I’ve been asked many times how I’m able to fund all my trips abroad.
Rob and I use many methods to travel so frequently, but the main reason we’re able to afford it all is because we’re actually quite good at saving. We never borrow money for our trips – it’s all paid for upfront with the funds in our bank account. Being financially savvy is a skill that we have both worked hard to develop, and we actually find it quite exciting to figure out ways to save more.
If you take a look at any of my annual travel budget posts, you’ll see that Rob and I stretch our travel funds to cover 2-3 months of travel each year. Travel is far from a cheap hobby, but we think it’s worth a few lifestyle sacrifices in order to take as many trips as we do.
With plans for a month-long trip to the (rather expensive) country of Japan in June, I’ve already started some financial preparations. A cost estimate including flights, accommodations, and transport between cities has given me a dollar figure to use as a savings goal, so that when the trip comes around we’ll be ready to have an amazing time without worrying about money.
If you want to save up some moolah for your upcoming travels, here’s my tips on how to save money for travel and get big bucks for your next trip!
Reduce your expenses
The easiest way to save money is to spend less! Look into reducing your expenses by creating a budget spreadsheet, then going through your bank statement and taking note of everything you spent money on in the past month. Grouping expenses into categories like rent, eating out, groceries, entertainment, transport, shopping, and bills makes it easier to see where the biggest chunks of money is going.
With those numbers in front of you, can you see anything that you might be able to cut out or reduce? Are there any memberships (like a gym, or streaming services) that you don’t use often or could do without? Do you spend way more than you should on coffee or beer? Think about ways to consume less or choose a cheaper option.
There are loads of things that Rob and I have done over the years to reduce our expenses, like giving up our car back in 2013. Using public transport instead of driving saves us literally thousands of dollars every year. Living a more minimalist lifestyle by only spending money on things you actually need is a great place to start.
Pay off your loans
It might seem counter-intuitive to spend more money paying off loans before you even begin saving money for travel, but this is going to make things SO MUCH EASIER. Quick debt in the form of credit cards or personal loans is going to inhibit your ability to save. Every interest payment you’re making is money that could have gone towards your next trip!
If you’ve already found ways to reduce your expenses, put that extra money towards paying off your loans. Once the debt is paid off, that extra money plus the money you would have spent on interest payments can now go straight to your travel funds.
Save small amounts
International trips can be damn expensive and it might seem as though you’ll never be able to save up enough, but saving money works best if you do it slowly and consistently. By putting aside small amounts of money over a long period of time, the amount will add up to something significant.
Think about it – by saving $50 a week, you’ll have $1300 for travel in just 6 months time. Up that amount to $80 per week, and that would be $2080. Every little bit of extra cash that you can put aside will boost your savings.
Take on more work
Taking on more work is a sure way to build up your savings. Can you take on a part-time job, or do more shifts at your current job? Could you take a neighbour’s dog for a walk or babysit their kids a few times a week for some extra cash?
If you feel as though you’re already too busy to take on more work, remember that it doesn’t take much – just a few extra hours a week will mean you can put those additional dollars into your trip savings.
I’m all about saving every dollar possible! There are plenty of ways to be thrifty in your everyday life, and saving a few bucks here and there will result in more money for your trip fund. Here’s a few ideas on ways to be frugal:
- Discounts & coupons – Nearly every product is discounted at some time or another. Look for discounts or coupons online or at stores like your local supermarket. If they have your favourite cereal for $2 off, stock up on 10 packets to consume over the next few months! That $20 can go into your savings.
- Restaurant specials – Some of the local restaurants in my area do mid-week meal deals or have cheaper prices at lunch time. Keep an eye out for restaurant specials, and plan your meals around them!
- Cooking & groceries – Whenever you can, cook your own foods at home – it’s almost always cheaper than eating out. High carb foods like bread, pasta, and rice are a great option to fill you up for cheap. Just make sure you add some veggies in there for nutrition.
It’s important to remember that saving money for travel doesn’t usually happen in large sums (unless you get lucky with your tax refund!). If you plan ahead and save small amounts wherever possible, you will build up your trip fund eventually.