So, let’s face it. You want to travel, experience new cultures and food. You want to explore crystal clear oceans and hike in gorgeous jungles. But, as usual, there’s one tiny problem. How does someone pay for something like that? Time off of work, money for hotel rooms and food abroad. It can feel pretty impossible!
But, lucky for you, we’ve got some good news. You’re actually just two easy steps away from making your traveling dream a reality. Step 1: Save money. Step 2: Earn money. It really is that easy! Don’t believe us? Keep reading below to get our advice on how to save money for travel.
How to Save Money for Travel
Now that you know you want to travel, you’re faced with a bit of a tricky scenario. How are you going to pay for it? It might feel overwhelming trying to budget for the trip of a lifetime, but trust us, it’s possible.
Simply stick to these next ten steps and you’ll have enough money for your dream trip in no time!
1. Figure out what your dream trip costs
This probably goes without saying. But if you don’t know how much your trip costs, you won’t know how much money to save. Use www.skyscanner.com to find the best deals for flights. Check out www.booking.com or www.hostelbookers.com for cheap, shared accommodations for as low as $10 per night.
Research common food in the area to see how to eat on a budget. Check out what the US dollar conversion rate is to your destination’s currency. All of this information will help you understand exactly how much money you need to save for your trip.
2. Break your trip’s cost down into short and long term goals
Now that you know how much money you need to save, it’s time to set some goals. Budgeting goals, that is.
Budgeting goals will help keep you on track and feeling accomplished.
For example, if you hope to make your dream trip in five months and it’s going to cost you $2,500, do some simple math. Five months is 20 weeks away:
$2500 / 20 weeks = $125 per week or $18 per day
Divide your overall goal of $2,500 by 20 weeks worth of saving…and you get $125 per week. That’s about $18 per day. So now you know you have a daily money savings goal of $18 per day or $125 per week.
But how will you make those savings goals a reality? Keep reading below!
3. Split your budget into ‘Needs’ vs ‘Wants’
This article might be called ‘How to Save Money for Travel,’ but in all honesty, this works for saving money. Period.
Sit down and take a hard look at your expenses. Not just at your costs for rent or groceries. We’re talking about those spur of the moment coffee runs and streaming subscriptions too. Once you have an itemized list of what you spend in a month, categorize these expenses into ‘needs’ and ‘wants.’
Needs being necessary costs such as food, rent, and health expenses. Wants being everything else. Why? Because costs that are ‘wants’ can be cut down dramatically if not completely. And ‘needs’ can be trimmed.
PRO TIP: Instead of grocery shopping at the most expensive store in town, start shopping at a cheaper alternative. Or think about whether your car is 100% necessary. If not, consider selling it and instead get a bike or public transportation pass for the next few months. Sound overwhelming? Don’t worry, we’ll talk you through it more in bullet point number four.
4. Track and cut costs
If it seems like all costs are important, it might help to start and track your spending. Take one week and start to log every single time you spend money. Whether that’s for gas, lunch, coffee, or a cell bill. Make a note of it on your phone (example: “gas – $32.)” At the end of the week, look at your costs and decide what was necessary and what wasn’t.
All those times you spent money eating out can be replaced with making cheaper meals at home. Coffee runs can be replaced with coffee from home in a to-go mug. You can cut down on gas by carpooling to work or walking. If you’re willing to be creative, figuring out how to save money for travel can be exciting rather than stressful.
5. Find free or cheaper alternatives
We get it. Maybe you have a standing dinner date with a friend every week that you’re not willing to let go of. So instead, change it to a lunch date (cheaper menu options) or eat-in at one of your homes. Or perhaps you really do need a new pair of shoes. No problem. But instead of running out to purchase the latest sneaker release, try a thrift store or eBay for better prices. Don’t want to let go of your gym membership and stop exercising? Get a buddy and run together in your neighborhood for free each morning.
Small changes like this are easy to do and don’t have to be permanent. Remember that you have a goal in mind: travel! And it’ll all be worth it when you look up and your desktop screensaver travel destination is your reality!
6. Spend less time with frivolous friends
Let’s be honest. Unfortunately, we all have that one friend that is less than frugal. They buy two $5 coffees every day, the order in lunch, and end the day by ‘treating themselves’ to new shoes. (Spoiler alert: that’s more than $30 a day you can use to travel!)
If you’re really determined to save money, here’s an article on How to Make a Savings Plan in 10 Easy Steps
7. Open a high-interest savings account dedicated to saving for travel
Creating a savings account just for your trip might be your best solution for how to save money for travel. Check with your bank to see if they offer high-interest savings accounts or try Ally Bank online.
