We had this dream to travel already for a long time and a lot of people share this dream. But there is a big gap between saying it and eventually taking the leap to do it. Leaving everything behind to explore the world is a big step, and you need the courage to do it. So a lot of people are coming up with excuses like “I can’t quit my job” or “I don’t have enough money”. That’s bullshit, so we’ll show you in which ways you can save money for your next trip.
HOW TO SAVE MONEY TO TRAVEL THE WORLD
Now, be truthful to yourself. You know you can go traveling if you really want to. There are just some -small- obstacles you need to pass. The biggest question of all is: “How do I make enough money to travel?” Traveling the world costs money. But do you really need that luxurious big room in a 5-star hotel? Travelling is all about the experience and the best experience is by keeping it low budget.
Myrthe and I met each other in college, and we both had the same passion and idea about what we wanted to do in the near future. That dream was -drumroll- to travel the world. We immediately started saving money so we could start this adventure as soon as possible. It took us a full year of hard work and saying “no” to the cool stuff that we actually didn’t need anyway.
How do I make enough money to travel?
So you want to travel but don’t have sufficient funds yet to do it? You don’t know where to start or how to save money? Saving money can be hard but does pay off. Here are the things that we did to save money to travel and that you can do too:
GIVE YOURSELF A GOAL
Whether you want to save money for a RTW-trip or a short vacation, you need to set a goal for yourself. First you need to do some research where you want to go, when you want to go and how much it would cost to get there. By knowing these facts, you can make yourself a goal of how much you need for your next trip and start saving money. Reminding yourself of your goal will help you achieving it. Changing your desktop to a picture of your destination or installing a countdown clock on your phone can help you with that.
MAKE A BUDGET PLAN
It’s important to make a budget plan for yourself. How much do I want to save? When do I want to leave? How am I going to do this? How much money do I already have and how much do I still need? These are all questions you need to ask yourself. Write it down on paper, so you can find out how much you need to save each month and hang this paper up on your fridge.
Travel Tip: Don’t overestimate yourself too much. Be honest with yourself and make sure that your goals are achievable.
TELL YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY
Make sure that your family, friends, and colleagues know about your plans. By doing this, they will more likely understand it if you can’t participate in that one activity that cost a lot of money. The support of important people in your life is essential when you want to persevere your saving method.
KEEP TRACK OF YOUR BUDGET
Keeping track of your budget may seem time-consuming, but it’s really easy. Take notes about all the expenses you’ve made and your income. Write everything down, from your groceries to that one beer in the pub. It’ll help you with finding out where you spent your money on and on which expenses you can focus more to save more for your next trip. Writing it down in a notebook that you keep with you all the time is the traditional way. But nowadays, there are plenty of apps that can help you too. Apps like Spendio or Mint can help you with this. We are still using Spendio right now during our travels and are happy with its usability.
MAKE A SHOPPING LIST AND DO THE GROCERIES ON MONDAYS
Making a shopping list with only the products you need for the next week is essential. Go to the supermarket on Monday and buy all the food and products you need for the whole week. Stick to your shopping list, so you don’t buy unnecessary stuff!
MORE PASTA, LESS MEAT
Who doesn’t love pasta, right? Well, things like pasta & rice are super cheap products with a lot of healthy nutrients. You can make hundreds of different, tasty dishes with these products. So cook more with pasta & rice, and skip the meat sometimes. Because meat is most of the times the most expensive product on your plate.
SHOP AROUND FOR BETTER PRICES
Simple changes in your life can help you with saving more money. Find cheaper supermarkets to buy your weekly products. Are the branded products really worth the extra money? House brand products can have the same quality and will be much cheaper. If you’re buying things online, you’re just a mouse click away from hundreds of other suppliers that offer the same products at a better price. Websites like Amazon or Ebay can help you with finding your products for the best price.
SAVE THE LEFTOVERS
Got some leftovers from dinner? Don’t throw them away in the trash! Put them in the refrigerator to freeze in. You can easily eat from it another time in the week, or take it to your work for lunch.
GIVE YOURSELF A 24-HOURS WAITING PERIOD
Saw a cool sweater at the clothing shop? Don’t buy it immediately but give yourself at least a 24-hours (or even better, 48-hours) waiting period before buying it. And don’t search for the product on the internet! Still thinking about it after 24 hours? See for yourself if you really need it or just want to have it.
Travel Tip: Calculate how many days you can travel or what activity you can do for the amount of money you’re going to spent.
QUIT THE BAD HABITS
The bad habits are most of the time also the most expensive ones. Like snacks, we loved to have some late-night snacks. But we’ve quit buying potato chips and things like that because it was just too expensive. Eating more healthy during the day helped us to leave the snacks in the cupboard. Myrthe also quit smoking, which I’m really proud of! A pack of cigarettes costs €5,50 and she bought at least two packs each week. That’s a minimum of €44/month or €530/year. Calculate how much you can save by quitting your bad habit, and you’ll be impressed.
