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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!).

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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.

Coffee

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.

There are a huge range of free apps which make tracking your spending easy. Two to check out are Fudget and Goodbudget.

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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.

TOOLS FOR MANAGING YOUR SAVINGS. CLICK THROUGH TO AMAZON ↓

Apple 13.3″ MacBook Air Laptop

Canon LS-82Z Handheld Calculator

Moleskine Classic Notebook

INSPIRED? PIN THIS TO YOUR TRAVEL PINTEREST BOARDS ↓

Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; a website dedicated to opening your eyes to the wild & natural world.

Having visited 50+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, aims to promote responsible travel experiences.

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    24 Comments

  1. I love the idea of a savings plan with travel in mind…wonder why I never did that. I hope banks have specific plans like these to invest or park your money in…

    Also, coffee tip is great and one where I fail often. Often coffee drinking is an experience for me in a new place, and I think I am going to fail miserably trying to skip that. But hey, it’s always good to give it a shot and then fail 🙂

    • Glad we could set you up with a couple of new ideas Siddhartha. The savings plan is one which really helps me put a goal into practice 🙂

      I think the coffee tip is one where most people fail miserably lol – but you’re absolutely right – you can at least give it a shot, and if it’s too painful, try and focus your savings somewhere else 🙂

  2. Like any goal it’s best to have a framework when saving for travel. I like the idea of tracking your savings that way you know what you need to adjust to stay on track for your big trip!

    • Absolutely Brianna, yes I found that keeping on top of your progress was the best way to stay on track – and it lets you assess whether different strategies are really working 🙂

  3. Great advice for those looking to do better at saving for their travel. I still remember working with a colleague in my last permie job (which I left in 2002) and she would wistfully (and sometimes cattily) say how lucky I was to be able to afford so much travel. I have to admit that after the nth time she said this, I snapped and pointed out to her that she earned exactly the same as I did and that her rent was less than my mortage at the time. However, she spent literally hundreds a month on going out on town every single Friday and Saturday night, on buying a frankly shocking amount of make up, on new clothes, shoes and handbags, and on CDs (yep, this was that long ago). I didn’t spend on any of those things, and she was spending several thousand each year on them. Bingo, travel budget!!!!

    • Thanks Kavita, glad you enjoyed the post. It’s very funny because I have an almost identical story – the girls I would work with while cocktail waitressing in the States would say the same, only difference being I went straight home after each of my shifts, and they went out drinking. Which is fine if that’s what you want to do, but don’t complain at me about wanting a lifestyle of travel when we earn exactly the same!! Lol

  4. Some good ideas and traveling is a great motivation for us, the wanderlust to save up for our next trip. We should always cut down unnecessary expense and I do agree people should cut down on Starbucks but going somewhere else, they serve bad coffee! @ knycx.journeying

    • Haha I’m not personally a fan of Starbucks coffee either – glad you enjoyed the post! I agree, I don’t find it too difficult to stay motivated to save when travel is the end goal 🙂

  5. This article is so spot on. We have been traveling for about two years now and people are constantly asking us how we managed to hit the road for so long. It was exactly what you laid out in this article. First we set a goal, then we cut unnecessary expenses, then we tracked how we were doing and had budget meetings every month. Finally we sold our house and most of our stuff. It took three and a half years of dedication and hard work, but now we get to travel full time. It was worth it and if you follow the advice in this article I am sure you won’t be disappointed!

    • Thanks Chris, and congrats on achieving your goals! I’m glad that you could relate to everything we wrote – great minds must think alike right :D!