Each week, deposit regularly for your travel savings goal. Set a reminder in your phone to do it or set it up so it’s done automatically. Be strict with yourself: all money in this account is for travel and travel only. It’ll make you feel great each week as you watch this account grow closer and closer to your travel goal!
8. Sell unnecessary possessions
We all have those unused electronics, old books, or tired clothes lying around the house taking up space. But, instead of thinking of them as clutter, see them as cash! Have a yard sale or get on an easy, safe selling app like Poshmark, Ebay, Mercari, or LetGo. Before you know it your old stuff can turn into valuable money for your travel budget!
9. Get a side hustle
In the age of the internet, it’s never been easier to make a few quick bucks. Get on an app like Rover and walk dogs for money. Create an account at www.iWriter.com and write articles for cash. Offer local homeowners or business services in your area of expertise, whether that’s social media branding, photography, or landscaping. These small tasks add up quickly and can be done on your own terms. Work weekends, nights, or whenever it works for you!
10. Know your why
It’s true. Some of this advice on how to save money for travel might seem like lots of hard work or sacrifice. But always remind yourself of the payoff: your dream vacation.
Post an inspiring photo of your travel destination on your bathroom mirror and look at it every morning. Watch videos of fun things to do and cool things to eat to get excited about where you’re going. Staying passionate about your trip will keep you motivated to keep saving!
Frequently Asked Questions about How to Save Money for Travel
How Much Should I Save for my Trip?
Of course, we can’t talk about how to save money for travel without talking about how much. Most experts recommend budgeting around $1750 per month when traveling abroad, but this can vary.
Are you traveling to a country where the currency is weaker or stronger than the US dollar? Do you plan on booking lots of excursions or are you happy to live life more frugal as a local? Knowing details like this will help you decide if $1750 per month is too little, too much, or just right.
What is the Ideal Budget for Travelling?
Again, every trip differs since every destination and traveler is different. However, $50 a day is often considered the ‘sweet spot’ for traveling on a budget. This is usually just enough money to enjoy the experience without feeling like you’re stretching your wallet too thin. An example of how a $50 a day travel budget could look might be:
- Accommodations: Book a hostel for around $15 per night. Not only do you get a place to sleep, but oftentimes a light breakfast is also included! (Pro-tip: try to book a hostel where a locker/lockbox is included. That way your valuables can stay safe and you can travel worry-free.)
- Food: Since breakfast is probably covered by the hostel, you’ll only have to worry about lunch and dinner. Try eating at local (not tourist-targeted) restaurants, delis, grocery stores, bakeries, and/or street food. Doing this, you can likely get away with spending $10 per meal. That brings our daily total up to $35. $15 left!
- Other Expenses: Maybe you want to splurge on a few drinks. Go out to a club. Grab a taxi to the next city over. Small extra expenses like this can be where your last $15 for the day goes. Or, save up those extra $15 a day for a week, and you’ve got an extra $105 for a bigger excursion or experience!
How to Make Money on the Side?
Now that you know how to save money for travel, you probably want to know how to make some too. Maybe you want to make extra money while you are still at home to put on your trip. Or perhaps you want a gig you can do while abroad so you can travel for longer or more extravagantly. Whatever your rationale, consider these side hustles:
You can also check out our article: 10 Best Traveling Jobs for Couples
1. Start a Blog or Vlog
If you’ve got a laptop and a cellphone, you can start your own blog or vlog pretty easily. And while it can take a while for these to earn money, it’s definitely possible! Start a year before your trip so you know you can bring in money while you’re on the road. Your blog or vlog can be a great place to sell ad space or use affiliate links to make income.
2. Create an online course
What knowledge do you have that people want? Are you great at being fashionable on a budget? What about pet care? Or gardening? Odds are, if you’re good at something, you can teach others about it for money. Start your own online course on www.Udemy.com or create an ebook about it on Amazon. Both of these take time to create but once they’re completed, it’s pretty easy to make a profit!
3. Become a freelancer
Take photos for local businesses at home or abroad. Redesign their website. Write email marketing campaigns for them. Any of these can be done wherever you are in the world for money!
Thanks for sticking with us to learn all about how to save money for travel. We hope you feel inspired and motivated to make your dream trip a financial reality!
And, of course, we want to know…have you already taken your dream trip? How did you do it? Did you save up at home or make money abroad? If you’ve got any advice to add we’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!
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