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!
Travel will always be very expensive as for most people its not just what we spend its what we don’t earn that really adds up. This means we have to earn and save twice as hard when NOT travelling.
But its always worth it. Travelling gives you those truly once in a lifetime memories and experiences that really enrich your life.
You’re so right, Steve! Not earning while away is a huge deterrent, which is why networks such as WorkAway and WHOOFing can be so lucrative! Thanks so much for stopping by!
Hi… Great post. I loved the idea of naming your savings account with the destination. I guess it will really keep anybody motivated to save
Yeah it’s just a tactic I use to keep my ultimate goal in the forefront!
Hey Courtney! Love the website! Everyone was jealous watching you through pictures while you were on your trips. Now you can help others travel the world. I think it’s scary, but hearing from someone like you who’s been there makes it seem a lot more accessible and possible.
Anything new has the potential of being scary! And honestly, I’ve found myself in some pretty scary situations a time or two. Lucky for me they’ve amounted to nothing but great stories!
This is a great way to travel and not be stressed about financial obligations while you’re away or when you come back. Thanks for the tips!
Happy ya found it helpful! Thanks for reading!
I liked your ideas on saving money and asking yourself if you need it or want it and putting the money into your savings instead of spending it. I think it can be applied to various areas in our lives. We live in an instant gratification society, and that’s why we have so many people in over their heads. If we just learn to wait, we might find there’s something about waiting that makes the getting that much sweeter. I have always wanted to go to Europe for six months, but money and other stuff has always been an issue.… Read more »
Thanks so much for stopping by, Sahar! You hit the nail on the head! This is definitely an instant gratification society. Someone told me recently that what people have is no longer an indication of what they can afford, but a reflection of how much debt they are in. Of course this isn’t true in every case… but it sums up the general mentality quite well. I wish you the best in your preparation for Europe! Keep up the good work, every little bit helps!
Brilliant article – and I really appreciate your approach that you need to be to AFFORD to travel – that you can’t just throw common sense to the wind and put it on your credit card!! Unfortunately, so many do, and then they are saddled with a huge debt (+ interest) to pay off after their trip instead of immediately starting to save for the next one! I did a lot of traveling too before I got married and had kids. For me, what worked was to “allow” myself to go on a trip every other year, for whatever holiday… Read more »
Thanks, Marlaine! You bring up a great point, and unfortunately that’s the frame of mind many people have, Credit Cards! So awesome that you were able to travel the way you wanted to and essentially stay debt-free. Egypt is still calling my name … haven’t made it yet, but one of these days!
Patience and persistence is the most two difficult things for many people when it comes to saving money for the things they want, many people lose their patience and use their credit cards for the things they want then end up deep in debt.
Your tips are great for everyone to use to save up for the things you want which are important to them, it takes willpower but once you get into the habit it is not so hard to do.
So true, Jeffrey! It does come down to honing in on your willpower, and forming positive habits. There’s no harm in having a credit card or two for emergencies, but with a little money management hopefully you won’t need them!
I love your mind set!!! It is always worth the wait.. It may not seem great at the moment but, it pays off. My husband and i are going to Alaska and been saving up. My husband is a very frugal person and that is our advantage. We do without a lot and I think this trip will change us forever. I think it will be a stepping stone to achieve many more trips. Great Work love it
Thanks so much Angel! I’ve not been to Alaska yet so I’m a bit jealous! Hope you have the time of your life, being a frugal person definitely has it’s benefits and trips like that are definitely one of them. Hopefully there are many more to come in your future!