  6. I have an entire ‘garage’ full of ‘stuff’ that I obviously don’t need or it wouldn’t still be in crates. Some of course are lifelong keepsakes, but goodness so much wasted money on clothes that were worn once or twice, rediculous appliances, etc.. Money was no concern when I had a full time job. It took moving over seas to learn to live with less, as well as paying cash instead of whipping out a credit card, because half the time the local stores wouldn’t take credit cards. Truly, saving for a trip is if nothing else an excellent exercise in self control and a big fat reward for your efforts. Wish I had known once upon a time, what I know now. My cost of living now a days is dirt cheap (less than 5oousd a month), but I still want to try the Fudget app and see where I can cut corners even more. Great inspiration read, Meg! (and definitely ditch the expensive coffees):D

    • I stopped collecting stuff after I returned from my first trip and realized I had forgotten what was in all of my boxes, lol so I figured if I didn’t know it was there after a year it couldn’t be that important! But you’re right, so many clothes, we’ve learnt to simplify down to a very small wardrobe, and only buy new clothes if I can’t mend them anymore!

      I think it takes living overseas for many people to learn that lesson in simplifying life and living with less. Definitely something the travel mindset does for you.

      Definitely agree that saving for a trip is one of the best lessons in self control and reward. So glad you enjoyed the post Vanessa – happy saving, and happy travels!

  7. Having a goal – in this case, travel, and a plan of attack are essential. One element that must not be forgotten is “patience.” It takes to review your budget and determine where to “cut the fat” and the apps you’ve provided are great. And then, it takes time for the savings to build up. These are all fantastic tips and resources and I would add a heavy dose of “patience” to the mix!

    • Absolutely Rosemary, and yes, I totally agree on patience often being the most difficult part. We live in a society where everyone seems to focus on instant gratification, so I think saving for travel is a definite learning curve in self control and patience – but as Vanessa commented above, also in associating hard work with reward.

      So glad you enjoyed the post!

  8. Great tips. I had never thought about using an app for tracking your expenses, this is for sure a good way to stay on top of things. Also, very good point to mention Starbucks! lol

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Julia, yes, there are a fabulous range of apps to track your expenses nowadays, and if any of it is tax deductible, there are even apps which will let you scan or photograph your receipts. Some fabulous technology out there 🙂

      Happy travels!

  9. I think you have got some sound ideas out there. Apart from cutting down on extravagant expenses and getting rid of unused and useless stuff I also try to explore more possibilities of making money. Of course when someone says “Oh how much I want to travel” , it all depends on how much is how much (I hope I am making sense) 🙂 I guess it’s all about priorities.

    • Thanks Vasu – exploring options for additional income can be a great approach, especially as there are so many opportunities for working online in todays age. It’s definitely all about priorities, and in terms of how much you can save, and make, also about thinking outside the box 🙂

      Happy travels!

  10. That’s totally me. LOL I’m the one who wants to fly first class and stay in 5 star hotels without the budget. And I’m terrible at planning a budget as well. I am good at prioritizing (5 star hotels!), like you suggest, and I try to fly on points. And I’m willing to give up the fancy coffee shops if it means travelling longer. I also try to eat inexpensively except for those important splurges. It really does take a balanced approach, doesn’t it? (And I should definitely start selling my stuff!)

    • Haha I think we’ve all been guilty of a little far fetched day dreaming every now and then 😀 Flying on points is a great way to keep your costs down though and make those experiences accessible when you’re on a lower budget.

      Definitely takes a balanced approach – good work on giving up the fancy coffees!!

  11. I think the hardest thing for most is cutting out unnecessary costs. I hate when people complain they can’t afford to travel, but they just bought the newest phone or some really expensive purse. But I guess it’s all about priorities.

    • I agree, I think that there’s a really big emphasis on instant gratification in society today, and most people find it difficult to differentiate between wants and needs.

      I’ve had exactly the same conversations with friends and work colleagues lol where they say they would love to travel and that I’m so lucky – I’m like “we make the same salary!!!”

  12. These are phenomenal tips! I agree that it’s so important to assess your progress. I keep tabs at the end of each week (and try to beat the week before if I can). It’s amazing what a few simple changes can make to your travel budget. It truly does come down to your goals and very active choices in how you spend your money.

    • So glad that the post was helpful for you Paige 🙂 Have a routine for checking your progress and turning it into a mini competition from week to week sounds like a great way to stay motivated – cool tip, I might try and implement that into my own savings strategy!

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