For most people, one of the biggest obstacles to travel is figuring out the money. But you don’t need to be rich to travel the world; a lot of the time it comes down to reassessing priorities.
Saving money can be a daunting task, but there are many ways to cut costs, and with a couple of creative strategies you might be amazed at how quickly you can build a travel fund.
How to Save Money For Your Travel Fund
Create a Savings Plan
The first step to successful saving is figuring out how much you need to save. If you don’t have a plan in place you’re less likely to stay motivated to reach your goals, and less likely to save any extra cash to put towards your travels.
Make sure your savings goal is realistic in terms of your current financial situation. For instance, if you’re saving with the idea of flying first class and staying in 5 star hotels, but can only realistically save enough for backpackers accommodation, you need to adjust your expectations.
Work out how much you need per week for the necessities (rent, electricity, petrol, food etc), and how much you spend per week on the non essentials (smoking, alcohol, new clothes etc).
Based on your assessment, decide whether you want to remove any expenses that aren’t necessary, have any room to cut down on those which are (ie riding a bike to work instead of driving the car), or pursue additional income in order to meet your goals.
Pro Tip: It’s important to assess your progress as you go; to see if there is any room for improvement, if you need to cut costs even further, or if it’s working out even better than you hoped (in which case, maybe you can fly first class!).
Cut Out Unnecessary Costs
You would be amazed at how much you can save by cutting out unnecessary costs. Some will be fairly insignificant and easy to de-prioritize, like luxury purchases, or upgrading your iPhone every 3 months. Others may be more difficult to endure, like kicking a coffee addiction, or cancelling your Netflix.
My best advice is to sit down and weigh up whether your goals are worth the price, and what you’re willing to pay to get there. Are you willing to cook your own meals instead of eating out if it means you can fly to Iceland next month? Are you willing to quit smoking, if the money you save will pay for 4 weeks of vacation?
“Creating a physical list of wants vs needs as part of your savings plan, and adding a dollar amount next to each expense can really put your habits and routines into a new perspective.” – All World travel tips website.
Cut Back On Starbucks
We’ve mentioned coffee above as an unnecessary expense, though I have a sneaking suspicion it’s landed in the “necessities” column of many people’s savings plan.
Eliminating coffee might seem like an impossible goal, and you might not be willing to even consider it, BUT, if you’re paying $5 every day, you’re spending $1,825 on coffee. If you have two coffees a day you’re spending $3,650.
Where could you travel with that kind of money?
If this is a non starter, consider cutting the cost of coffee by taking a flask to work instead of nipping into Starbucks. You can usually make your own coffee for a fraction of the price that it’s sold for in a coffee shop.
Track Your Spending
It’s one thing to say that you’ll cut back on unnecessary costs, but we’re all human, and we all slip up. But you need to know how often you’re slipping up to successfully manage your savings.
Tracking expenses is an important part of learning where you can cut back, and whether you’re staying on track. Write absolutely everything down, from how much you spend on food each week, to bottled water, magazines, and how much you spent at the movies.
Many people become disheartened with saving, and give up because they’re not meeting their goals. But this might be because you’re slipping back into old vices.
Travel With Friends
If you prefer to travel solo, that’s fabulous, but if you have friends who would be happy to tag along, this is a great way to cut your travel costs, which means it will be easier to save.
For instance if you’re traveling with a group of 5 + people, it ends up being cheaper to rent a farmhouse or a villa than a hotel or apartments. Food is cheaper because you can buy in bulk from local supermarkets, or split a main if you’re eating at a restaurant, and the same logic applies to car hire.
But the other fabulous thing about traveling with friends, is that if you’re all saving, it’s a lot easier to stay motivated and you can support each other through your coffee cravings!
Sell Your Stuff
If you’re looking for a quick way to save money for travel, selling stuff you don’t use anymore is a great way to boost a travel fund. Go through your closet, garage, and those dusty boxes in the attic to find items you are no longer using. You can list them on Amazon, Ebay or Craigslist, or go the more traditional route with a garage sale.
And, if you take a long hard look at your situation and decide to sell big ticket items like a TV, or your car, these create a flow on effect; you’ll save more in the long run by not needing to pay ongoing expenses like a cable bill, auto insurance, or petrol.
Once again, it comes down to an assessment of whether your goals are worth the price, and what you’re willing to pay to get there. If it’s worth good money which you could use for travel, ask yourself if it’s really worth hanging onto.
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