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How to Save Money for Travel: 6 Easy Tips

Travel doesn’t have to be expensive! It’s all about saving ENOUGH money to travel and then living within your means while you’re on the road! Here is how to save money for travel with 6 tips that you can start implementing right away.

I was able to backpack Southeast Asia for 3 months with only a few thousand saved up… but I wouldn’t recommend cutting it that close. Saving money to travel is all about discipline and foresight, but if you do it right, you can have the time of your life on the road without worrying about money along the way. 

In this blog post, you’re going to learn:

  • Budgeting Based to Regions
  • How to Create a Sinking Fund
  • Quick ways to save money for travel
  • Easy budget hacks
  • How to make your money last

I want to emphasize that travel is not just for rich people!!! You just need to learn how to have better money habits.

6 Easy-to-Follow Tips to Save Money for Travel

1. Make a Budget Based on the Region

When saving money to travel, it’s important that you decide what region you want to travel around first because that will dictate the amount of money you’ll need to save. In some regions, you’ll need significantly LESS money to travel (like Asia or South America!) and others will be shockingly expensive (like Scandinavia!).

I’ve organized and HIGHLY generalized to create the following list. It’s organized from the LEAST to the most expensive.

save money to travel

2. Establish a Weekly Budget

Once again, these are sweeping generalizations about travel budgets, but I want to provide actual numbers for you to work with when calculating your money to travel.

My personal rule of thumb (which is sweeping and generalized) is the following:

1 Person (Accommodation, Local Transport, Eating Out, Basic Tourism, NO INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS). 

$ = $300 per week

$$ = $600 per week

$$$ = $1100 per week

$$$$ = $1400 per week

The above assumptions are based on the idea that you live in modest accommodation (but not necessarily hostel dorm) and I’ve included eating out and local transport….

Because you didn’t fly 1000 miles around the world to just eat homemade sandwiches at home.

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3. Create a Sinking Fund

If you’re budgeting money to travel, you should start by creating a sinking fund. A Sinking Fund is ‘a strategic way to save money by setting aside a little bit each month.’

By working backwards, you’ll be able to gauge how much money you’ll need to save each month to hit your Sinking Fund goal by the time your trip comes around.

This way, you’ll have a pot of money that is MEANT to be spent when you arrive at your travel destination… so try not to feel too guilt while you’re enjoying the fruits of your labor in Paris.

Example Scenario of a Sinking Fund

For example, if Vanessa is taking a solo trip to the United Kingdom for 2 weeks… then her Sinking Fund (or dedicated money for travel) will be estimated at $2200.

As a reminder, this does not include international flights. Let’s price the International Flights from LAX (economy) at $800.

Total Budget Expected: $3000

If Vanessa is planning her trip 6 months in advance, she would need to put $500 away into her Sinking Fund per month.

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4. Follow These Easy Budget Hacks

Next, you need to ensure that you KEEP all that money you’ve just ‘stumbled upon’ by ensuring your budget is working properly for you.

Start with setting up a ‘Zero-Sum Budget’ (also known as a Zero-Based Budget), which will help you split up your money into essential and non-essential categories.

In my Zero-Sum Budget Article, I’ll teach you how to organize your budget into the following categories:

  • Fixed Expenses
  • Savings & Investments
  • Flexible Spending

You can replace ‘Savings & Investments’ or ‘Flexible Spending’ with a Sinking Fund. As long as you’re sending money into a dedicated and protected space each month, that’s just fine.

In our ‘Money to Travel’ United Kingdom example, Vanessa will need to save $500 per month from her non-essential category in order to max out her Sinking Fund before she leaves on her trip!

By separating her essential and non-essential spending, Vanessa will be able to pay all of her normal bills just fine WHILE saving money for her United Kingdom trip.

5. Economize on Your Non-Essential Spending

If you want to save money quickly, you need to economize on your non-essential spending. This sounds simple, but most people struggle with this immensely. Here are my top hacks to save money quickly.

  • Be home no later than 8pm. This will directly reduce wasteful spending on social activities, BUT you can still invite friends over for drinks, food, and fun.
  • Pick up a side hustle and move those profits through an LLC. This will lower the amount of tax you owe on that money immensely so you can keep more of it AND you can expense the travel as a ‘business cost’ (YOU’RE WELCOME). 
  • Always cook double portions for dinner. This will incentivize you to bring leftovers for lunch the next day and potentially save you $10 a day on lunch (which is $50 per week, etc).
  • Literally FREEZE your credit card in a block of ice in the freezer. This will discourage usage because you can’t microwave the block of ice into water with a metal card. You’ll literally have to wait until it completely unfreezes.
  • Call your service providers and negotiate a better deal by threatening to leave. If you can find a better deal somewhere else, quote that deal directly to the service provider and ask them to match it.
  • Sell old clothing, furniture and the stuff from ex-boyfriends’ (joke) online to make cash quickly.

These are just a few of my favorite ways to budget quickly; comment with your favorites below! 

Honestly, if you give this advice a sold try for at least 1 month, you’ll be astonished by how quickly you’ll save money by executing the above advice asap.

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6. Make Your Money Last while Traveling

It’s easy to spend like you’re Puff Daddy while on Vacation, but try not to let the glamor go to your head! The reality is that you’ve worked hard to save this money so you don’t want to blow through your savings trying to live your #BestLife abroad.

Here are my top tips for making your money last.

1. Pay for everything upfront

Pay for your tours, hotels, and transport as much as possible before you arrive. This way, you can ensure you’ll have enough money to get around properly and you can focus the rest of your budget on fun, non-essential purchases – like food 😉

2. Take advantage of your hotel’s breakfast policy

In fact, steal a few pastries to eat later as well! More often than not, I go out at the crack of dawn to take Instagram Photos at the top locations before anyone else is awake and then I head back to my hotel to change into sensible clothing, drop off my camera, and to catch the tail-end of breakfast.

This way, I get to potentially skip lunch and I only need to pay for dinner.

3. Skip the fancy restaurants or experiences

More often than not, I’m always disappointed by the ultra-chic, high-end restaurants or experiences that all the luxury bloggers recommend.

I’m more passionate about good food and local travel experiences as a whole and I can typically find these for under $50 per person – easily. Fancy does not necessarily mean amazing.

4. Don’t go home too late

As the night goes on, your wallet gets lighter. It’s simple physics. Even if you don’t drink, taxis tend to crank up their prices later at night because they know options are limited.

Clubs and bars also start charging a premium to get in too. Just like Cinderella, try to be home by midnight and you might just catch the last train instead of smashing your budget to pieces!

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Conclusion

I hope this was a helpful article about how to save money to travel! I consider myself to be very creative when it comes to creating solutions like this but do drop a comment about YOUR favorite ways to save money to travel.

I’m always open to ideas and I’m sure others would appreciate it too!

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