USE A REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE
By investing in a reusable water bottle, you save money AND the environment. Double win! We always used a Bobble bottle, which comes with a handy filtering system.
GO OUT LESS OFTEN
Going out with your friends to bars and clubs is fun, but when your wallet is empty the day after, you’ll feel like sh*t and not just because of the hangover. Going out costs a lot of money, especially if you go to a club, where the drinks are 2x the average price and you need to pay an entrance fee. We used to go out every weekend, two times. When we were still students and were living in Ghent, we went partying or to a bar even 3-4 times a week. When we decided to go traveling, we stopped going out that much. The last year, we’ve made more quality time for each other at home and went partying with our friends just one or two times a month. This saved us €250 each month per person.
INVITE YOUR FRIENDS AT HOME
Seeing your friends is important. But going to a bar or club every weekend can be expensive. To compensate this, we just invited our friends over to our place to have a good time. It costs less because everyone can take their own drinks, it’s fun and you don’t have to pay for a taxi.
STOP DOING EXPENSIVE DAY TRIPS
Sometimes, day trips can get expensive. Skip the zoo or amusement parks but explore your own neighborhood or city by bike. You’ll be surprised how many fun things there are to discover in your area that you didn’t know about. Museums are great too and if you’re still a student, it’s often free! Look out for free activities in your city.
TAKE MORE PUBLIC TRANSPORT
Do you really need your car to get to your destination? Try to make use of the public transportations more often to save on gas. Or take your bike to get there, it’s healthy and much more fun too! If you live in the city, maybe you can even get rid of your car? This will save you a lot of money.
MAKE YOUR OWN LUNCH
Making your own lunch is a good way to save a lot of money. Make your lunch the day before and bring it to your work so you don’t have to buy overpriced food every day.
CANCEL YOUR FITNESS SUBSCRIPTION
Staying healthy is important, but you don’t need a fitness center to do this. We’ve canceled our fitness subscription, and this saved us €40 each month. Instead of going to the fitness, we went jogging in the park and did some basic workouts at home. It’s healthy and free!
CUT YOUR OWN HAIR
Going to a hairdresser is expensive, especially for girls. Myrthe used to go to the hairdresser every five months and spent €80 each time. That’s almost €200 in a year. Eventually, she started cutting her hair herself and stopped coloring it.
GROW YOUR OWN HERBS
Planting your own herbs and seeing them grow is super cool! It’s really easy, and you don’t need a lot of space for it. Buy some flowering pots and grow your own basil, coriander, parsley, mint, … If you have more space and have your own garden, it’s even possible to start growing your own veggies!
MAKE NEW CLOTHES
It’s super easy to make new clothes out of your old ones. One day, Myrthe just took a scissor and started making cuts in some old trousers to give it a new style. She has also made tops out of worn t-shirts and shorts out of old jeans.
MAKE SOME EXTRA MONEY
ASK MONEY AS A GIFT
It’s Christmas time, and you want to help your family with choosing a present for you? Asking money is the best thing you can do! It’s easy to give, your wallet gets quickly bigger, and people will understand you if they know they can help you with it.
MAKE AN EXTRA INCOME
Having a second job isn’t easy for everyone. But if you can, don’t hesitate to do it. It’ll help you to fund your travels quicker. Thomas worked beside his daytime job as a freelance web designer to earn something extra. A lot of people also work in a bar after their hours to save money.
WORK A BIT LONGER
Obviously, this only applies to those that get paid for working overtime. It looks obvious, but a lot of people still stick to their regular working hours. Working 15 minutes longer each day can already help to earn some extra money at the end of the month.
SELL STUFF YOU DON’T NEED
Everyone has a couple of things at home that don’t get used anymore. So why not selling it? Nowadays you can sell all your stuff easily online right from your sofa. Set up an account on Ebay, Craigslist, Gumtree, … and post your items on it. Making a Facebook gallery with a title “For Sale” can help to sell items that can be interesting for your friends. Organizing a garage sale can be fun and effective too. Good luck!
GET CREDIT CARD POINTS
Some banks offer you credit card points when spending money with their card. These points can be used to get free flights, hotels and sometimes even cash. Shop around first to find out which bank offers the best rewards program. In Belgium, we didn’t have many options and the reward programs aren’t good at all. But from what we’ve heard, Americans, Canadians, and Aussies have a lot more options and excellent reward programs with huge sign-up bonuses.
OPEN A SAVINGS ACCOUNT
We recommend getting an (online) savings account for your travel funds only. Every time you receive your wage, transfer a certain amount to your savings account and leave it there. Try to find a bank with a high interest so that money makes even more money.
All these things will help you with saving enough money to travel. Some of them won’t make a big difference in a short period of time but will be noticeable after a while. Maybe it looks hard, or you have the feeling that you miss out on certain things just because you have to save for your next trip. Saving money isn’t easy, but let us say this; It’s all worth it! Just make sure to find a good balance so you can still enjoy life while saving… Do you have more tips to save money? Let us know in the comments!