How to save money for travel: The complete and actionable guide

If you want to learn how to save money for travel in record time, then you’ve come to the right place. All together, these strategies helped me save not just 10k, 20k, but more than 30k. 

By the time you are done with this post, you will have learned: 

  • lots of actionable money saving tips to execute now
  • a new money mindset
  • a firm commitment to your saving goals 
  • a structured savings plan
Let’s dive in!

 

When I ask others why they don’t travel, the answer almost all of the time is money. 

 

However, what if we paid closer attention to where the money is actually going? 

You don’t need to be rich to travel, you don’t need a trust fund, and you don’t need to get into debt either. We do however, have to set ourselves up for financial success as soon as we can.

Frequent travel is not impossible.  So if you are looking to set up a travel fund or a vacation savings account, then you’ll enjoy learning actionable and proven tips in this post. 

HOW TO SAVE MONEY FOR TRAVEL

When I first started traveling there became a pattern of the frequent DM , “How are you traveling so much?” It was implied that I must be doing something out of the ordinary, to travel. 

And I want you to know, that in fact, there’s no real secret. 

Just like you save up for a car, or for an apartment, it is the same exact way you can save to travel. 

Simpler terms: prioritize saving and limit spending. We’ll get into the actionable tips on how to exactly do this later.

When you prioritize successfully, you’ll hit your goal and be on that trip sooner than you think. Now, it’s time to address your mindset.

FIX YOUR MONEY MINDSET 

If you want to save up for a big trip, or anything really, you need to get into the proper money mindset. You must be responsible with money and finances to save. 

Basically, it’s time to pay very close attention to where the money is going and why. 

For this step, you should do an audit. Think of your overall finances in your life. 

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you manage finances well or is it a stresser. Why?
  • What are your monthly expenses 
  • How are you with savings now
  • What expenses can you remove (that are unneccesary)
  • Is saving a priority or is it on the back burner

The relationship you have with money needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

Whether you have a good or bad relationship, it’s important to understand your finances because it will show you what you need to do.

If you have a bad relationship with money now, that doesn’t mean that can’t change. Don’t get discouraged! That’s why getting into the right mindset, matters. 

You’ll be self aware, know what to do, and can resolve any problems.

Last time I checked, school doesn’t teach you about finances. We get exposed through real life experience. It’s unfortunate, but we all have to start somewhere. 

Which means, the earlier you learn about managing money in life, the more ahead and financially organized you’ll be.

 Things like being scared to look at your credit card and bank account statements, don’t do anyone good so make sure you start to face these adult responsibilities asap.

Commit to your saving goals

The next important thing that will help you is committing to your travel saving goals. Make sure you are committed before you even start. 

When that why is set in stone, it will help keep you going when you feel like giving up. 

It’s easy to say someone wants to save 10,000 dollars but it’s another story when you have work 3 jobs to do so. 

At the end of the day, anyone from your parents, to a financial expert can lay this all out for you but if YOU don’t put in the work you will be at the same place you started. 

It all comes down to you and doing the work towards it.

Stay focused. You want money to travel comfortably, right? 

While ambition is always welcome, it’s important to be patient with yourself and realistic to know how long it’ll take to reach your goals and how much you can actually save. 

Have your commitment clear and know it’s going to take some time. Enjoy the process but don’t let your dreams be so big it ruins your motivation to execute.

Saving isn’t about making crazy goals. Unless you are a millionaire, keep the goals in arms reach. 

 

 

Check into your money mindset, address certain issues that need to be fixed, and commit to saving for the travel goals you have.

Now, it’s time to learn all of my pointers on how to save money for travel so you can start getting started with action after you finish reading.

Lets make travel happen!

make a plan for travel savings

Earlier, you fixed the money mindset, and committed to saving. Now we need to have a plan to implement what you are going to do. The tips that follow are actionable tips to incorporate into this saving plan.

Having a plan helps keep things organized. After each month it is good to revisit what is working and what is not. In other words, is there more you can cut back on to save even more? It will start to naturally become a priority with time.

Every little bit counts. 

GET OUT OF DEBT

 

The first actionable strategy that will help you save to travel, especially long term is to pay off debts. If you owe, you eventually will have to pay that back. 

Not to s0und like a parent here, but why put it off? Responsbility matters with finances.

Being debt free helps you save everything for yourself and results to building up a stronger saving fund with time. 

