Dollars, Dinero, Baht, Peso, Euro, Quid, Dong, Ringette, Kip, or Riel. Whatever you call it, wherever you’re at. You need it to survive in today’s world and you especially need it if you’re going to travel the world for any significant length of time.
Saving for travel can seem like an impossible feat at first but with a little knowledge and a few tips, you’ll be hoarding every last penny and dime away in your safe spot for that Oh So Special time when departure day arrives.
Saving Is More Than Sacrifice
Saving for travel is a state of mind.
Once your priorities are realized and your thoughts become focused on your goal/destination forgoing that $6 mocha frappe or any expensive vice won’t seem like the end of the world.
That example may seem cliche’ but the idea is all the same.
Once you’re focused on a certain goal, lifestyle, destination, or anything that requires a change in your lifestyle or habits, it’s much easier to adapt once you’ve made a solid commitment to yourself and your dreams.
These philosophies are universal and can be utilized for any purpose, money and beyond.
Savage’s Saving For Travel Tips
I’m going to provide a list of saving for travel tips or ideas that I’ve used or are still currently utilizing to save every damn dime I can to realize my dreams!
I’ll list below and go into more detail of each.
- Develop a Budget and Follow it!!!
- Eat at home, take lunch to work (shop discount, buy in bulk)
- Cancel Subscriptions (cable, newspaper, monthly snack box), etc
- STOP PAYING RENT!!! (if possible)
- Become a hermit if necessary ( It’s the only way for some)
- Take a side/second job. Mow lawns, deliver newspapers, etc…
- DO WHATEVER IT TAKES!! (Legally that is 🙂 )
- BECOME OBSESSED!!!
Develop A Budget & Follow It!
One definition of the word Budget is an estimate of income and expenditure for a set period of time.
When I think of my “budget” I think about the times I’ve had traveling and try to equate that with what I’m spending my money on in the times of everyday life.
Thinking of it this way, it’s really easy for me to forgo or exclude the little extra expenditures like service station coffee & snacks, fast food, impulse buys, and even bigger buys like smartphones, laptops, or even a newer vehicle.
If i can make due without the extras, why shouldn’t I?
Especially if it’s in pursuit of my goals and dreams.
These days when I’m standing in line getting ready to make a purchase, I’m suddenly transported to a beach or airport somewhere in my mind, and I ask if what I’m purchasing is worth taking away from my actual beach or airport time.
In some cases you have no choice to spend money. That’s just a fact.
At the beginning of this thought practice, most of my purchases were taking away from my budget. Now I’m much more goal-oriented and won’t let the local convenience store get too much of my beach budget these days.
It all goes back to realizing your dreams.
REALIZE your dreams and you won’t be spending much money on anything else.
Eat at Home, Bulk Shop, Pack Lunch
This one was hard to overcome. Eating out is convenient but not very healthy. These saving money for travel tips are awesome because you’re saving and eating healthier too!
A great trick for saving money at the grocery is to bulk shop. In most cases, buying in bulk is much cheaper than buying the smaller portions of food and many other products found in the grocery.
Check the price tags and it will tell you what you’re paying per each portion. Compare with other sized packages of the same product and you’ll notice in most cases you get a better deal “per portion” with the larger packages than you do with the smaller packages.
Retailers like Dollar Tree and Dollar General make millions of dollars off people buying the smaller “cheaper” portions of products they sell in their “Dollar” stores.
When in all actuality you’re paying more per portion in stores like Dollar General and Dollar Tree compared to Walmart, Costco, and other big-box retailers.
Cancel Everything But Internet
I still don’t pay for anything but internet. I watch everything online for free. That’s not saying much for me because I’d rather sit here and put together Awesome blog posts for your information and entertainment purposes.
Everything is expensive these days. Even online subscription services like Hulu and Netflix are creeping up there in price if you don’t want ads that is… Hell, if you’re hardcore, Go use the libraries!! They don’t mind!!
Cut the cord and become free!
Stop Paying Rent!!
Depending on how long you want to travel this topic may not include everyone.
The longer you want to travel the more necessary extreme measures may need to be adopted to cut out rent or mortgage payments.
I’m not saying go and live under a bridge or anything like that. But if there’s any way to supplement your living expenses you should investigate thoroughly.
Own Your Home?
If you’re own your home and think the idea of selling it to travel the world is out of the question then maybe consider leasing it out for a year or turning it over to a property management company.
The property management company can lease it out longterm or manage it as an Airbnb for you so you can still make an income while traveling.
You could even rent out a room or couch space to a friend or family member for some extra income while preparing for your trip.
If you’re rent bill is too much to handle while saving for travel I suggest getting a roommate if possible.
If you don’t have a spare room or couch to offer someone for a little extra money then I recommend trying to leave the apartment.
When I said above that this section might not be for everyone this was really what I meant.
If you have family or friends that support your dream, ask if you can stay with them to help supplement your travel savings.
Some may see it in other ways, but there isn’t any shame in achieving your goals and dreams by almost any means necessary.
If you want to travel long-term this is one way to really cut your costs and expenditures. Getting out from under any monthly obligations you can get by with will speed up your savings time tremendously.
Saving for travel is cutthroat in many instances.
You are going to have to make sacrifices if you’re not financially fit to sustain a living while saving money for travel simultaneously.
Become A Hermit
This one will come naturally to some and probably not so much for others. If you’re an active socialite saving for travel might be difficult. Heading out on the weekends to club/bar hop or even playing intramural sports can get costly.
This tip didn’t come easy for me either. I had to slowly realize i wanted to drink beers in Germany or on a Thai Island more than I wanted to drink beers at my local waterhole or at an occasional music festival.
Once that mindset was reached, I could more easily say no to activities or social events that didn’t fit my standard of spending.
