There are so many posts to help you with cheap travel or finding the best prices for flights, but what about actually saving for a trip?
Trying to save money for travel can be hard work. It is also a little disheartening to see so many ways to save money that involve losing your social life, coffee, and any fun!
I share how to save for travel for all budgets and lifestyles. With a few simple tweaks, you can find ways to save and have the travel fund you need for your next trip.
How To Save Money
The good news before I start is that it is possible to save money no matter what your income is. From ways to save money on a tight budget to high earners, saving money is more about mindset than what your income is.
More good news is that once you gain a better money mindset, you can save for anything, not just travel. But if you want to blow all that money on travel, I’m not one to judge.
Also, be kind to yourself. You’ve probably picked up some pretty bad money habits in life and it can take a little while to unlearn them.
If you go out and blow your budget one day it’s okay. Remotivate yourself and start again. Don’t give up, feel bad and continue to blow money. Instead, forgive yourself, then go back through these money saving tips to get yourself excited to save for that dream vacation.
The first thing you need to work out is how much to save for a vacation.
Have a goal makes creating a money-saving plan so much easier.
Some things to work out for your travel budget are:
- Local transport
- Travel documents ( passports, visas)
- Destination Experiences
- Travel money for each day
- Vaccinations you may need before travel
- Clothing or equipment
- Food and drink
Some of these are going to be a bit of a guess but try to give yourself a daily budget for things like spending and food. Then add extra. I would much rather come home with some money in my pocket than run short while I am in a destination.
Write down the total travel money you need.
Next, we are going to work out how to save this.
Want to get the most for your money? Click here if you are heading to New Zealand and need some great budget travel tips.
How To Budget And Save Money
Budget is a dirty word for some people, but honestly, it’s time to put on up grown-up pants and make one.
It doesn’t have to be perfect but it does need to be honest.
Take a few hours to sit down and create a budget. You may be surprised at how you handle your money.
The first step to creating travel savings is to be more aware of money.
How To Create A Budget
Firstly write down your incoming funds. This could be your wage, money you make from a hobby, or any other money that comes to you during the month.
Next, and this is where you need to be totally honest with yourself, write your outgoings. Start with big things you pay for like housing, bills, insurance, food etc. To make sure you don’t miss anything go through your bank and card statements.
Any money not spent on these basic necessities put in a separate column for now. We will come back to it later.
Track Your Spending
I want you to track your daily spending…every cent. For a month.
If you find this hard to keep track of, look back through your card transactions, or keep receipts for a whole month. People are often amazed at how much these small, every day spendings add up.
This is only going to work if you are really honest with yourself. So if you spent $50 on coffee in a week..track it. Write it in a notebook, on your phone notes.. anywhere that works for you.
After you have done this for a month work out how this fits into your budget with the spare cash flow you have after necessities.
If you are under the amount in that column you are already ahead, if not, it’s okay, it’s a work in progress.
If your travel fund seems impossible then maybe take a look at your travel budget. Are you dreaming of a luxury 5-star vacation with a backpackers budget? I am not saying it’s impossible but you may want to be more realistic about your trip if you want to stay motivated to make it happen. Or stretch out the time you have to save.
So, now you have how much you need in saving for a vacation, and how much you spend. What’s next?
Best Way To Save Money Fast
Work out when you want to go on your trip and divide the Travel budget by the number of months. Place this amount as a goal in your budget sheet.
How close are you to this amount or how far away? Having a set number to work towards always makes life easier. Once you know exactly how much you need every month to raise a travel fund you can make changes in your spending and lifestyle to make it happen.
If it seems like a huge challenge, don’t give up before you have even started. There are plenty of people who are making travel a reality, you can too!
Now you have an exact figure as your goal, how are you going to make it happen?
How To Raise Money For A Trip
Before saving anything I would suggest making a special travel savings account. Seeing those savings add up is motivation to keep going, plus you are less likely to spend it on something else.
Look for an account with no monthly fees and you could even make sure there is no bank card so you have no temptation of spending before your trip!
Make an automatic monthly transfer of the amount you need to save from your bank account. This way you are committed to the savings plan.
If you are a little nervous of this to start with try small steps like using apps that round up your spending and transfer the amount to your savings account. Qapital and Acorns are a couple to look at.
Another great app for saving is MINT. This app helps you keep track of your budget and is fantastic if you tend to never use cash.
So, how are you going to get this savings account filling up?
Money Saving Tips
An easy way to save money to travel is to work on the money you already have coming in, as this means no extra work, just a little tweaking.
You also need to work out how far you are willing to go for your travel savings. For example, if you are saving for around the world trip of a lifetime, you may be willing to make more changes than if this is a spring break vacation, right?
First, look at all your basic spending and find ways to save money.
- Go through each outcoming and see if there are ways you can realistically save. Shop around for quotes with any bills you pay. Find a cheaper housing solution like a place with cheaper rent, or get a roommate.
- Reduce Your Bills. Find ways to cut your bills. You don’t have to sit in candlelight but maybe turn off electrical items at powerpoints or have shorter showers and save water.
- If you own a car, can you use public transport to save money, carpool or even rent out your car while you are at work?
