Changing your entire lifestyle in order to save money for travel can seem totally daunting…
Where to even begin? You’re pretty much broke and traveling just seems like a distant dream…
But if you really want to travel and 100% believe that you can do it, your dreams are far from impossible and can be achieved much sooner than you think.
20 Simple Hacks To Save Money For Travel Fast
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1. Voice your dreams/goals
Before you start physically saving your money, it’s important to share your travel dreams and goals with your friends and family.
This creates what’s called a ‘social commitment‘…
It almost forces you to save the money to achieve your goal, otherwise you’d be letting yourself and others down.
2. Start a new savings account
Using one bank account and trying to separate your travel savings from what you can actually spend often goes terribly wrong.
Instead, simply set up another account and automatically deposit the savings every time you receive a pay-check (like a virtual piggy-bank).
The best way to do this is to set up a high interest, low fee account without a card to access it. This way, when the money goes in and you can’t touch it, your interest will grow.
Automatic deposits can be set up via internet banking. Have it so that on the day you get paid, a portion of it immediately gets deposited into the savings account.
3. Create a calendar
Once you have your new savings account set up, it’s time to create a calendar.
This is so that you can clearly see how much money you need to deposit each week and how much time you have left until you leave.
What you first need to do is work out your desired savings amount.
You can determine this figure through researching the cost of living/traveling in each place you want to go on a site like nomadlist.com.
Next, you need to calculate the amount of weeks you have left until you go.
Then simply divide your desired amount of money by how many weeks there are.
The answer is how much you need to save each week.
Now, take your calendar and write the amount you need to save on every day you get paid, up until the day you leave.
If your pay varies, adjust your savings accordingly…
For example, when I used this strategy, some weeks I was paid far more than normal and other weeks I was paid less…
So for the weeks that I earned more, I’d add more to the savings account to make up for the weeks that I earned less and couldn’t deposit as much.
4. Start saving as early as possible
Now that you know how much you need to save each week, start saving asap.
The longer you leave it, the more you will have to take from your pay-checks later on.
Saving early ensures that you won’t struggle with little money to get by on closer to the date of your departure or end up with less savings than you need.
5. Set a budget
After taking out your travel savings, it’s then beneficial to create a budget for the remaining money you receive from each pay-check.
On this budget plan, write down all of your common monthly expenses – rent/mortgage, car repayments, electricity, insurance, food, phone bill, clothing, entertainment, etc.
Alongside each of these, write down the average cost of each category and then work out the total.
Once you know how much to budget, then you can attain a realistic idea of how much you have left for leisurely spending.
If you have more than enough, top up the travel savings account.
6. Track you expenses
Once you start saving, and also while you travel, it is a good idea to download an expense tracking app.
Every time you spend money, input the amount into the app and give it a category and sub-category…
For example, if I went out for a beer and snack I would probably categorise it under ‘food’ and sub-categorise it under ‘eating out’.
So when I am low on money at the end of the month, I can go to my expense tracker and open up a graph to see where my money is going.
If I can see that I’m spending way too much on ‘eating out’ I can then make a simple lifestyle change and start cooking more at home.
7. Stop using credit cards…
Unless you can use them responsibly for the purpose of collecting points/miles, credit cards are not on your side (as much as it may seem like it during the purchasing phase).
If you are just scratching by after putting your travel savings and expense budget aside, don’t go and pick-up a credit card…
The interest will immediately put you in debt.
And once you’re in dept, saving for travel can not be your number one a priority anymore. This means you’ll be waiting a lot longer until you can travel.
8. Get a roomie
If you are single or in a relationship, have a spare room and don’t mind sharing your home with another person or couple, this will immediately reduce your living costs.
This does depend on your personal preferences, age, what stage of the relationship you may be in, etc but if you are a social person/couple, this could be a fantastic way to make new friends and save some money!
It doesn’t matter whether you’re renting or paying off a mortgage, if you divide the cost between more people, you can then use the money you save for more adventures.
You can also take it one step further and split food, transport and entertainment costs.
9. Carpool or start riding
If you live in close proximity to your workplace, local shops, etc why not save money on fuel and ride a bicycle instead?
Not only is this good for your travel fund but it’s also good for your health!
If riding is out of the question, how about carpooling?
Get a bunch of you together (perhaps your work colleagues) and designate who drives on which days.
This way, you’ll only be using your car for a maximum of 3 days per week instead of 7.
Not only will this save fuel but it’ll also save maintenance expenses. It may also reduce your insurance bill as the car wouldn’t be out on the street as much.
10. Go pre-paid
How many times have you gone crazy on Youtube only to receive a giant phone bill at the end of the month?
You can instantly block this from happening by going pre-paid instead.
By being on a plan you probably pay far more than you actually use anyway.
So go old-school. Buy credit.
