Let’s face it, we all want to travel further, longer & more often. We’re addicts. Or maybe you’re now planning your first trip and you need to figure out how to actually pay for it. I will give you my advice to help you figure out how to save money to travel.
The Secret to Save More Money to Travel
People often react surprised when I tell them how I manage to save money to travel. Although it seems obvious to me.
Decide that you want this more than you want anything else.
Maybe you do need food and shelter, the occasional meal out with friends, a date here or there. But do you need a Netflix, Hulu & Spotify subscription? Two artisan lattes every day? That expensive gym membership that you only use the first week of January? A subscription to every travel magazine there is?
Some of these might be more important to you than others. The point is, find categories of spending where you can do with less. For example, after 4,5 years of living on my own, I moved back in with my parents.
I always feel a little embarrassed when I tell people this, because I enjoyed living independently. However, it does help me save over € 400 in rent, every month. That’s € 4800 a year! Imagine where I have spent all that money.
(In case you couldn’t imagine, I spent it travelling in India, surfing in Sri Lanka, snowboarding in France, and living in South Africa.)
The best advice I can give you is this; decide what you want out of life and what you’re willing to give up to get it.
This might be my best advice for life in general.
Travel Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive
I’m not going to tell you that travel it’s free. It’s not.
There are always going to be transport, food & accommodation costs. However, if you want to see the world with a small budget, travel creatively.
Why don’t you use WWOOF to find an organic farm to help out on and explore someplace you’ve never been before. Couchsurf to cut costs on accommodation and meet new friends. Or save enough money for a ticket and travel on a working holiday visa (Australia, New Zealand, and Canada are the first destinations that I can think of).
Look for deals on airfare, hostels & hotels, transport and don’t forget to pounce on a proper deal. My first solo trip to Vietnam, I found a deal for € 511 for a return flight. I booked it and didn’t look back.
(Looking back now, that flight started all of this. So it did not turn out cheap at all..)
I mentioned this in the beginning already, but cutting your spending might be easier than increasing your income. In addition to the example above, I’m just going to tell a story to prove this point.
If I remember it correctly, I was going on my second solo trip, to Thailand and Cambodia this time. I was talking about it after class and a friend says something along the following lines: well, how do you afford all of that? Your parents must be paying for everything.
I got furious, although I tried not to show it. I simply said, well, you smoke a packet of cigarettes a day. At € 6 each that’s 180 € a month. That 2000 € yearly smoking habit alone pays for my trip.
I also just heard her mentioning going to a concert last night and scoring tickets for that massive festival this summer. Are those tickets free?
The point is, we decide what we’re willing to spend our disposable income on. I recommend you spend it on the things that make you happiest. For me, that’s discovering the world. (And reading about discovering the world, which is why I do sometimes buy those expensive travel magazines.)
Make More Money
Sure Sandra, I’ll just make more money. You know, I’ll just grow it on my money tree.
I hear ya. This might be the hardest to do. After all, there is only limited time in a week. You probably have obligations besides work or study (or both). So it’s important to look for ways to earn more money without increasing the amount of work too much.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What can I sell?
- Can I make anything and sell that?
- Should I ask for a raise?
- Can I pick up additional hours at work?
- Is it possible to do an extra course to make me eligible for a promotion?
- Should I apply for a different/better job?
I’ve noticed that working extra hours has a double benefit. Not only do I make extra money, I also have less time to spend the money I do make. I often see a disproportionate increase in savings when I work more.
The Plan to Save Money to Travel More
So, now that we’ve established that you’re going to water that money tree, what are the additional steps?
- Decide which trip you want to save for and set the amount you need to save.
- Take a look at your spending and decide where you can cut back.
- Figure out how much money that will save you.
- Figure out if you can do anything to make more money (or increase your income potential in the future).
- Save the money (and put it in a savings account with a decent interest rate).
My favourite and final step:
That’s it. My secret to save money to travel has been revealed. Do you have any additional tricks? How do you plan to save for your next big trip? Please share in the comments so we can all benefit!