Saving money for anything can be challenging for a lot of people. Saving money for luxury, non-essential things like travel, can be even harder. But when you want to save money for travel, the question can often be: “Where do I start?”
Over the years, I’ve been asked countless times how I afford to travel. For many people, they feel it is unattainable, or something they can only do once they retire. For some people, that is the case. Traveling is a privilege and not everyone has the means to do so, even when they follow these tips below.
Saying that, if you are in a position that you have disposable income, it can take just a few changes to help you get on the right track to saving for your next big adventure.
Track your spending
Let’s start here. First and foremost, you’ll need to track your spending. Where is all your money going? What are you overspending on? What are costs that you can cut back on? By developing a budget, you’ll have a better idea of your finances and what’s coming and going.
I like to use the free app Mint because it does a lot of the heavy lifting for you. Each month you can set your budget (or leave it the same every month), and it’ll track any debit or credit purchases in those categories. I will say, you do need to double check it’s categorized everything accurately, but either way, this can be a great way to identify where you’re overspending and where there is room for improvement.
Once you have a good idea of your spending habits, it’s time to evaluate opportunities to cut back. To get your juices flowing, here are some things you can look at that will help you spend less, and save money for travel:
- Are there cheaper internet or cell phone plans/options available?
- Are you spending too much money on eating out? Morning coffee? Look into building habits to cook at-home more, and meal prep.
- What subscriptions are you paying for that you hardly use?
- When you do need to buy something, are you shopping around and looking for the best deal? Or better, waiting for major sale days like Black Friday?
The biggest way I’ve managed to save for travel is by setting up an auto-withdrawal from my account every few weeks (around payday). Even doing this with $50 a month can add up quickly. With the money automatically leaving my account, I find that I learn to live without it quickly. I also have this money in its own account that I do not ever access for anything except travel. Having this money sit separate from my accounts I use daily, helps ensure I don’t spend it, and allows for the savings to add up!
Not sure what kind of account to open? Financial advisors at your bank can be a great resource to ensure you are set-up properly!
Research before travel
There are a ton of people out there that like to not be planners. They like to hop on a plane, and figure everything else out when they get there. I am not one of those people. I like to do my research and get an idea of how much a trip will cost me beforehand. Not only does this help me feel more organized, but it also gives me an idea of how much I need to save for the trip so I don’t end up overspending.
There are also other benefits of planning in advance. For starters, you have more time to scope out the best deals on accommodations, or activities. Plus, several museums and attractions offer cheaper prices if you book your tickets in advance online.
While researching for your travels, it’s also important to look at your different options for the trip. For example, when I went to East Africa, there were very pricey luxury safaris I could go on, but the cheapest option for me was an overland camping trip. The only way I could reasonably afford this bucket list trip was to travel this way. Had I not done the research, I may have only thought luxury safaris were my only route, and therefore the trip would you unattainable.
Want more tips on how to save money for travel? Check out this post I wrote a few years ago with advice from several other travel bloggers.
Start a side hustle
Side hustle has seriously been the buzz word of the last 5 years, but whether it’s a side hustle, or getting a side job, this can be a great way to have more income that can go towards your travel fund. Look at your hobbies and talents… is there any way to turn them into revenue streams? For example, are you a great graphic designer? Photographer? Social media guru? Can you take on freelance projects outside of your regular job to earn cash doing this for others?
If you can, any money earned from side jobs or projects, put it right into that travel fund. This is a great way to not have to sacrifice your current lifestyle to save, plus it can help you save money for travel quicker! I currently have one consistent freelance client that I write blog content for, and I often take on additional side projects too for extra income.
Saving money doesn’t have to be a burden, it can actually be really exciting to see your savings grow, and even more exciting when you finally have enough for that big trip! Remember that it’s all about reminding yourself of the bigger picture. You’re not going to remember that coffee you buy every morning before work, but you will remember a once in a lifetime trip to that dream destination.
What are your bigger tips to save money to travel? Share them below in the comments!