How to Save Money for Travel: Budget Tips, Hacks and More

These tips on saving money to travel the world will help you work out how much you are spending, what you can cut back on, and how to put away more cash for your next trip!

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Travel costs money – Start saving now!

I want to share with you how to save money for your next trip. From budget tips, hacks and more, saving money doesn't have to be complicated or difficult – it just takes a little know-how.

More importantly though, it takes discipline.

My first trips around the world were done on shoestring budgets. And the money saved for those trips was earned in crappy minimum wage jobs.

With minimal resources, I learned that my long term dream had to be more important than my short term desires. That's the real philosophy behind saving money for a trip!

But how did I do it?

How to save money for travel

Sit back, relax and read on as we discuss how to make the most of your hard-earned cash so that you can get out there and explore the world. But remember, all the money saving hacks in the world won't do you any good if you don't put them into practice!

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1. Work out where your money is going

So, you're looking to save money to put towards long term travel. Sounds like a great idea. But how do you know where to start?

Well, the first step is understanding how much money you earn, how much you spend and how to improve the positive balance between the two.

The simplest way to work out where your money is going is by writing down each day what you spend it on during a one month period. The reason to do this, is that you'll get into the habit of writing your expenses down each day, and you'll become more consciously aware of how and where you are spending money.

Luckily, there are plenty of tools and apps that make this process quick and easy. Failing that, just write down in a spreadsheet or on a pad what you spend you money on for a month.

Identify big outgoings like monthly bills, and see how you can reduce those as much as you can. Once you've done that, budget in advance for what you know will happen (like birthday parties) so that there's less chance of overspending. Then, you can set a savings plan and challenge yourself to keep to it as you save towards your RTW trip.

Related: How to make a passive income when traveling

2. Get a second job. Or a third one

Hopefully, after looking at your expenses for a month, you'll find that you earn more than you spend. If you've worked out you don't, then you've got problems saving money to travel!

Regardless, increasing your income is never a bad thing. It will help you save more money faster, and hey, if you're busier working, you'll have less time to spend money, right?

Does you current job offer the possibility of overtime? Is there a promotion you can apply for? Is there any way you can get a second or third job? Can you work from home in the evenings?

Try making extra income any way you can (legally of course!), and you'll achieve your savings goals faster.

The perfect scenario is to find a way to increase your income that you can also carry over as you travel. If you can work online you can work remotely from anywhere, and this means you'll constantly be topping up the all important travel fund during the trip itself. (I've heard that there's money in blogging – apparently).

3. Set up a travel bank account

Now you've started to create a positive difference between income and outgoings, you want to put your money somewhere you won't touch it.

One of the best ways to save money, is to start a new account that you never even look at, and then deposit money into this account that you know will be saved for travelling.

This worked great for me. All my bills would come out of one account, and my savings account only ever saw money deposited into it and never withdrawn while I was saving to travel.

One suggestion, is to look at a Revolut or Transferwise account. Not only can you save money into these, but you'll get great exchange rates when you start traveling in far-off countries, helping your travel budget to last even further!

Budgeting for Travelling

4. Cut out the booze, coffee, and cigarettes

This can be a hard one for most people, but hopefully after having looked where you are spending your money, you will see the benefit!

Smoking is bad for you anyway, and drinking is not that much better. As for coffee – do Starbucks really deserve 10 times more than the cost of making yourself a coffee?

Not only will cutting back on these daily expenses save you money, but it will also make you healthier! Giving up smoking and then drinking has quite literally save me thousands over the years (now 5 years without a single drink). I wish I'd done it sooner!

5. Cook more at home

If you are looking for ways to save money, and have a healthier diet, then one of the best things you can do is to cook dinner more at home.

Cooking your own meals will help you save a ton of money for your next trip. Taking your own lunch to work instead of buying it will also save you a heap.

Another benefit of cooking at home, is that the relatively little time it takes you is still time you won't feel tempted to be spending your money on something else!

