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Are you jealous that all your friends are travelling to exotic Insta-worthy places, while you just can’t seem to save up enough to join them?

For most people, the biggest obstacle to travel is figuring out the money. Most of us understand the concept of saving, but when push comes to shove, it’s not uncommon to find it really tough.

Yes, saving money can be daunting, but there are many ways to cut costs, and with a couple of tried and tested strategies you might be amazed at how quickly you can build a travel fund.

So, if you’re willing to look at your spending habits and assess what mistakes you’ve been making, here are 5 very realistic approaches – these aren’t creative, and they aren’t ‘think outside the box’ – they are the proven, straightforward, widely accepted strategies to saving money.

5 Realistic Ways to Save Money for Travel

Save Every Little Bit

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Every heard the saying ‘every penny counts’? It’s wise, age old advice, and when you’re saving like crazy, nothing could ring more true. So don’t shy away from saving the smallest bit of money.

Pay your credit cards off in full each month so you’re not being hit up with extra interest charges, cancel any memberships which you don’t actively use, and consider closing bank accounts that charge you high fees in favor of less expensive ones.

Watching your electricity is another big one – the cost of living around the world is more expensive than it ever has been, and one of the biggest expenses most households face is electricity. Saving every little bit will also save you money.

And then there’s obviously coffee. $5 a day might not seem like a lot, but if you transfer this to savings, you’re saving $1,825 a year for your travel fund. If you normally buy two coffees a day you’re saving $3,650.

Where could you travel with that kind of money?!

Create a Travel Fund

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Creating an actual travel fund is a great way to save – it’s highly motivating to watch as a bank account starts to grow, and when your money is separated off from your main accounts, it’s much easier not to touch it.

Consider creating an online only bank account for your travel fund – one that doesn’t have a physical card, so you can’t easily make a withdrawal. When it comes time to book your trip, you can transfer the money.

Keep Track of Your Money

Before you even begin to start saving, it’s important to sit down and create a savings plan, which will allow you to see if your estimated travel plans are actually possible within your earnings. Creating an unrealistic plan will only demotivate you.

After you’ve created a savings plan, it’s then important to actually keep track of your expenses – this way you know exactly where your money goes at the end of each month, and you’ll be able to plan out your savings more effectively.

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.

You might find that when you have a physical list in front of you and can visualize where your money goes, that you’re able to identify places you hadn’t previously thought of for cutting back. And, you’ll be able to see when you’re slipping back into old vices.

Cut Down on Expenses

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The most obvious way to save money for travel is to cut down on your current expenses, and cut out all unnecessary costs. For example, instead of going out for a fancy dinner, go grocery shopping and cook from home.

Making small changes in your life can effectively help you in cutting down your expenditure, and 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.

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 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.

Side Hustle

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Making money on the side, or taking on a second job, is a great way to save, and this can be a huge boost to your travel fund if you’re having trouble cutting back using the advice above.

If you work 9 – 5, maybe you could consider a weekend gig, or applying for night jobs. If you’re skilled at work that has high demand for freelancers, you could set yourself up with a client base, and work from home in your free hours.

Freelance writing, day trading, tutoring, blogging, teaching English, the list could go on and on. There are also apps you can sign up for which list odd jobs which you can pick up as part of the gig economy. 


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; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of 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, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.


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