Wanderlust travel money jar
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14 Tips on How to Save Money for Travel

Let’s be honest, everyone can save regardless of their income or economic status. Even if you save a dollar every day for two years, you can save about $730. It’s not much but it’s enough to get you out of the door. But too often, we would rather spend money on things we WANT than find a way to save enough money to follow our dreams.

So to help, we will share a few of the million and one ways to save money for not only travel but for anything you dream for.

Please keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all and some of the tips below might work better than others for your specific situation

1. Track Your Expenses

First things first, track your daily expenses for about a month or two, without changing your spending habits. After a month or so, analyze your data and start modifying your daily spending habits by cutting out unnecessary expenses. You will want to repeat this again for the next 3-4 months until 90% (yes, you get to treat yourself once in a while so you don’t go crazy) of your expenses are spent on things you NEED!

There are literally hundreds of apps out there that will help you keep track of your expenses, we personally prefer to using good ol’ Microsoft Excel.

2. Rent Out Your Spare Room

If you happened to have a spare room in your apartment, or even just a couch in your living room renting it out on Airbnb is a great way to make a good chunk of money. On our Nomads’ Vacation, Jazzy and I did just that and the money we made off of Airbnb was enough to cover all of our regular expenses such as rent, food and utilities. This means that any money we made from our jobs was going straight to our savings! Alternatively, you can just find a permanent roommate if Airbnb doesn’t sound too appealing.

Note: Use this link to get up to $40 off your next booking with Airbnb.

3. Sell Your Car

Cars are expensive luxuries to have and most people spend at least a few hundred dollars a month on gas, regular maintenance and insurance. Just imagine how much money you could save if instead of driving to work everyday you take public transportation, ride a bicycle or walk. It might not be the most convenient way to get around and it might take a bit longer but you will save a good chuck of money, not to mention it will prepare you for the road. As a traveler, you will most likely depend on public transportation, so why not start now!

Another thing that might work for you is car-pooling. Find someone you can share a ride with on a regular basis and split the cost of gas. That way you don’t need to worry about all the other expenses that come with a car.

4. Move Back Home

I know moving back home doesn’t sound very “adultish” but just think about how much money you can save by not paying rent for your own place. Plus, you will most likely get home cooked food on a regular basis (no need to eat out or cook for yourself – bonus!). All you have to do in return is (un)load the dishwasher once in a while and take out the garbage. Sounds like a good trade-off to me!

If going back to mommy’s place is out of the question, try downsizing your accommodation to a room that cost half of what you pay now and maybe even includes utilities. Though it might be annoying, just keep in mind that it’s only temporary until you save enough money to travel or follow your dreams.

5. Start Cooking for Yourself

Jazzy and I rarely eat out, except when we are traveling of course. Not only is it healthier to cook your own meals but it’s cheaper too, and no I am not talking about precooked meals or TV dinners, which cost a small fortune too (besides when was the last time you looked at those ingredient labels?). I am talking about buying real groceries and cooking stuff from scratch. You don’t have to be a chef to mix a few ingredients together. I didn’t know how to cook either but practice makes perfect and you learn as you go. YouTube and recipe websites can be a guy’s best friend!

6. Get Rid of Cable

Let’s be honest, most of the stuff on there is crap anyways. Is it really worth it to pay $50 – 100 for one or two good shows that you can watch for free or cheap online? Do yourself a favor and get rid of cable. Use Hulu, Netflix, or some not-so-legal-website-I-won’t-mention-here instead.

7. Reduce Your Phone Bill

Avoid signing into contracts and buying a phone you can’t afford on layaway. You don’t need it and though it may seem very convenient that you can slowly pay off the phone by paying $20 or so extra every month, it’s not worth it. In the end you might even end up paying more. Hello, interest and late fees!

Instead, put the $20 into your savings each month and get a SIM card/phone from one of the smaller companies such as Metro PCs, Virgin Mobile or Boost Mobile, which run on the same network as the bigger providers. They are just as reliable, they don’t require you to sign a contract, and their phone plans and phones cost at least half the price, if not more. Plus, these days anything an expensive phone can do, a way cheaper phone can do too! Just saying ;)

8. Open an Online Savings Account

Don’t get one of those savings accounts that is connected to your checkings account. It is way to easy to transfer funds from your savings into you checking and write yourself an I.O.U.

Instead sign up for a high-yield savings account and automatically transfer money into it every month. Trust us, it will actually help you save! Overtime, you won’t even remember you have a savings account and by the time you do, you will have way more money then you thought you had.

Opening a high-yield online savings account was seriously one of the best things we have done.

9. Get a Second Job

I know you probably won’t like getting a second job but it can seriously help you achieve your goal faster. Even a few hours here and there on the weekends is enough to make a serious impact on your savings.