Interest can catch up if you choose to avoid paying things off and that’s not a useful way to spend money. 

Please note, when referring to paying off these debts, it’s about common debts, such as credit card bills, cell phone bills, and other utility bills. Not about student loans or mortgages that take years to pay off. 

Paying debt off isn’t a neccesary step to learn how to save money for travel, but putting debt off only adds more debt. Meaning the longer it stays the more debt it becomes.

If you want to travel long term or be an expat, its best to manage plans on the road, debt free. This is also something to note if you won’t be working once you start traveling.

 

 

Take action: If you have debt, figure out how much you owe. Use debt calculators to come up with a structured plan.

Know the number, address the problem, pay off the money, become debt free. 

Another tip if your credit allows it is to do a balance transfer from one credit card to another. The point of this is to ideally get an interest free rate from the new card. 

This gives you some time so you can pay the balance off. Average interest free time frames are around 12 months -24 months.

Don’t get trapped and not pay though.

Consistently work on this debt free plan until you don’t owe anything. Once you are at 0 you can save all of your extra money for travel. 

Trust me, every little bit adds up over time

IDENTIFY YOUR EXPENSES 

Before you start your travel fund, you should identify what your expenses are on a monthly basis. 

Doing this allows you to know how much you can actually save for travel with the bills you presently have to pay for.

Now that you know what your expenses are, what are you true needs vs wants? Need = something you need to survive, no exceptions.

Some examples: food, water, shelter, minimal amount of clothing, etc. 

Wants = Things you don’t need but urge to have because you desire them. Some examples: cocktails, frappes, fancy clothes, eating out, etc. 

You don’t need any of this to survive. These are luxuries. The biggest point here is to know what you truly need (to survive) to help identify your pointless expenses. 

The money spent on pointless expenses is the money you could be saving. The more you cut out, the more you will save. How lovely is that?

 

 

Take action: Find a monthly budget template thats right for you. Using this allows you to know your income, document expenses, and helps focus on savings.

Moving forward, it’s also a good tip to ask yourself before you pay for anything, is this a true need or a want? 

Do you really need it? You’d be surprised that we don’t need much as we think we do.

Follow a strict budget

Now that we know about what our expenses are, it’s time to create a budget. Yes, a budget. I know it doesn’t sound sexy, but ish is super important! 

**Pro tip – Organizing an international trip calls for a lot of planning. If you are not sure how much money to save for your next trip, having an idea of your destination helps a lot. 

Figure out what a daily rate would be to visit this destination to make things easier. You can even try to come up with an itinerary so you know what a good ballpark is. 

Always have more money saved to visit a destination than less. This way you have more flexibility and aren’t on such a tight budget.

You can also get started with a travel saving calculator, such as budget trip that gives you spending estimates depending on your destination. 

This way, you know how much to save for travel.

Following a budget lets you successfully live a basic life AND lets you save for your travel fund.

Do you buy gum or potato chips on the way to work? Write that down and include it in your budget. Know what effects your budget and is taking money from you. You can learn more managing budgets through budget workshops or an expense tracker.

LIVE A MINIMAL LIFESTYLE

 

Now that you’ve identified your expenses, I recommend trying to cut unnessary things out by living a minimal lifestyle.  

This prevents useless expenses and more financial burdens for you. 

People get really worked up when they hear the world minimal and think it’s a go hard strike on everything. That’s not the point. 

We as humans are born consumers but we need to address what we need and what we don’t and how that can work for us.

What is minimal? Cambridge Dictionary defines minimal as – very small in amount. 

If you want to travel long term, you have to be mindful of these things.

 

 

This could be hard if you are attached to material things – but think of the bigger picture. Money in your hands or possessions? You pick. 

Have you ever looked at your closet and realized how much of your clothes you DON’T wear? Right. We don’t need all of the crap that ends up collecting dust. 

 

 

Take action: Look into anything you have in excessive amounts. Stop buying whatever you have in excess. Notice you have 10 different face lotions and only use one? Ok, noted, it’s time to stop doing that. 

SELL YOUR UNUSED STUFF

What can you sell that you have an excessive amount of? 

Too many clothes? Video games? Electronics? Sell it! That’s money sitting on the table if you don’t use these items. One mans trash is another mans treasure. 

This will also help clear out your environment which will continue to promote a minimal lifestyle. 

