Everyone dreams of getting on a jet plane to go to far-off destinations. From the beaches of Australia to the architecture of Paris to the bustling streets of New York City, every person has their own definition of a dream trip. But how exactly do you save money for travel?
The good news is you don’t need to be rich or have plenty of spare money to travel. There are many ways you can travel that work for every budget, whether you want to stay in a hostel or a 5-star hotel. I’ve got advice that will apply to anyone and everyone and the holiday they have in mind.
10 Ways: How To Save Money For Travel
No matter your income, you deserve to take a break and explore the world. So start planning your perfect vacation and get ready by applying these tips on how to save money for travel.
1. Find your golden number.
Before you even start thinking about how to save money for travel, you need to know what that golden number is that you’re looking for. Every type of trip will cost differently depending on the destination and the kind of trip you’re looking to take.
When coming up with the amount needed for your getaway, set a budget for flights (or other transportation), accommodations, food, activities, transportation while you’re traveling, and tipping. Then once you have that number, add 20% more. This allows some buffer room and accounts for the inevitable unplanned spending that will happen.
You also want to consider currency conversion rates. It’s always nice to go somewhere where your currency is worth more than the home currency. This means your money will get you further while you travel!
2. Evaluate your budget.
Once you have your trip budget figured out, take a look back at your lifestyle budget. As lovely as it would be to wave your magic wand and have all the cash you need for your dream vacation, that’s not how it works. The reality is that you will need to change your means to put some money aside.
Take a thorough look through your budget and see where you can make some changes. When it comes to traveling, a little can go a long way. If you can cut $100 a month, that will earn you $1200 a year. That’s more than enough for a good trip for one!
For cutting costs, see where you might have a little wiggle room. Can you take the bus rather than spend money on gas? Could you buy one less meal a week? Can you buy a cheaper bottle of wine to celebrate the weekend? These small decisions and lifestyle changes can make a big difference down the line.
3. Work hard to play hard.
If you want to go on a trip within the next couple of months, it means those months are going to require you to put in some sweat. Depending on what your job is, now is the time to take on extra hours, get more gigs, or start up something on the side.
By taking the time now to put in a little bit of extra elbow grease, you get the amazing payoff of a wonderful vacation. Future you will be so thankful when you’re sipping piña coladas on the beach 12 weeks from now!
4. Sell, sell, sell!
Another way to get fast income is by selling what you already have. If you haven’t used an item in more than a year, it’s time for it to go. This is a good exercise to do every season. For instance, at the end of summer, look at all the outdoor sports equipment, beach items, and other summer fun you never even touched.
Clothes seem to be something easily sellable any time of the year. You can sell them to consignment stores, locally through Craigslist, or online using sites such as Poshmark, eBay, or ThredUp.
Other great items to look through include books, electronics, furniture, collectibles, artwork, and anything else that you no longer have the need for.
Make sure that all money earned goes straight into your travel fund. While you likely won’t be able to fund a whole trip by selling what you don’t need, it can give you extra spending money or the last boost of money to meet your travel savings goal.
5. Benefit from rewards programs.
If traveling is one of your major passions, then consider investing in a credit card with travel rewards programs. There are so many out there to choose from. Some are points-based that you can choose to redeem on hotels and flights and others are redeemable with a specific company.
If you have a specific airline that you like to fly, most will offer their own credit card with discounts on flights, access to lounges, extra privileges while flying, and sometimes even free flights.
Likewise, most major hotel chains offer their own points system that rewards you for your loyalty. You can redeem points for free stays and often will get upgrades.
Find one that works best for you and stick with it! The more you use it, the more points you will get. Just be sure to pay off your full balance at the end of every month.
Our family has earned free flights and hotel stays this way. You can listen to my podcast episode about how we travel hack using credit cards.
6. Automate savings.
If $20 slipped away from every one of your paychecks, would you even notice? You can set up your direct deposits to automatically transfer money to your savings account. It can be as much or as little as you want. This works great with small savings goals as most don’t even notice the missing money.
You can manually transfer a little bit of money each month, but oftentimes people forget and will accidentally spend the money they budgeted for savings. Or they lose motivation and spend it purposefully. Automating it does all the work for you and keeps you well on track.
Ask your bank how you can set automatically transfer money to your savings every month – all it takes is one call!
7. Catch a deal.
You can find amazing deals for travel all the time. If you’re flexible with dates or planning far in advance, chances are you can get something below the average price.
Finding bundle deals that include flights and accommodations are a good way to save, plus they make planning that much easier. You can look for these on one of the many travel sites like booking.com or Expedia.
Another great tool to save on flights is Hopper. You can input when and where you want to go, and it will tell you when the best time to purchase tickets is. This way, you know whether to buy now or wait for prices to drop.
With a little bit of patience and research, you should never have to pay full price for your vacation.
8. Try the $5 bill challenge.
If you use cash frequently, this tip on how to save money for travel is just for you. The $5 bill challenge is simple: every time you get a $5 bill, stop what you’re doing and don’t spend it! Designate a jar in the house to house your cash and place all $5 bills in there. Leave them for a year and see just how much you accumulate!
Like automating your savings, you won’t notice missing the $5 bills, but the payoff will be well worth it. Your trip to Thailand is within reach!
9. Review your employment.
If you find that you aren’t making enough money to put any aside, then it’s time to review your employment. That may mean moving on somewhere else where you earn more, or it could mean asking for a raise at your next performance review.
Negotiating with your employer can mean other things too. Perhaps fewer hours will allow you to work on your side gig in order to save more money. Maybe you can get more vacation days to actually go on your holiday. Or you may be even able to swing working remotely. This leads me to…
10. Earn money while you travel.
For those who live and breathe travel, maybe it means doing a complete lifestyle change. Nowadays, remote jobs are becoming commonplace items on job boards. This means you can work anywhere you want in the world, allowing you the opportunity to travel and work at the same time.
Alternatively, you can start your own business online, be it selling your handmade items or designing logos for other businesses.
By traveling at the same time as you work, you lose many expenses such as rent, utilities, insurance, car payments, and more that you can use towards all your adventures. It can even cost you less to travel this way.
Final Thoughts On How To Save Money For Travel
When it comes to saving money for traveling, the number one thing you need to do is set a budget and stick to it. Look for key areas of spending in your life and see how you can narrow them down.
If you’re new to budgeting, you’ve come to the right gal! Check out my other articles on budgeting or get started with my free budget class to learn the basics about how to make a budget that works for you.
Where are you planning on traveling? Let me know in the comments down below so we can help cheer each other on.