You’ve decided that you want to explore the world.
Now you just need to find a way to afford it.
Lucky for you, I’m an experienced traveler who knows a thing or two about saving money for travel. Seriously, I even figured out a way to spend a weekend in Prague for under $100 for two people!
The most important thing is that you figure out the cost of your trip and work with your current finances.
Sounds too easy, right?
That’s because it is.
How to Save Money for Your Trip in 5 Easy Steps
1. Estimate Your Travel Costs
Before you start saving money, you should know how much money you need.
Research your travel expenses:
- Transportation (airfare, luggage fees, car rental, public transportation)
- Hotels or Airbnb (use my link to get $50 off your first booking!)
- Travel Insurance
- Activities (tours, museums, shopping)
When calculating the cost of your trip, try to over-estimate a little. This extra amount will be for any unforeseeable circumstances or incidentals.. Like if you sleep in, miss your bus to Amsterdam and are forced to buy another ticket. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything.
2. Determine Your Budget
Now that you have an idea of how much money you actually need for this trip, you should create a budget plan. I wrote more about creating a budget plan and other financial tips in this post.
Join my Secret Library for free to gain access to a bunch of free printables including this Monthly Budget tracking sheet!
Identify how much money you have coming in and how much money you have going out.
I like to use budget spreadsheets to track my income and expenses, but do whatever works best for you – even if it’s just a pen and paper. Once you determine your current income and spending habits…
3. Cut Back Your Expenses
Analyzing your spending vices and making sacrifices is the best way to build up your travel fund.
For example, one of my personal vices is a Venti Ice Coffee from Starbucks – with almond milk and cinnamon dolce syrup, obviously. Here in Canada, this drink costs $4.69 including tax.
So if I buy three of these drinks per week (when let’s be honest, I’m probably buying more), I’m spending $14.07. Now multiply that by 12 months – I’m at $731.64.
If I stopped buying ice coffee from Starbucks for one year, I could afford a round-trip ticket to Europe. Mental note: start making coffee at home.
Besides ice coffee, your biggest expense is probably housing, in which case, it can be hard to cut back. You might want to think about finding a roommate, renting your place on Airbnb, moving to a smaller apartment or if you can stand it, moving back home with your parents. Because let’s face it, living rent-free will help you save money fast.
Your second biggest expense is probably food. Eating out is expensive, especially if you live in a big city. Bring your lunch to work instead of buying it. Stop going out to eat and start buying your groceries in bulk and cook at home. If you’re lazy like me, do a meal prep on Sunday and make your meals for the entire week.
Some other easy ways you can cut down on spending are to:
- Quit smoking
- Stop buying alcohol and/or going out on the weekends
- Pay off your credit cards and student loans
- Ditch your car and start taking public transportation
- Cut your subscription services like Netflix and Spotify
When I’m trying to save money for a trip, I think about what I could buy or do with my money abroad before I make any type of purchase.
For example, is paying the extra $1 for guacamole on my burrito really a better experience than sipping an espresso in Paris?
4. Build Your Travel Fund
Now you can start putting all of the money that you’ve saved from cutting back your expenses into your travel fund.
Try saving $50 from each pay check and add that to your travel fund as well. In a year, you’ll have saved over $1000 and that should be enough money for a roundtrip ticket to Europe plus some accommodation.
Something that really worked for me, is the one year money saving challenge from Undo Your Debt, where you save a small amount of money every day. It’s easy on the mind and the wallet.
Basically, you start on Monday by saving $1. Then you add $1 for each day of the week. On Sunday, you’re saving $7, which adds up to $28 every week. Repeat this every week for one year and you will end up saving $1456!
Other ways you can build up your travel fund and save extra money are to:
- Start a side hustle or start your own blog
- Try driving for Uber
- Put up a gig on Fiverr
- Use Ebates to save a ton of money when you’re shopping online
- Ask for family and friends for money
5. Get Motivated
Trying to save money for a trip will feel like a serious burden unless you get yourself excited to travel! Find some travel inspiration and it will help you achieve your financial goals.
Travel inspiration will vary drastically for each person, depending on where you want to go and why.
I personally like using Pinterest for my inspiration. I’ll make a board for my trip and then use the website like a search engine to find exciting blog posts about the destinations I’m going to or some helpful packing and travel tips.
Books give me serious wanderlust. Another great way to get excited for you trip is to read a book that is based on where you’re going. If you’re travelling to Prague for example, try reading The Unbearable Lightness by Milan Kundera or The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka.
This same idea works for movies too. Do a quick search for “Movies to watch before you go to…” and see what comes up. If you’re going to Paris, you really only need to watch Moulin Rouge of course.
If you really want to go on this trip – If you need to go on this trip, you will find a way to get there.
You might be low on cash, but you have drive and determination. So calculate your costs, give up that ice coffee, start saving extra cash and find your inspiration! You’ll get there, trust me.
For more travel inspiration, you should check out my post about the $100 Weekend in Prague!
For more inspiration on earning and saving money, check out:
And join my Secret Library to access your free budgeting track sheet and other freebies!