Everyone has stuff they don’t use. The question you have to ask yourself is if you can make money selling it. Odds are, you can.

Take action: Here’s a pro tip, search sell “clothes” online in google and you’ll be pointed in the right direction. Change your search for the object you are trying to sell.

There are infinite ways to start selling your stuff, you have websites, apps, and a good ol’ traditional garage sale. 

Platforms that are worth a recommendation are: The Real Real, Facebook marketplace and Ebay. Heck now you can even sell your old college notes. Made $300 doing that with Studocu.

Search for whatever you can sell ( there’s definitely something) and start making money.

DON’T get into unneccesary debt

People get into debt for common reasons. The usual factors are:

  • poor budget
  • overspending
  • no savings
  • unexpected events

Life happens and things don’t always go as planned, it’s inevitable. However, having a cushion (savings) and some type of financial direction (budget) helps you avoid bad financial obstacles.

The common overall trend for debt is spending more than you earn. The point isn’t to never spend a dollar, it’s to spend wisely.

If you live below your means this won’t be hard. However, if you are spending rent on designer shoes, then it is time to make some stern adjustments.

 

Take action: Are you buying anything that you truly can’t afford? If it is out of budget it is time to make adjustments to stop buying it. 

Get that money back and move it on over to your savings account. If you have stuff, odds are you can sell it and get some money back. 

Moving forward try to only have expenses you can afford and that make sense with your income. 

Avoid financially irresponsible people

We are a product of our environment. If you are hanging around someone who is financially irresponsible, odds are you will be too. 

Some people don’t know how to take no for an answer and if you feel like things get financially pushy, just avoid certain people rather than having to give explanations. 

The perfect excuse is you are tired from work or be honest, you are trying to save money. It might bother people in the beginning but they’ll get used to it later on. Either way, it’s your wallet not theirs to dictate how you spend your money.

Follow your money where ever it goes

 

People have a hard time-saving. Yet, if you take a deeper look at it, it is usually careless spending. Careless spending is also when people go above their means in life. 

 

Can you afford what you want with your salary? Should you be living in a smaller apartment? Be realistic. Should you be driving a cheaper car? The only one who will have to pay back that debt is you, so really think about your money. 

 

Start tracking your money, every day. Every transaction, calculate it. If you pay for it, calculate it. Know where every dollar goes. 

I’ve found that any moment I leave to not pay attention to my finances, it can get messy – quick. If we want to be on top of our finances, we have to pay attention to everything financially related. 

 

 

Take action: Track your statements to the T. Having this knowledge and organization of your finances helps you save for your trips and to save overall. 

Know what your spending on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. This way when you log into online banking you don’t gasp and have a heart attack when you look at your balance. You know what to expect and understand your statements.

Ask for a raise or get a side hustle

If you need more money, you’ll have to work for it somehow, someway. Can you work extra hours at your current job? 

Better yet, what about a raise? Majority of employees are underpaid don’t be afraid to go to your boss and claim what should be yours.

After speaking to your job, if that doesn’t work out, it’s time to consider a side hustle. You can be a server at a restaurant, maybe do something online, the options are endless.

 

 

The side hustles I did to save for my travels were bartend, promote brands, and be a brand ambassador. There are LOADS of Brand Ambassading and Promotion companies out there. 

Companies hire all the time, there are always events and people are always needed. I’m signed up with countless promotional agencies. 

The favorites that I would highly recommend are TEAM, Beacon Brand Solutions, and Next Level Marketing. These companies pay 20-50$ per hour, depending on the event. It is an easy peasy lemon squeezy way to make a quick $100-150 a day, which adds up quickly over time.

 

 

DisclaimerPlease note, promotion and BA work is not really consistent work. Meaning you won’t really be able to turn into a full-time income. 

I have tried this once and it’s not worth the energy. To do so, you’ll have to sign up for a million agencies. In my honest opinion, it’s more exhausting getting contracted to do this type of work than it is doing the job. 

These options are a side hustle, definitely make it your extra income, not the 9-5 replacement. 

 

Take action: Look into whatever other side gigs interest you. Apply, start working, start saving! 

Side hustles are a creative way to save money to travel, and not to mention, very effective! Money adds up quick so check out your options and put in the extra time where ever it fits with your schedule.

Once you are abroad, you might want to get a job overseas too. If that is of interest make sure you check out tips and more information on my work abroad guide.

