If you’re like me, you have way more travel ideas than money to make them happen. I do have some tips to travel for free, which you can find here. And between smart budgeting in my travels, and diligent saving leading up to my travels, I have been able to go on a lot of travel! (Just look at my Around the World in 50 Photos post here.) It does take hard work though, as I shared with you in the story of my journey in my eBook. But if you’re smart about it and determined to travel, you can do it. So I want to share with you some tips of ways to save money for travel, the same tips that I used in order to fund my travels. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it!
Ways to Save Money for Travel
1. Set your budget. Look at how much you make, what things you absolutely must pay for (rent and food come to mind), and then decide how much of what’s left you can commit to saving. With that savings rate, research where you want to travel and how long it will take you to save up to that amount. With a savings goal in mind, and a trip to look forward to, it’s easier to find ways to save money for travel and stick to them!
2. Skip the Starbucks. Whether it’s Starbucks coffee, or coffee from anywhere else, this is an expense that’s eating away at your budget. Make your coffee at home and you’ll save a few dollars each day, which add up to hundreds of dollars in a few months.
3. Don’t take taxis. If you live in the city, it’s so tempting to take a taxi where you need to go, but you’ll save yourself a bunch of money if you just take the time to use public transportation or walk where you need to go.
4. Ditch the gym membership. Lace up your running shoes and hit the pavement. Running outside is free, and so is doing push-ups and crunches and squats and pick-up sports. Save the money you would’ve spent on a gym membership and put in your travel fund!
5. Stop going shopping. If travel is really as much a priority as you say it is, then shopping can’t consume so much of your budget. Think about it, would it really be a problem if your wardrobe just stayed as is? Would you still have enough clothing to dress yourself each day?
6. If you must go shopping, do it on the cheap. Sometimes you just need a new outfit for a new job. Instead of shopping at expensive brand name stores, head to the discount department stores like H&M and Primark, or to consignment shops or thrift stores. Use coupons and look for sales, be a smart shopper!
7. Pick up a second job. And the trick is to put all of those extra funds straight into your travel budget!
8. Sell your old stuff on ebay. Whatever old stuff you no longer use could find a better home with someone who’s willing to pay for it! And if you don’t have a lot of old stuff lying around, try asking your folks if you could help clean out their garage in exchange for selling their old stuff.
9. Don’t go out to eat. This should be a no-brainer, but it’s so easy to just be lazy and go out to eat whether it’s for lunch during your break or for dinner with friends. Commit to cooking at home and you can save hundreds of dollars each month!
10. Learn to cook better. Take your commitment to cooking at home up a notch, and learn how to cook with just a few simple ingredients. That way you can keep your grocery store budget low.
11. Use your library. Libraries are full of FREE books for you to enjoy! No need to pay for books. Most libraries also now offer audiobooks and movies for you to borrow. Consider your entertainment needs covered!
12. Make a no-gifts pact with your friends and family. Frivolous gift-buying around the holidays is such a drain on your savings account. Instead, commit to exchanging kind deeds, homemade gifts, or intangible gifts like writing a song for someone.
13. Look for free events in your city. In every city there are organizations that put on free events. Utilize these free concerts, movie screenings, and more as a way to have some fun for free!
14. Sell your car. If it’s at all possible for you to get by without a car, do so. Cars are a drain on your budget, from the car payments and maintenance, to the insurance, gas, and parking fees. Try to use car-sharing options and public transportation, it will save you a ton of money!
15. Use the envelope trick. The way it works is that you have an envelope in your sock drawer, and you put $10 in it every week. You can’t take cash out of the envelope, it just continues to accrue cash until you have enough for a plane ticket! The reason this works so well is because it’s literally set aside and you can’t see it or use it when you’re out and about.
16. Be a tour guide in your city. Most cities have walking tours and they’re a great way to pick up some extra cash from tips. Plus you’ll get to interact with other travelers and satisfy your wanderlust!
17. Go for a hike. Getting outdoors to enjoy nature is totally free and arguably the most enjoyable way to spend your downtime!
18. Rely on your friends. Find a friend who’s also trying to save for something, whether it’s for travel or something else. And find ways to hang out that save money, like staying in to watch a movie. You’ll help hold each other accountable to your savings goals!
19. No more manicures. Cut out all those expensive treatments, like manicures, pedicures, blowouts, massages, and facials. Instead, do your nails at home, style your own hair, and use a face mask from the drug store.
20. Find a roommate. Living in an apartment can be expensive but finding someone to share rent and utilities with can save you a bunch! Just be sure you find a roommate you like and who will treat the space with as much respect as you.
Doing lots of little things to save money can add up quickly. When you commit to saving and make travel a priority, you’ll find that there are lots of ways to save money for travel. What other tricks to you have for ways to save money for travel? What trip are you saving up for next?