I didn’t cut out all social events or activities. I made it a point to be much more selective and picky about what events I spend my time and money on.
This, in turn, made those activities and events much more long-lasting and meaningful because I’d learned to appreciate them in there absence.
After my first trip abroad I realized that traveling was what I wanted to do so it was easy to picture drinking beers in Germany or Thailand over a night out locally.
The more you’re at home or your grandma’s the more money you shouldn’t spend after following these saving for travel tips.
Enjoy A Side Hustle
This saving for travel tip should go without mentioning but we’ll put it in down here near the bottom.
“If you have time to lean, you have time to clean”
I don’t know if you’ve ever heard that quote above but after working in restaurants for years you hear it once or twice.
The quote comes to my mind when thinking about this topic.
If you have extra time in the day maybe consider finding some extra employment to fill it.
It could be at a local grocery, convenience store, babysitting, dog walking, lawn mowing, handyman work, or maybe something like content writing online.
There’s really no limit to what one could come up with to make some extra side money if they’re really determined about saving for travel.
Do Whatever It Takes!
I’ve made many sacrifices since I began saving for travel that I don’t see them as sacrifices anymore. It’s just how I live now to ensure I continue to travel as much as I feel the need to.
It’s liberating for me to live minimally. I pay the few bills I have and that’s it for the month. I usually have a trip planned either on paper or in my head that I can use as a “goal focal point”. It keeps me focused.
Keeping a trip planned is crucial for me and has helped me in times when I wanted to splurge on things I didn’t really need.
Please be advised that “Do Whatever It Takes” doesn’t mean literally.
Go with the flow and set your goals. Even if you fail once or twice or even 3 times, don’t worry, shake it off, learn where you went wrong, and start over.
We are only human and we fail sometimes before we succeed but it doesn’t mean we’re failures just that we’re learning.
It’s when we fail and don’t keep trying is when we’re truly failures.
Saving For Travel Pro Tip #1
Book a flight for a destination 8 months to a year away if possible. Then worry about saving the rest of the money for the trip in the time until departure day.
This provides extra motivation to get out there and get that hustle on.
Having a goal in front of me always helps with my motivation levels and attitude towards saving for travel.
Setting the goal then “realizing” it is a transformational experience if you’ve never really pushed yourself to your limits before.
Saving For Travel Pro Tip #2
Sell your possessions. Sell anything that’s not a necessity to travel or saving for travel.
A part of the transformation in some cases may be to start over from nothing. Selling your possessions for that last bit of extra cash before you hit the airport.
This all depends on how long you plan to travel obviously.
If you’re only traveling for 1 to 3 months some of these Saving For Travel tips may seem extreme. But if you’re serious about traveling for extended periods of time and you’re poor, then it may just take these tips and more to save for your goals on longterm extended travel.
Saving For Travel Pro Tip #3
I recommend traveling as light as possible. I usually travel carry-on only and avoid checking a bag. This increases your ability to move through the airport more quickly and more importantly, you can exit the airport without waiting for you’re checked bag to make it to the baggage carousel.
Traveling carry-on only saves time and money. Like I mentioned above you’re able to breeze through the airport during check-in and after landing.
Also, traveling light and not checking a bag will save you big bucks in most instances. Carry-on bags can get expensive depending on the route you’re flying.
Traveling light and stress-free is something that took a couple of trips to learn. But once I realized how little I really needed on the road, I stopped packing things I didn’t need.
Make use of laundry mats and or hotel and hostel laundry services.
Hell, you can even do it in the sink if you’re serious about saving for travel.
Saving for travel doesn’t stop once you start traveling. It’s an ongoing process for most.
Video Your Travels
I’ve always enjoyed watching Youtube Travel videos. Once I started planning and saving for travel, the first thing I bought was a used GoPro Hero 5 off a friend.
Now I have a hobby that I enjoy very much and when I’m home and I’m thinking I need to buy something big and pricey I can look at my travel videos and remember what I’m saving for.
Having a collection of your own travel videos is something that is almost priceless in my honest opinion and really solidifies my feelings towards all the long hard work and sacrifices made when saving for travel.
It’s awesome! Even when your home and bored or just having a few beers on your “night out” on the couch, you can watch content that really hits home and can help with those “saving for travel” blues.
Becoming obsessed with travel and more importantly saving for travel especially when you’re poor is quite vital in my success as a traveler.
If i hadn’t become obsessed with travel and saving for travel I know for a fact that I wouldn’t have made it to half the countries that I’ve been too. It’s been a crucial part of my travel success.
When I eat, sleep, and breathe something it seems to manifest from time to time and when it does it’s elating.
Some obsession isn’t unhealthy. It’s good to have a driving force in one’s life. I see travel as a healthy obsession because I’m interacting with different cultures and learning from those people and experiences.
Don’t let obsession get the best of you. It can happen to all of us and may still from time to time. Saving for travel can become unhealthy if you or your family’s needs are ignored because of an obsession with traveling or any other hobby or vice.
It’s how you identify and approach your overly obsessive behavior and try to harness it and hopefully use that energy positively.
Ease into saving for travel. It’s a total lifestyle change. It was for me.
Start small and evaluate where your trouble points in your spending are and once identified start to slowly eliminating them overtime if needed. If not just cut it out!
If you’re not used to these things it’s going to seem like these are huge changes but once your mind is set on your goal and you’ve actually realized that nothing but your goal matters now, it starts to come easier and easier until you’ve actually changed your own behavior and way of life in order to achieve a dream.
More than anything frugality is an exercise in self-control. It’s harder for some than others but not impossible. It does take training and great willpower at times to stay on budget and not splurge.
Check out Savage Traveling’s Down & Dirty Bangkok Travel Guide for a Complete Newbies guide to Bangkok.