Although you can score some great deals and travel is becoming more and more accessible to the average person, it still is not free (for most of us anyway). I used to look at people who traveled often and wondered how they’re paying for these frequent trips. One of the phenomena of the 21st century is how accessible travel has become, and the different forms of trips that have followed. For example, you can spend months in a different country learning and absorbing a new culture. Becoming a Cultural Care Au Pair has become common practice and one of many ways to now travel around. But traveling around in any form requires you to be budget-conscious and save money wherever possible. Once I ruled out those who were wealthy, traveled for a living (therefore received sponsored trips, accommodations, and other perks) or had racked up an INSANE amount of miles, I was able to unearth some methods of saving money that worked for me so I wanted to share with you 5 ways to save money for travel.
1. Create a budget and stick to it
In my career I use Excel A LOT so it was no surprise that it managed to work its way into my life outside of the office. I use it for my personal budget to manage my household expenses so I know where my money is going and what I’m spending it on. Creating a budget is helpful in saving for travel because it allows you to see expenses you can probably do without and it gives you visibility to how much discretionary income you have that can be devoted to funding your travels.
*side note* Although my spreadsheet says internet AND cable I actually gave my cable subscription the boot MONTHS ago! I realized I was barely watching TV and the $50/month I was spending on that expense was better off in my travel savings account.
2. Treat your savings like a monthly expense
As you can see on the screenshot I included of my budget spreadsheet, I included “Travel Savings Account” under “Misc Expenses”. I approach saving for travel with the same seriousness I approach paying my rent and car note or maybe look for the cheapest car insurance companies uk, to save get to your goals quicker. As much as I need a roof over my head and my car to get back and forth, I NEED to travel and I enjoy having the resources available to cover the cost of travel whenever the feeling hits me. In addition to actually saving the money, also re-consider WHERE you save your money. Using same way my cousin save hundreds of dollars on halo cigs. The out of sight, out of mind approach works well for me so instead of having my travel savings account at my primary bank, I opted to open an account with another bank and I just transfer the money online. Every now and then I log into my savings account to make sure everything’s on the up and up, but other than that I leave it be and watch the savings add up!
3. Save that spare change
You can use one of these spiffy digital coin counters, a shoe box or an old coffee can. Whatever the container SAVE THAT CHANGE! When I get home in the evening, I like to empty all my loose change into my coin counter. Are you going to collect enough coins to buy a roundtrip ticket to St. Tropez? Maybe not, but every bit counts and it all adds up. Try to find deals and promotion. I often see ads about phallosan forte coupons and deals that can save you huge.
4. Online fundraising
I’ve seen varying opinions on whether it’s appropriate to ask people to finance your vacations and I’ve seen valid points being made from both sides of this argument. Because I personally don’t see anything wrong with it, I am going to recommend this as a means for building your travel fund UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS.
One of the conditions under which I think this is acceptable is for special occasions (birthdays, wedding, etc.) or holidays like Christmas. I don’t think there is anything wrong with saying something along the lines of “In lieu of a physical gift I/we would appreciate donations of any amount being made to my/our travel fund…” Go Fund Me now has a section devoted solely to people who are using their platform for this very reason. The second condition under which I think this is acceptable is if your travel is part of a bigger cause such as humanitarian work. Crowdfunding site like Fund My Travel target those who have a desire to study or volunteer abroad. It allows them to create campaigns to raise money as well as keep contributors up to date with their progress.
5. Ask yourself “Do I really need that?”
A good friend of mine shared with me a saying that I try to keep at the forefront of my mind, “Experiences are greater than things.” I know this SOUNDS good, but for me, someone who LOVES things, this was a tough idea to incorporate into my spending habits. But then I realized that buying my 100th maxi dress won’t get me to Santorini but the money I would’ve spent on that dress will get me a little closer. So before I make any purchase I ask myself “Sanura, do you REALLY need that?” and ten times out of ten the answer is no. There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself every now and then, but you have to decide if a new outfit, handbag or pair of shoes are worth more than the experience of traveling somewhere foreign and new and the experiences you’ll have there. If you answer correctly, you’ll probably find that your best bet is to save that money.
I know there’s more I can do to save money for traveling and I could probably be a bit more aggressive but these are some tips that work best for me right now. Just like I had to figure out what works best for me, you’ll have to do the same for yourself since everyone’s financial situation is different. For example, if you live with your parents or don’t own a car you can probably save more aggressively than someone who has to budget for these expenses. But one thing I want to leave you with is to do what’s comfortable for you. Saving money is tough enough so you don’t want to put additional strain and pressure on yourself. If setting aside $100 every pay period is too much of a sacrifice, then start with $50 or even $25. Getting into the rhythm of saving is just as important as the amount itself.
What are some of your favorite tips, tricks, and methods for saving money? Drop me a comment and let me know!