- Every cent adds up so why not have a travel fund jar or travel piggy bank.
More Ways To Save
- Join up to a cashback program like Ebates or Ibotta.
- Work out if travel hacking with cards will work for you. It’s not best for everyone and if you end up sending more trying to get points then it’s counterproductive. Check out cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
- Do you have unnecessary spending habits? Do you really need subscriptions to all the cable channels? Or can you go without your usual magazine subscription?
- Can you swap something you pay for, for a free activity? For example, instead of a gym membership could you take up running, go for a hike or do a fun Bootcamp style work out with friends? Instead of going out for dinner with your other half or friends could you have a fun night at home? Or have a picnic? Be creative and you can still have lots of fun while saving money.
- Coupons are your BEST friend. Join up to Groupon or other free coupon programs and look out for cheap deals.
- BYO or drink before meeting friends out.
- Find free things to do in your home town. Once you start looking you may be surprised at all the cool free stuff there is to do. From heading to a local park to free talks and activities.
- Make your own lunch. Stop buying lunch out at work. If time is an issue, get prepared and do all your meal prep for the week on Sunday. Even cheaper if you can make some vegetarian meals.
- Skill Swap. Do you have a talent? Swap a service with a friend. If you are amazing at doing nails, swap a free nail session with a friend for getting your hair done by them. Or mow someone’s lawn for them to make you dinner. Be creative.
- Brand Swap. Try buying generic brands more. Okay, not all things are equal but even a few swaps can save you money.
- I promised you wouldn’t go without coffee..but is there a way to save on your coffee? Can you make coffee at home, or buy a smaller size, or just buy one coffee a day rather than three. Add up how much you spend on coffee…is it actually more cost effective to buy your own Coffee Machine For Home?
- Research before you spend money. If you honestly need a new pair of shoes or other items, take your time to find the very best price. Another great tip is to leave it a few days before buying something. Sometimes you rethink or realize you don’t really need it after all.
- Get Classy. Save money on your wardrobe by buying a few good quality items that mix and match, You can brighten them up with cheap accessories for the season or trend.
- Eat out less. I’m not saying never eat out but try to cut down on how often you eat out. Find ways to make this easy and watch your savings grow. Look for cheap eat deals or Happy hour. Plan meals ahead, make a fun themed “bring a plate” dinner with friends, there are lots of ways to save money on food while still having fun.
- Give yourself a splurge amount each week that fits in with your budget. Use this for entertainment, drinks or anything you want. This means you won’t blow out your budget and ever feel like you are going without. If you restrict yourself too much you are more likely to be miserable or even go on a spending spree in rebellion.
- Fed up with your wardrobe? Have a clothes swap with friends. No money spent and new things to wear!
- Find free ways to do things. Instead of paying for shows or courses, find free apps and information online.
If You Are Really Committed To Save
These suggestions are if you are super committed and don’t mind going without to make your travel dreams a reality.
- Move. Bunk with your parents, share with friends. Find a way to pay the least rent possible.
- Sell your car. If public transport is possible, then sell your car and save a fortune.
- Give up your Cell phone plan. It is possible to live completely off wifi if you really want to save big bucks.
- Stop drinking alcohol or smoking.
The Best Saving Tip
One of the best savings hacks I ever learned is to swap not stop. Just like going on a diet. As soon as you try to restrict yourself things get hard. Instead of stopping something altogether, Swap it for a more cost-effective solution.
How To Make More Money
Another great option is to actually make more money and put all that extra income into your travel fund. Some ideas for you to make some extra cash are:
- Sell stuff. Take a look at all your belongings and find things you don’t use or want anymore, then sell them online, in a garage sale or in a store. Not only will you make money but decluttering makes you feel amazing.
- Sell your skills. Are you an amazing knitter, can teach something or put together a website? Sell your services online on somewhere like Etsy or Upwork or in the real world.
- Do a side hustle. Get creative with extra jobs you can do. Dog walking or sitting, Uber driver, pizza delivery or any other small jobs you can do to make some extra cash.
- Instead of gifts from family and friends ask for some help saving for your trip.
Stay Motivated To Save
Making your travel fund a priority is the best way to keep on track with savings.
It’s normal to get fed up of always watching your money or going without things but if you can keep yourself motivated for the adventure ahead of you it will be easier.
Some ways to keep up your motivation to save:
- Creating a vision board and place it where you will see it every day. You can make it a screen saver on your computer or phone, or place it up on a wall in your home.
- Changing passwords to something fun about your trip. It could be the amount you want to save or an amazing destination you are going to see.
- Read books, watch movies about your destination.
- Look through Pinterest for images of all the things you can do on your trip.
- Start a Travel Journal before your trip. You can put savings tackers, travel plans and more here to look over whenever you are feeling unmotivated to save. Find out how to make an amazing travel journal here.
I hope you found all these savings tips helpful. Saving a travel fund doesn’t have to be miserable, it’s all about balance.
Did I miss your favorite travel saving hack? Let me know in the comments so I can add it to the list.
I hope these savings tips have shown you how to save money for travel. Where is your next adventure?