You’ve decided you want to go traveling around the world but you’ve also realized it requires a decent budget. Now, how can you come up with the cash to make it happen?
How much money you can save will determine many factors of your trip, like: when could you leave, how long you’ll be on the road, where you’ll go, how big should your budget be, and travel style, among others.
How do you save all that money?
The following are 20 ways I used to grow my travel fund before leaving on my round the world trip, and that I still use today to stay on the road – almost nine years after I left.
These will allow you to save quicker and realize your trip sooner than you think.
1. Dedicate a separate savings account for your travel fund
This account is your focus. This will be the measure of your progress towards your ultimate goal: reaching your travel budget and taking off on that Round the World trip!
You should think of that money as “non-existent” money so that you won’t count on it for anything until you leave for your trip.
2. Track your expenses
This will help you know what expenses can be cut and how much could you invest in your trip. Mint is very user friendly and a valuable tool when it comes to budgeting.
3. Pay yourself first
Once you know how much you can dedicate per month to your travel budget, make it an automatic transfer to your “travel fund” account the exact day you receive your paycheck.
That way you won’t be tempted to spend it unnecessarily. A way to actually save for travel is making it a priority.
4. Do small weekly transfers
In addition to your monthly automatic transfer, do small weekly transfers that won’t feel hard on your pocket.
For example, every week I transfer $20 to my travel fund, in addition to the monthly saving amount. Those $20s have gone a long way on my savings!
5. Reduce your housing expenses
If possible, move to a cheaper apartment or consider getting roommates. I moved from an amazing studio to living with roommates.
That move alone added more than $400 per month to my travel fund. Have extra rooms you’re not using in your home? Get a roommate to share the rent.
6. Reduce your utility bills
Not only is it good for the environment, but it will add a few dollars to your funds.
7. Quit or reduce your smoking
While I don’t smoke, I know of many New Yorkers who spend around $500 dollars in cigarettes per month. Imagine if you could cut that at least in half!
The same applies to drinking or any other vice you may have.
8. Skip that Starbucks Coffee
Again, I don’t drink coffee… but, what if you could reduce your $4 latte per day consumption?
I know most people need their morning coffee, but can you get the same coffee satisfaction by preparing it at home, or a cheaper option other than the overpriced Starbucks or new hipster coffee shop?
9. Take your lunch to work or take advantage of lunch specials
I admit I didn’t take my lunch to work too often, but I took advantage of cheap street cart food, value menus, and lunch specials.
Often restaurants reduce their normal prices during lunch hour to attract clientele. Take advantage of that.
10. Netflix something instead of going out to the movies
The price difference is insane, especially if movie tickets cost $17, like in New York.
Of course, these days Netflix is not the only option to binge-watch movies and series at home. Now we have Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and more.
To not waste too much money on each service, I recommend sticking to one – in my case, it is Netflix.
11. Clean out your credit
If you have debt, pay first your credit cards with the highest interest. After that one is fully paid, add that payment amount to the next highest interest card.
Eventually you will snowball your debt to zero! Also, get a 0% interest for a year or two credit card and transfer your balance.
Chances are that the 3% transfer fee is much less than the total interest that would be paid for the life of the debt.
12. Cut out cable
I lived without cable for over two years and still was able to watch all my favorite shows online on each network’s website or just watched Netflix. This alone helped me save over $60 per month.
13. Do social buying and coupons
Clipping coupons is nothing to be embarrassed about. On today’s market, social buying and coupon sites like Groupon.com have helped millions of people buy what they need for much less than the retail price.
Just be careful not to buy stuff you don’t need just because they are cheap.
14. Use public transportation
In NYC this is a given, but if you live in a city with a decent public transportation and it is accessible to you, consider using it instead of using your car all the time. Not only could you save money, but it’s also environmentally friendly.
15. Save money on your actual travel planning
Piling up the money is half the story on staying long term on the road. Saving on your travel expenses is the other half.
When buying airfares, international travel insurance, accommodations, ground transportation, travel gear, and other travel expenses, do some “value engineering” by comparing prices on various sites and by trying different travel combinations to see which one is cheaper or brings “more bang for your buck”.
Becoming a travel hacker is an art form in itself that will help you save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on your trip. Flexibility is the key!
16. Don’t overlook free events
Many cities have free festivals, concerts, and other events that are as good as many paid events, especially during the summer months.
17. Cancel your Gym Membership
Be creative with your physical training by jogging around the city, exercising at the park, or going to free public “exercise parks” available in most cities.
It’s a good way to burn the calories without burning your cash.
Today, many apps and websites can help you create a workout routine that doesn’t require equipment or just the basics that can be found in any house or department store. Here’s a good list of workout apps to consider.
For a while, I’ve used the Adidas Training app and I love it!
18. Change your phone plan
If you’re not using all your minutes or features included in your phone plan, consider changing it to a cheaper one.
In my case, I changed the plan I had for 3 years with limited minutes, unlimited text and web for $70, to an all unlimited prepaid plan for $50. I had more minutes, and was saving $20 per month!
19. Take a second job or freelance
If you have an expertise you think you can offer, present yourself as a freelancer for some extra income.
If you blog and are able to monetize it, that’s a big step too since it could help you extend your trip by still earning some money while on the road. Here I show you how you can set up and monetize a blog.
20. Sell your stuff
If you’re getting rid of your apartment, maybe it’s wise to sell some of your possessions instead of spending more money on storage.
Either do a garage sale or post you things on eBay or Craigslist to reach a wider market. This alone can give a big push to your savings at the last stage of your planning.
By putting into action all these techniques I was able to save around $1,000 per month. Depending on your case and income level you might be able to save less or save much more.
But even if it’s just a small amount that you’re saving per month, the important thing is to have a goal in mind and keep your focus on achieving it at an established date in the future.
That way you will keep your drive and get to realize your round the world trip sooner than later!
What else do you do to save for travel?
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