It never fails that I’m asked the question, “How do you manage to travel so much?”
Whether it’s a seven day cruise, a two week trip out of state, or several months backpacking abroad, people want to know how to save money for travel. There’s no secret here, it’s a lifestyle and a mindset.
– I save
– I live below my means
– I stay as debt free as possible
– I prioritize
This my seem obvious in an unhelpful way to you, but there are a few practical steps you can take to gear you up mentally and kick ya off in the right direction.
The first is to set up a savings account and title it the name of your goal.
For example, title your savings account, “For Brazil” if you’re wanting to take a month long backpacking trip through Brazil. Or if your dream is to see the Taj Mahal, you guessed it – title your savings account, “Taj Mahal.” This is a simple way to keep your goal mentally in your forefront. Everyone is familiar with mobile banking, and if you’re not it’s a very easy concept to learn. You download your bank’s app to your phone and create a log-in username and password. That’s it, you can now view your banking details, make payments, and transfer money at literally a touch of a button. It’s never been easier to put those virtual pennies into that cyber piggybank.
The next step, and it’s just as important, is to think about where you’re wanting to go and put yourself there.
If Brazil is where your heart longs to go, remind yourself of that every day. If lunch time rolls around and you’re wanting that $5 cravings box at TacoBell, but you know you’ve got groceries waiting at home, choose your kitchen! Sure, it may be the boring choice now but it’ll pay off in the long run. Pick up your phone, hit that bank app, and transfer that five dollars into your, “For Brazil” account instead.
If you’ve done some research for your trip, you’ll know that the same five dollars there will get you at least twice as much as it will get you in the states. In essence, you just bought two (possibly three) meals for the future you that’ll soon be backpacking abroad! Thinking that way always gets me excited because I’m a foodie at heart. My downfall is all things food, but maybe yours is that pair of shoes or brand new video game. Whatever it is, if it’s a “want” item and not a “need” item, then pass on it! And put that money in your trip fund instead. Remind yourself that going without now means gaining more later. Believe me, when you’re strolling through Rio de Janeiro and have extra cash to enjoy some new once-in-a-lifetime experiences, that pair of shoes or that video game will be the last thing on your mind!
One last thing that can drastically lower your stress when it comes to saving for your getaway is paying things off in advance.
Whatever payments you can manage to get rid of for when you return, the better. For example, before I left for my 5 month backpacking trip through Europe I saved for a year. During those twelve months I was able to do the following:
– I paid off my vehicle
– I paid my landlord six months worth of rent, so I could have an easy month once I got back
– Any utilities/services that I couldn’t discontinue or suspend, I paid up through the duration of my trip and for the month I was returning (such as electric)
– On the way to the airport I switched my auto insurance from full coverage to storage and suspended my phone service
This way the amount of money coming out of my account every month that I was away I knew would be the bare minimum. Upon my return I wasn’t hit with a pile of bills/late fees, and I had an easy month to re-adjust and settle back into work, expenses, and everyday life. Everyone will have a different set of bills. Perhaps you have a mortgage and HOA fees, maybe you have a propane tank that needs filled before you go. Your expenses can and probably will vastly differ from what mine were at that time and that’s okay. The point is to get enough of them out of the way before you leave that it greatly reduces your spending during the time you are gone.
– Saving becomes a lifestyle and a mindset
– Create account with destination title
– When spending money ask yourself is this a “want” or a “need” ?
– If possible, pay bills ahead of time
Check out my Cheap Travel Tips for more ways for thrifty travel! Interested in swapping a few hours of work for free accomodation? Check out WorkAway here!
Want to stay with a local in a new city? Learn more about Couchsurfing here!
Like to farm? Work with your hands? Delve into a new culture? Check out WWOOFing here!
Want to save money and stay in a more social environment? Learn about Hostels here!
Want to get the most out of a city for a price you name yourself!? Check out Sandeman’s Walking Tours here!
Have you participated in any of these networks? Leave a comment and share your experiences!