saving money to travel

Saving Money to Travel

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So you’ve decided you want to travel. That’s great! Whether it’s a one week vacation or a year around the world, you’ll need to start by saving money to travel. First make a travel budget so you know how much you need for your trip. Then you can get started on the following money saving tips for travel.

Examine your current spending

How much money do you normally spend each month, and on what? Make a list of your fixed expenses, and then for one month keep track of what you spend on everything else. What’s your weekly grocery spending? How much do you spend on entertainment, eating out, shopping, coffee, etc.? I bet it’s more than you think.

At the end of the month, look back at that list. Separate the necessary items like rent or mortgage from the unnecessary ones, like buying new outfits or expensive coffee on your way to work. That way you get a good look at where your money is going.

To make tracking easier, I use the Trail Wallet app on my iPhone. It was designed for tracking expenses while traveling, but I like it so much, I use it to monitor our spending at home, too.

Compare what you spend to your travel budget

When you start comparing each dollar you spend to what it could pay for on a trip, it’ll be easier for you to resist spending. Let’s say you’ve determined you need $3000 for that vacation you’ve been dreaming of. Since you’ve already worked out a budget for the trip, you know how much the individual pieces cost.

That $100 outfit is equivalent to five dinners in Amsterdam. Buying coffee five days a week for a month is equivalent to a fun food tour in Rome. The memories you make while traveling will far outweigh whatever fleeting enjoyment you get from new clothes or expensive coffee.

saving money to travel

Reduce your spending

The little things really add up. If you buy coffee at Starbucks on your way to work every morning, it might feel like a small expense, but $3 or $4 a cup quickly becomes a few hundred dollars. Instead of buying coffee out, make it at home in your own coffee maker.

Not a coffee drinker? What else is your money going towards that you can reduce or cut out all together? Do you eat out a lot? Start bringing lunch to work or cooking dinners at home more often. Invite friends over on Saturday night instead of going out for an expensive dinner. Even if you still want a few drinks, it’s cheaper to drink at home than in a bar or restaurant.

Instead of getting professional manicures and pedicures, do it yourself at home. Make use of the clothes you already own and don’t go shopping for more for a few months. Downgrade your cell phone plan and your cable package. Adjust your thermostat a few degrees. Find alternative ways to get around instead of driving so much. Get creative!

Sell your stuff

Ok, selling lots of your stuff isn’t for everyone, and certainly not recommended if you’re saving money to travel for a week or two vacation as opposed to a year long trip. But you probably have some stuff you don’t use anymore that you could sell on Craigslist, eBay, or at a garage sale.

Take a weekend and go through your closets, garage, basement, attic, whatever. Pull out anything and everything you don’t need or use anymore and see what you can sell it for. Even if you can’t sell some of your things, you can donate almost anything which not only helps others in need but also gets rid of the extra clutter in your house.

Get a side job

This won’t work for everyone, but it might for some. Do you have extra time you could use at a part time job to pick up a few extra bucks? Do you have a talent or skill you could offer as a service, either online or off? Again, you might need to get creative here, but there are lots of options out there, from baby-sitting to

saving money to travel

Check out the Trail Wallet – Travel Budget & Expense Tracker app for iPhone to track your expenses. I really love how helpful it is, and I even use it to track my spending at home. I definitely recommend it if you’re looking for an easy way to track your travel expenses.

Get a separate bank account

If possible, having a separate savings account for your travel fund will make it easier for you to put the money aside and leave it alone. If it’s an account that earns even a tiny amount of interest, even better. Figure out how much money you can afford to put in your savings account each month and set up an automatic transfer so you don’t even have to think about it. Did you earn a little extra money this month from a garage sale or side job? Put it all in the savings account, don’t spend it.

Saving money to travel isn’t always easy, but there are tons of ways to do it. By looking at your current spending, reducing or cutting things out altogether, and finding other ways of picking up some extra cash, you’ll be on your way to that dream vacation in no time. It just takes a little discipline to reach your goal, but believe me, it’s worth any sacrifices you make along the way.

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Tips for Saving Money to Travel

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  1. Pingback: How Much We Spent Traveling in Europe for Two Months | Ali's Adventures

  2. Matthew Cheyne

    This is a great article and a timely one too. I have recently just opened a high interest online savings account that is linked to my normal everyday transaction account and I’ve also re-examined my spending and found some savings as well.

    I even managed to find a pre-paid visa travel card that offers 9 different currencies, the potential to load money onto it within 24 hours via something called Poli which I need to look into further. It even gives you frequent flier points for money that you spend both at home and abroad. It is called the Velocity Card Global Wallet. You first need to sign up to become a member of Velocity which is Virgin Australia’s loyalty program that is offered to Australian residents (only at this stage). You can then opt to get the card with the Global Wallet on one side which is the pre paid Visa card and your regular loyalty card on the other. You can also request a virtual card for online transactions and allocate funds to each card. The physical card itself contains the normal chip, swipe and the new pay wave feature as well. Compared to what others in Australia have been using, I consider this a great find and one worth sharing.

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Sounds good Matthew! That’s really awesome you were able to find some savings in your monthly budget. I have a post about credit and debits cards coming up soon!

      1. Matthew Cheyne

        Awesome 🙂 I look forward to reading that post. In the meantime I hope you are enjoying your weekend. It’s already over here 🙂

  3. Jennifer

    Good tips. You also don’t have to completely cut yourself off from things you enjoy. Instead of stopping at Starbucks 5 days/week, allow yourself 1 per week. You’re still saving money. Another thing I like is that Bank of America has a save the change feature on my debit card. This feature rounds my purchase up to the nearest dollar and puts that change into a savings account. I also have an allotment that takes a certain amount from my checking on payday and transfers it to my savings account. Not only does this money earn interest, but it never hits my checking account to spend in the first place.

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Exactly! If you cut out things you enjoy completely, you’ll hate it. I always had my accounts set up to automatically transfer a certain amount over to my savings too, so it just became like another bill and I never thought about it.

  4. gautam

    I love the way u explain in detail each and everything. I always try to save money for my travel but it never works.
    But now i will try more rigrously to save money for my travel

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Thanks, so glad I could help! Good luck saving and happy travels!

  5. Suzanne

    Ali I already have my own travel account. Every pay check so much of my check goes right in. People ask me how i save. I tell them i have a fund & every trip is paid for before i even leave. Travel is a priority to me. Hoping to do lots more of it.

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Sounds great Suzanne! You definitely have to make travel a priority if it’s something you want to do. The money won’t just appear. I’m so happy you have a travel fund!

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