To get you started, here are some jobs that are flexible and pay relatively well: babysitting, landscaping, virtual assistance, bartending, tutoring, walking dogs, house cleaning, moving furniture, etc… There are hundreds of part time jobs to be had, just check out Craigslist and I am sure you will find something you won’t mind doing for a little bit. And remember, it is only temporarily.

10. Cut Back on Starbucks (Or Other Guilty Pleasures)

We personally don’t drink coffee but our friend, Sharon from Simpler And Smarter, recently told us how she saved $4 a day for travel just by cutting back on Starbucks. So we did some quick math and realized that buying a $4 cup of coffee at Starbucks everyday will cost you a whooping $1,460 every year? That is a lot of money, don’t you think? Matter of fact, it is so much money that you could afford to live comfortably in SE Asia or Latin America for about two months. Stop buying and start making your own coffee at home. Put the money you save everyday into your savings.

Note: It doesn’t have to be Starbucks coffee. Whatever your guilty pleasure might be just ask yourself the next time you want to buy it: Do I need it? Or do I want it?

IMPORTANT: Understand the difference between need and want! Wants usually don’t help when trying to save.

11. Bring The Party To You

Saving money doesn’t mean you have to sit at home alone while your friends are out and about having fun. Just bring the party to you by hosting a game night, movie night or whatever night at your house. There is nothing wrong with buying a few beers or liquor at the supermarket and being your own bartender for the night. It is so much more budget friendly than going bar hopping or going to the theater.

12. Do Free Things

If you want to get out of the house, go, but do things that are free or cost little to no money. Almost every city or town has some free things to do, all you have to do is look for them.

13. Stop Smoking. (Or At Least Reduce It)

Beside it being bad for your health, it also costs a lot of money. A $6 pack a day adds up to about $2,190 a year (even more if you’re in NYC = $13 a pack / $4,745 a year) which is more than enough money to live and travel around SE Asia for three to four months. If you can’t quit cold turkey at least try to reduce your consumption until you are able to let go completely. Your health and wallet will thank you.

14. Make it Your Priority

This is probably the most important point on this list. No matter what you do, if you are not fully committed to traveling or making your dreams become reality, you will most likely always be just one of those people who say, “One Day, or “Maybe when I am rich”. Don’t kid yourself, there will never be the one day or the perfect time to travel or follow your dreams. The time is now, make your dreams non-negotiable.

Now that you have the right ingredients to start saving money to not only travel but help make any dream become a reality, go for it and stack up that savings account.

How do you save money? Share your tips below.

The Author

Ben

Ben is a professional web designer and the man behind the scenes of Road Affair. He has been traveling around the world with his partner in crime, Jazzy, since 2012.

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Comments

  1. I love this post!

    I’m often asked how I can afford to travel as often as I do as if traveling is very difficult. But it’s really a matter of lifestyle choices. Like, can you live without a nice car? Or your monthly subscriptions?

    Apart from that, I’m glad you mentioned that you don’t have to be rich to start traveling. I completely agree. Just as you mentioned, you can live comfortably for two months in some countries for less than $1500. That’s a beautiful thing.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Good article! Funny that I wrote an article with nearly the same title on my blog, too. A few more ideas: do online surveys for money, buy all you can through a cash back website portal like ebates.com, and start a paying hobby like Christmas caroling or selling crafts at craft fairs.

  3. Medical trials people! Seriously they are not as dangerous as they sound and there are thousands and thousands of studies small and large done each year in developed countries. A lot of the time you are just taking pills that are already readily available in pharmacies and have been tested on humans before. I have done four so far ( 3 in the UK, 1 in Australia) and all have been fine. Generally you find students or people out of work volunteering. Most pay around $300 – $400 for each night you stay. Do some research and get those additionally travel funds! :)

    1. Yes Ryan, this is definitely an option for people that don’t mind taking drugs! I personally wouldn’t test drugs to make money for traveling since I am not a fan of pills, and prefer healing things naturally.

      Quick note: There are some medical volunteer trials where researchers/doctors just asked a few questions, take some tests and that’s it. But of course those trials pay a lot less. Either way, if you decide to go this route to make money, we recommend doing some research and making sure whatever trial you want to be a part of is worth the risk.

      Thanks for the additional info Ryan, our readers and we appreciate it! :)

  4. Hey Ben,
    Thanks for this list. I feel like my wife and I do well with the savings part for travel but are always looking out for ways to cut unnecessary expenses. Things like cable and other subscriptions are a good way to cut monthly costs. I use to have Kindle Unlimited and was paying nearly $10 a month and forgot about that I even had it. That’s $120 bucks! Subscriptions are a sneaky way providers to keep a steady cash flow out of your pockets. Thanks again and happy travels ahead.
    Cheers,
    Mark

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