Eat out less and cook more at home

 

Another creative way to save money to travel is eat at home! Restaurants mark up food at insane rates. How else would they make a profit? Start cooking and eating more at home. A lot of people have food as a huge expense in their life. Being mindful of this will help you save for a trip by not paying for overpriced food.

 

How to compromise: 

 

Eating out with friends is a social activity. Sometimes it’s hard to turn down that dinner invite to save a few dollars. I get it! 

But some options for the whole crew to save are -why not have a potluck at a friend’s house or go to a friend’s house to cook together? It’s fun and intimate. (you won’t have to shout at your friends across the table to hear them like in a restaurant.)

 

 

If you’re absolutely not budging and have to eat out, here are some tricks to save while dining out:

 

  • Always avoid the extras i.e cocktails and desserts.
  • Use eating out with friends to your advantage. I.e Split something! In America, a lot of the portions are inappropriately huge. Odds are it’ll probably be a lot of food and you won’t end up finishing all of it. 
  • If you want to see price ranges so there are no surprises when you get there, try to look online for the menu. Most restaurants have a preview. The price isn’t always there but it’s worth a try.

Limit alcohol consumption

Those 7 drinks you had on Saturday, yeah it adds up. Your average bar in NYC charges $7-17 dollars for cocktails. Multiply that by 7 thats a whopping $49-$119! Just on alcohol. 

This is not including if you’re eating out too. Going out for the sole purpose of drinking adds up, too quick. It is an expense.

 

How to compromise –

 

Pregame! I’m not saying to not go out, I’m saying to go out smarter. Usually, on a big night out, my friends and I meet up at someone’s house before the event to have a few drinks. 

A 6 pack of beer at most liquor stores is about $10-15. Compare this to a bar in NYC, it will probably be about $5-7 for one beer. 

Not only does this help you save for your next trip, but it also helps you avoid the crowd that’s always hovering over the bar. Odds are, by the time you get to the place, you won’t need any more booze. You’ll be set! 

Restrain from car service & use more public transportation

Ah, yes. Uber everywhere. Until you look at your bank account and say I spent how much? to go where?! Think again. 

For the most part, when I was hopping around in NYC, I’d pull up Google maps to see my time to my destination. Not even joking, 75% of the time it took the same exact time to go in an uber than to ride a subway. 

Who wants to ride the subway? Absolutely no one, especially in NYC! But! Who wants to pay extra overhead charges just to sit in traffic? Think ahead.

 

 

How to compromise – 

 

Use public transportation. You can’t compare $3.00 for subway fare to $30 for one uber ride. That’s a 10x mark-up. Be smart about using a car service.

 If you really have to use it, make it a one-off occasion. Not your daily habit. Or better yet, when you do take car service, try to split the fare amongst friends. It will help you save for your next trip big time.

STOP BUYING COFFEE BEFORE WORK

Mm, coffee. It’s a luxury sometimes, isn’t it? Whether you think it is or it isn’t, it’s money being spent buying it daily. 

Let’s say your coffee go-to place is Starbucks. For your usual order, you get a frappe that’s $4-5 dollars. 5 x 30 (days of the month) = 120, 120 x 12 (months of the year) = $1,440 a year. That’s just on coffee, imagine if you get a pastry or something else. 

This will not help us save up for a trip. Overpriced and a perfect example of another unnecessary expense. Your job probably provides free coffee. Utilize it! 

If you don’t like the blend, buy your own or bring your own from home. If you work from home, buy a coffee maker and make your own. A very simple solution that will save you over $1,000 a year.

Aaaaaand that’s a wrap! I genuinely hope you found these tips useful. Adopting this mindset is what helped me save 10k in 4 months for my travels in 2017. 

Nobody pays for my travels, but me. No rich parents, no credit cards, no rich man, just my hard-earned money. If you really want to go on a big trip, save and you can make it happen. We prioritize to spend on a new laptop, a new camera, travel is no different. 

There’s no hidden secret or unattainable tricks but work, save, and pay attention to where the money’s going. 

Once you’re on the road it’s time to enjoy your travels, and the hard earned money saved.  You’ve worked hard to enjoy your money abroad. Enjoy your travels, your way! 

Happy traveling my friends!

XO,

Britt

I say goodbye with a tune

I leave you with a Masego tune. His music is a cross between jazz, r&b, house, and funk. It´s worth a listen.

Masego & FKJ – Tadow

Press that play!

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