Cooking at home also helps improve your health as it limits how much sodium, sugar and other unhealthy ingredients that are in packaged foods or restaurant food. You'll end up in far better shape to enjoy your travels!

6. Walk or Cycle more

If you've followed any of my bike touring adventures around the world, you'll already know I'm a big advocate of cycling!

We all know that it's cheaper to walk or cycle than drive a car. Maintaining a car requires regular maintenance and repair which can be expensive depending on your vehicle.

You'll also have to pay for gas, parking fees and other related expenses like tolls. Walking or cycling more is also a lot cheaper than taking Ubers as well! 

You're probably going to be walking a lot more when you travel as you go sightseeing and exploring, so you might as well get into the habit before you go and save up some money in the process!

Cycling to Methoni Castle in the Peloponnese

7. Stop your subscriptions

You may not think that your subscriptions are expensive, but look at it this way – Every Netflix monthly payment is enough to eat for a day or two in many other countries! Same goes for your Prime subscription, and let's not even talk about any phone contracts you've got! The best solution is to get rid of these subscriptions and contracts as early as you can.

Often the companies make it difficult to cancel. Even if you do manage to find a phone number or email address where you can contact them and get in touch with customer service, they'll inevitably tell you how much money is being wasted by cancelling. Don't let them put you off!

You'll probably need to cancel them before your long-term trip in any case, so why not cancel them well in advance and save some more money for your travels at the same time.

Tips here: How to live for yourself and travel more

8. Sell your stuff

Have you accumulated quite a bit of junk you rarely use over the years? It might be time to get rid of it. You won't need it when you are traveling in any case.

Sell items you no longer need online for extra cash to put towards travel expenses. If you want to sell your items then do a bit of research first.

You can find how much things are worth by looking at similar listings on eBay, or use websites like Amazon and Craigslist for inspiration.

9. Buy new stuff at a discount

You may need to buy specific items for your trip, or just in general as you save towards your travels. Make a list of all the things you want to buy and only buy them when they're on sale.

Take advantage of freebies and discounts when possible. As you won't be watching Netflix (because you cancelled the subscription, right?) you can spend more time looking for bargains and deals!

10. Reduce your rent

Rent is normally a big expense, so have a think if there are any ways to reduce it. One way to do this is by getting a roommate.

Shared accommodation can massively reduce the amount of rent you pay, so it's worth asking around or signing up with sites.

You might also consider moving somewhere cheaper, or even free. I've heard of people living in vans or sleeping on friends sofas so they could save enough money to travel!

So, what's the next step? Working out a way to earn money as you travel. Here's some great ideas for digital nomad jobs for beginners.

Saving money for travel FAQ

Readers planning a world trip and looking for travel tips on how to start saving money, often ask questions similar to:

How much money should you save if you want to travel?

In 2022, you should aim to have at least $1500 spending money per month available in your travel fund. So, if you plan to be away on your dream trip for 6 months, you'll need to put away $9000 in your travel savings account.

How do I save money for a trip?

Remember, it's better to have a strategy and savings goal in place to save money for your big trip around the world. Analyze your spending habits, cut down on your monthly expenses, and start saving all the extra money you can!

What is the 30 day rule for saving money?

The 30-day savings rule is easy: the next time you find yourself thinking about making an impulse buy, stop and consider it for 30 days. If you still want to make that purchase after those 30 days, go ahead.

How much money do you realistically need to travel?

Living expenses and travel costs vary depending where in the world travel will take you. For example, Southeast Asia is always going to be cheaper than Scandinavia, and Central America costs less to travel around the North America. A realistic budget for a 6-month trip around the world is $1000 per month.

How do I save money for a trip without feeling deprived?

The key is to find ways to trim your expenses and live more frugally without feeling like you're missing out. Cancelling unnecessary subscriptions, eating simple meals, and selling unused belongings are all great ways to start saving money without feeling deprived.

Related: Reasons Why Long Term Travel Is Cheaper Than Regular Vacations

Money saving tips for a trip around the world

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