prepare an application explaining your project, your needs and the benefits of a potential sponsorship. Be sure you appear on the web, through a blog and social networks.

3. Try crowdfunding!

Are your travel plans quite offbeat? Did you set yourself an unusual challenge? Total strangers could help you start your project! A growing number of crowdfunding sites allow you to publish your project and request donations. Use platforms such as Trevolta, Ulule or Kickstarter to present you meaningful trip, its purpose and your goals. To raise funds, being convincing is the key: make a neat presentation, clearly explain how you will use the money collected through crowdfunding, imagine ways to reward donors... The website on which you published your project will usually take a 5 to 8% commission on the total amount collected.

Using your savings is not the only way to finance a long journey: you can also bet on creativity!

To find out more about travel funding:

Go to nationalgeographic.com and rgs.org.

Date of publication Jan 5 2015

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