Travel is honestly one of the most incredible things you can do. The experiences you’ll have when you explore the world are priceless.
Except, it’s definitely not cost-less! Most of us need to save up in order to travel…
Luckily, saving doesn’t have to be too hard. Sure, you may need to make some small adjustments in your life, but I’m not going to tell you to sell all of your belongings or become a total recluse who never leaves their house.
This isn’t about making huge sacrifices in order to be able to travel.
In my opinion it’s important to have some balance. Which means enjoying life when you’re not travelling too!
That’s why, in this guide, you’ll find simple and, more importantly, realistic ways to save money for travel.
Not all of these things may apply to you, and not all of them may work for everyone. But, hopefully they will at least inspire you to start making some real headway in bumping up your travel savings account so that you can finally head off on your dream trip!
Trust me, you’ll be amazed at how much you can save in a relatively short space of time if you implement even just a few of these simple money saving tips!
Good luck! And, let me know how you get on! Seriously! Leave me a comment at the end of this post with your thoughts, questions or suggestions on what else you can do to save money for travel!
PS – This post may contain affiliate links: That means that if you purchase through my link, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Of course, I only recommend products/services that I have used and believe are great! Please read my disclosure for more info.
Save Money For Travel – Debts Are Bad
Ok, before you can really start to save money for travel, you need to focus on getting rid of your ‘bad debts’ first.
“What the heck is that?” I hear you ask. Well, these are debts that generally have high interest rates and don’t give you much (or any…) return. By this I mean things like credit card bills and car loans.
This stuff just bleeds money. So in order to save money, you need to stop this flow wherever possible. Ideally, don’t spend outside your means (anymore). Spend well within them.
- So, sell the expensive car you got on finance and buy a cheap one outright. Or better yet, don’t have a car at all – take the bus or cycle if that’s realistic where you live.
- Secondly, unless your credit card gives you serious value in terms of cash back or some form of points that you can easily use, it’s not worth it. Credit cards go completely against spending within your means.
If you do decide to keep your credit card, pay all of your bills on time. This means always avoiding the interest payments! If you don’t, you’re honestly just throwing money away that you could be using to save for travel!
- Pro Tip: I personally travel with my Revolut card – a great alternative for travel with basically no fees!
Food & Drinks
There’s actually an awful lot you can do to save money for travel in the food and beverage department!
- One of my favourite money saving hacks is to cook in batches and freeze the leftovers. Meaning, cook enough for 2 or 3 meals in one go. Eat one and freeze the rest (or take one for lunch).
Not only does this reduce food waste, it saves cooking time and minimises the risk of giving in to the temptation of getting a take-away on days you just don’t feel like cooking. Triple win!
- In order to do this well, plan out all your meals for the week and shop with a shopping list. Shop at cheaper supermarkets and buy their own/generic brand. Most of the time those products are just as good but for a fraction of the price.
Pro Tip: Don’t go shopping hungry! You’ll end up buying more when you’re hungry so make sure you eat first.
- Definitely buy things that are on special! Items like meat and bread are often on special a day or so before their best before date. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with these items and you can still freeze them until you’re ready to use them.
- Also buy in bulk where it makes sense to do so. Or simply get the bigger jar/bottle/box of whatever product you’re buying. Yes, it’s more expensive at a high level but when you break the cost down per kilo or litre, it almost always works out cheaper to go for the big size!
- Bring your own lunch to work. I know everybody says this, but they’re right! Buying lunch 5 days a week is costing you way more than if you brought your own from home. The key to this is planning out your lunches as well as your dinners when you’re making your meal plan for the week. You need to have food available and it needs to be easy, or else you won’t stick to it.
- Invite friends over for dinner and drinks rather than going out. Having a BYO dinner party or a potluck brunch at the weekend is a fun way to still socialise without the price tag.
- When you do go out to socialise, check out Happy Hours and Early Bird Menus at restaurants! Some of these menus aren’t even all that early, so you don’t need to eat dinner at 5pm or anything. Many run until 7pm meaning you have to order before then.
Mobile Phone, Utilities and Insurance
I’m bunching these all together because they’re similar and will take a little bit of work on your end. But the effort will pay off and you can actually save pretty big money here!
- First things first. Switch your mobile phone plan to pay as you go. Seriously, almost everything can be done on WiFi these days. And WiFi is everywhere. You don’t really need data or minutes or texts. So you definitely don’t need to be paying €30 or more every month on your contract. These days, I top up with as little as €10 every few months, easily saving a couple of hundred Euro a year!
