How to Save Money for Travel

May 24, 2017

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!

Depending on how much money you have coming in, you might want to start a successful side hustle or start a profitable lifestyle blog to make some extra income.

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

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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
  • Food
  • 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!

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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

cutting 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:

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.

Head over to Lonely Planet and get one of their travel guides or phrase books to help you learn the language of where you’ll be visiting. Or start planning out your excursions on Viator.

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Final Notes

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!

What are your best tips on saving money for travel?

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19 Comments

  • sam

    These tips are spot on! It’s insane how much money we all throw away. Recently I started making cold pressed coffee it’s super easy and delicious. I’ll bet you could find all the syrups too. We are currently saving for a vacation, and I will be implementing these.

    May 24, 2017 at 18:21 Reply
    • Maya

      Thanks Sam! Your cold pressed coffee even sounds delicious. I’ll have to try it myself and maybe pick up some syrup on Amazon. Glad you found these tips to be helpful! 🙂

      May 24, 2017 at 19:04 Reply
  • Carol

    Thank you very much Maya for the effort you put into this marvelous saving blog. i will most definitely try it as i would love to travel the world and not struggle at the same time

    May 26, 2017 at 10:42 Reply
    • Maya

      That’s awesome Carol. Glad these tips could help!

      May 31, 2017 at 17:47 Reply
  • Julia Dent

    Wow, cutting back on Starbucks saves a ton, I need to do that! I do some freelance work on the side to help pay for my travels!

    May 27, 2017 at 19:11 Reply
    • Maya

      Yes, cutting out the little things makes such a huge difference! And that’s awesome Julia – work that side hustle! 🙂

      May 27, 2017 at 20:23 Reply
  • Miranda

    Researching the full cost is probably the most important, but I always tend to just estimate (oops!) Except I do know approximate flight costs always. I’m pretty good at saving in general, though I’ll admit Starbucks is a weakness! I’ve actually started making coffee at home more. Thanks for these great tips!

    May 28, 2017 at 15:34 Reply
    • Maya

      Starbucks is a weakness for you and me both! I’d like to say that I cut myself off after writing this post, but then I’d be lying.. 🙂 Thanks for reading Miranda!

      May 28, 2017 at 19:26 Reply
  • Bella WW

    Saving money it has always been an issue for me. I tried so many things, but they didn’t really work, I have no idea where my money went! I will definitely try to implement your advice in my life. Thanks!

    May 29, 2017 at 11:45 Reply
    • Maya

      Bella, I’m totally with you on that! I’ve always struggled with saving and spending money. Hopefully these tips will work for you. If you find any other solutions – please share!

      May 29, 2017 at 13:03 Reply
  • Aga | worlderingaround.com

    That’s very useful article, Maya! I have been using those tips for saving for my travels and I can definitely say that it works. I remember estimating the costs spent on random take away coffees several times a week or lunches and dinners out – if you add it up, it actually creates quite a big sum of money, that can be used for travelling, as you said, so I stopped doing that – I’d much more prefer to have those coffees and dinners in some sunny location on my holidays instead 😉

    May 29, 2017 at 13:54 Reply
    • Maya

      Exactly how I feel Aga! My Starbucks savings will be enjoyed much more abroad! 🙂

      May 29, 2017 at 14:04 Reply
  • deena

    Stop going out to bars or night outs, now this is a game changer for sure, I have been there and saved tons. 🙂

    May 29, 2017 at 15:33 Reply
    • Maya

      Girl I know! Here in Canada, a drink at a bar will cost you almost $10!! That money can go so much further when you’re travelling.

      May 29, 2017 at 16:15 Reply
  • Kim @ Those Who Wandr

    Great tips! I’ve definitely cut back on unnecessary expenses over the years, and I’ve saved so much! Saving little by little definitely adds up.

    May 31, 2017 at 05:04 Reply
    • Maya

      Thanks Kim! Saving every little bit really counts. Glad to know that you’ve experienced the same.

      May 31, 2017 at 13:15 Reply
  • Victoria

    This tips are actually useful. I read online a lot of post about saving money, but hey are all the same. Yours, however, has valuable information and determines us to think where we actually spend more money. Thanks for sharing, will try a thing or two.
    Victoria

    May 31, 2017 at 13:12 Reply
    • Maya

      I’ve read a lot of these posts too Victoria. And these are just the tips that work best for me! Hopefully you can find some value in it, literally 🙂

      May 31, 2017 at 17:49 Reply
  • Agness of aTukTuk

    These tips are so useful and practical, Maya! Everything is possible if you really want it!

    June 15, 2017 at 16:58 Reply
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