Neither Dan nor I are on a phone plan and haven’t been on one for a very long time.
We’re doing just fine with our $30 credit. 🙂
11. Stop collecting things, start selling them
You’re going traveling! Why are you buying more unnecessary stuff?
What are you gonna do with it all?
This is the time to start reducing your possessions, not adding to them so start selling!
Do a garage sale, set up a stall at your local market, take photo’s of everything and upload them to eBay…
These are just some of the ways to get rid of all the things you don’t want anymore and deposit a chunk of cash into your travel fund.
It’ll feel good, trust me.
12. Make large downpayments on loans
Like I said earlier, being in dept isn’t ideal when you’re trying to save money for travel but it many cases, it’s inevitable…
Whether you’re paying off student loans, car finance or a mortgage, the best way to get through it quickly and with less expense is to make a large downpayment.
In most cases, this will prompt a discount an reduce the total amount owed.
13. Do the 10-second and 30-day rules
When you want something (materialistically speaking) there are two ways you can reduce the impulse to purchase.
There’s the 10-second rule, where you pick up the item and look at it for 10-seconds. This will give you enough time to really consider whether or not you need it.
And there’s the 30-day rule, where you pick up something you like (usually with a higher price tag), put it back down and then wait for a month…
If you still really want/need it after the 30 days then buy it, but most of the time you’ll forget about it or realise it’s not worth the money.
14. Avoid convenience foods, fast food and smoking!
Packaged foods (like those horrible frozen meals), fast food/eating out all the time and smoking will put a huge dent in your budget.
In Australia, for example, the average smoker spends $540 per month / $6,480 per year on cigarettes. Imagine the amount of traveling that could be done instead…
Convenience/fast food can cost up to $15 per meal and most of the time you end up feeling hungry again afterwards, so you spend/eat more…
If you eat convenience/fast food for lunch and dinner 5 days per week thats up to $600 per month + the snacks you eat in between.
Cooking batches of wholesome, filling food at home and then freezing it, will not only cost less but your body will love you for it.
15. Adopt a frugal mindset
It’s time to start living more minimally.
You don’t need fancy shoes and handbags and cars and gadgets…
These things won’t make you happy for long and you’ll realise this when you start traveling.
At the end of the day, it’s the experiences, the memories, the people that you will cherish most.
16. Ask for fees to be waived
Bank fees… Booking fees… Transfer fees… Life fees…
There are so many fees these days that we just pay because we’re told we have to…
If you calculated the amount of money you spend just on fees over the course of a lifetime, I doubt you’d be happy with the outcome.
So, what can you do about it? Simple.
Ask for the fees to be waived. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
You’ll be surprised by how many people say yes.
17. Ask for cash discounts
Not only can you ask for fees to be waived, you can also ask for a discount when you’re paying in cash.
For example, many tradesmen will waive the tax if you pay them cash.
And if you think about it, when you pay for something with a credit card, the shop owner has to pay a fee, which is sometimes really high…
If you pay in cash, you’re saving them money, so giving you a little discount won’t put them out of pocket.
18. Learn to negotiate
Whether you’re still at home or already on the road, knowing how to negotiate is important if you want to save money.
Price negotiation isn’t always achievable, but if you are dealing with the business owner directly, more often than not, you’ll be able to strike a mutually beneficial deal.
This is especially apparent when you’re traveling to places that thrive on tourism…
9/10 the original price of something will be much higher than what the vendor will eventually accept, so always negotiate.
19. Turn off the TV
What? Turn off the TV? What has that got to do with saving money for travel?
A lot, actually.
First of all, advertisements…
If your favourite soap show airs during primetime, you’ll spend more time watching ads than watching the latest family drama (which probably has you coming back for more every night).
And what are ads designed to do? Make you want to buy things!
So what do you go and do the next day? Buy things!
Then there’s the bills…
Imagine life with a significantly reduced electricity bill or without having to pay for Netflix (because you’re secretly addicted).
Turning off the TV will not only benefit you financially, but it’ll also give you time to work on something more productive, like a side business in order to save more money (ok, I know, that’s another financial benefit)…
Stimulate your brain in other ways…
Get inspired by books, take a course, go exercise, etc.
20. Don’t give up!
Finally, saving for your travel dreams can feel like a never-ending pursuit…
At first, it may be daunting or seem unobtainable, but I promise, if you follow the steps I’ve given you here, you will see results sooner than you think.
Keep that end goal in mind, stick to your social commitment, stay disciplined and you’ll be traveling before you know it!
If you want even more information and advice on saving and earning money for travel, download my free eBook, 12 Steps To Full Time Travel.
Over to you! Leave your answers in the comment section below…
- Are you currently trying to save money for travel? What are you doing to achieve this? What are you struggling with? Let me know!
- Do you know of any more effective strategies to save money for travel? Please share!