- For your utilities and insurance premiums, always shop around for better deals! It may surprise you that you can easily save a lot of money by shopping around every year when your contract runs out on your gas, electricity, car insurance, internet and so on. Get quotes online when your renewal is due and give your provider a call. You can almost always get a better deal than the renewal they send out to you. Worst case scenario, switch companies. But, do bear in mind this may mean a new 12 or 18 month contract, so make sure you’re ok with that before switching!
- Actually, did you know that you can save money just by switching off your electrics at the wall?!
That little red light on the TV and stereo? The digital clock on your oven and microwave? Yeah, they all use electricity. Sure, not much, but when you want to save money for travel, every little helps! And it actually does add up. Apparently as much as 10% of your yearly electricity bill! (Just don’t switch your fridge off at the wall… please!)
- Other than that, you can trim even more money off your utility bills simply by conserving.
Do fewer loads of laundry. Take shorter showers. Turn lights off when you leave the room. Snuggle up under a blanket and put on an extra jumper and keep the heating low.
Get Smart & Thrifty!
This may take a slight shift in your money mindset… But allow yourself to get creative in order to become a thrifty spender.
- An easy one is to visit the library! Yep, they definitely do still exist! Rather than buying books, get them out of the library. These days, you can borrow e-books for your Kindle or other e-reader too.
And yes, I know, many of you are still fans of the physical book. I totally get it. But, a Kindle is a worthwhile investment for your travels if you’re an avid reader like me. Once you’re on the road, you may not have access to your library’s books anymore and buying Kindle books is much cheaper than physical ones. Plus, it allows you to carry thousands of books so you’ll never go bored!
- I know I’ve just suggested you buy a Kindle, but avoid buying temptations whenever possible. Don’t walk past shops that will tempt you to pop in and buy something! Avoid browsing online unless you really need something.
- Ask for cash or gift cards for your birthday, at Christmas and other big occasions, and put it straight into your travel savings. Or, if you’re not comfortable asking for money, ask for items you’ll need for your trip anyway.
Need Inspiration? These are 12 Essential Travel Items that I swear by and absolutely recommend
Change Your Lifestyle – Within Reason
Like I said, I’m not going to tell you to give everything up. You still need to enjoy life outside of travel. But, re-assess your priorities and consider whether there is anything you can give up. Or, at the very least, change. Remember, this is all so that you can save more money for travel!
- Do you have a gym membership? How often do you actually use it?
Getting exercise is super important, so definitely don’t cut out the exercise. But, could you do it at home, or outside? For example, if you mostly use the treadmill at the gym, is there somewhere near your house where you could go for a run instead?
- Alcohol is a big one, especially if you go out to the pub to drink. If you cut down some on your alcohol intake, you will definitely be able to save some extra cash for your travel fund. Again, I’m not suggesting you give up drinks entirely if that is something you enjoy. I am definitely partial to a glass of wine myself! But, limit it to one or two glasses at the weekend. Buy a slightly cheaper bottle at the supermarket. Go out for happy hour drinks. You get the gist…
- Coffee and other “afternoon pick me ups” like a bag of crisps (that’s potato chips for you Americans out there!) or a chocolate bar is another biggy. Trust me, I used to love going for coffee and cake with friends at work all the time! Not only does it allow some social interaction, it’s a nice break from work too! But, even at my work, where food was seriously discounted, a coffee and cake can still easily add up to €5. So, instead of every couple of days, limit it to once a week. Or, make your own cake at home and bring it in to share!
- If you pay for cable TV or subscription services like Netflix or Spotify, consider whether you need them. I’m pretty sure you could get rid of at least one or the other… If so, the cable TV will likely save you the most money so cancel that if you can. Then, think about whether you can share your Netflix account with a friend or family member. Paying half (or a quarter!) each will save you another few Euro every month!
Bonus Idea: Get a side hustle and earn some extra cash!
If you have the time and energy after your regular day-job, you could beef up your travel savings even more by finding ways to earn some extra cash on the side. Or, what might be even easier is to earn it in your day job if they offer paid overtime!
I know this isn’t for everyone and other life demands may take priority. That’s totally fine and understandable! But, if you do want to give a side hustle a go, there are LOADS of options!
To name but a few:
Babysitting, petsitting, housesitting, transcribing, proofreading, teaching English (or your native language), translating, tutoring, renting out a spare room on AirBnB, mystery shopping, cleaning houses, having a garage sale. And finally, if you’re creative or technical, sell your stuff and/or services online – Etsy, Amazon, Upwork, and Fiverr are just a few places where you can do this.
So there you have it, 20 realistic ways to help you actually save money for travel!
Which ones do you think you’ll be able to try? Are there any you’re already doing, or others you would suggest? Let me know in the comments below. As always, I’d love to hear from you!
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