The most frequent question that I get asked is, “How’d you save money to travel?” Most people think that our parents are funding our travels, we’re just lucky, or we’re rich. Newsflash– our parents aren’t funding our travels, we’re not rich and we’re not lucky. I totally understand these misconceptions though. I used to think that too until I started traveling. Simply put, we decided to make travel a priority and sacrificed many things in order to make our travel dreams come true.
What if I told you that you can travel the world without relying on luck or your parents? I hope you’re excited because YOU CAN!! I’m going to be 100% transparent with you and tell you exactly what I did to save money to travel. I’ve been able to travel to 71 countries by implementing the strategies below. If I can do it, so can you! Spoiler alert– I share some easy side hustles at the end of this post so you can save even more money for your travel fund.
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How You Can Start Saving Money Today
1. Create A Budget
This is the first thing you need to do. Create a spreadsheet and track all of your purchases and expenses. I recommend doing this for two to three months so you get a really good idea of what you spend your money on. This was huge for me because I didn’t realize how many unnecessary things I spent my money on until I started doing this. After all, you can’t save money for travel if you don’t know what you’re spending your money on.
2. Stop Buying Things That Aren’t a Necessity
This is crucial if you want to save money to travel. This is simple but takes a lot of self-restraint. I like to buy the newest clothes and splurge on Starbucks. Last time I checked, my life wasn’t going to end without these things. We saved almost $30 a week by cutting out Starbucks. That’s $120 we saved a month. That’s a budget airline flight for two people! *Jaw drop* Before you buy something, ask yourself if your survival is dependent upon it. The answer is probably going to be no.
3. Sell Items You Don’t Use
Go to your closet and garage right now to find items you’re not using anymore. Sell these items on Amazon, Facebook Marketplace, eBay or you can have a garage sale. When we decided that we were going to travel the world, we sold almost everything. Everything we currently own fits into our cars. As a result, we don’t have to pay for storage fees while we’re gone. When I was going through my unused items to sell them, I realized that I had three sets of silverware. Who needs three sets of silverware? Noone! My general rule of thumb is that if I haven’t used an item in over two months, it’s going into the sell pile.
4. Don’t Eat out as Much
This strategy is the hardest for me because I love greasy fast food. However, the #8 combo at Taco Bell adds up. Prep your meals at home ahead of time to resist the urge to go out to eat. You’ll also save yourself time. Try your absolute hardest not to spend money on outside food and drinks other than groceries. I’d much rather go skydiving in Dubai than spend a $1000 a year eating out. Added bonus– eating at home is healthier and you’ll fit into your airline seat better.
5. Buy Generic Items
I’m a huge fan of Great Value at Walmart. For example, I buy generic toilet paper, dish soap, laundry detergent, cleaning products and some groceries. Truth be told, there aren’t any differences between these name brand products and generic products. I like to keep track of how much the name brand product costs versus the generic product. At the end of one month, I calculated how much money I saved by doing this. Once I saw the savings, I started buying only generic items. It’s a satisfying feeling and one of the easiest ways to save a few extra dollars for your travel fund.
6. Ditch the Car Payments
A lot of people I know have monthly car payments for new cars. On top of that, they’re paying a premium for auto insurance depending on the type of car they drive. We paid cash for older cars and don’t have car payments because of that. The purpose of a car is to get you from Point A to B. You don’t need to pay $500 a month on a brand new Chevrolet Camaro. Would you rather explore the Great Barrier Reef or pay $500 a month on a car?
7. Stick to Your Grocery List
I used to be guilty of wandering down every aisle and throwing random things in my cart. I know I’m not the only one who does this. Make a grocery list and stick to it. I know it’s tempting but don’t wander down random aisles. After implementing this strategy, I saved about $20 a week on groceries. I don’t need another bag of chips and another jar of Nutella. A word for the wise– don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry so you’re not tempted to buy everything.
8. Open a Savings Account for Your Travel Fund
Open a savings account and save a percentage of your paycheck each month for your travel fund. It doesn’t matter if you save 3% or 40%. Just be consistent. Before you know it, you’ll have a plane ticket for somewhere you really want to go.
9. Get Rid of Cable
We used to pay $50 a month for cable and we never really used it. If you absolutely need your tv time as my husband does, you can find some really good deals if you look for them. For instance, he found a deal with DIRECTV NOW where we pay $10 per month for 120 channels. Abandon the cable and use something more budget-friendly such as Netflix and Hulu.
10. Say Goodbye to Subscription Services
I know, I know– I’m being a hypocrite because I have Netflix. But, cancel it if you can do without it. Cancel your gym membership and work out at home instead. Cancel magazine subscriptions and read a blog instead. Chances are that you don’t even use all of the monthly memberships you’re signed up for. Imagine how fast your travel fund will fill up if you save money by cutting down on the memberships.
Easy Side Hustles to Help You Save Even More Money
1. Online Surveys
I know many of you have doubts about completing online surveys. While certain survey panels are scams, some of them are legit and pay well. Taking online surveys isn’t going to fill up your savings account up completely, but wouldn’t it be nice to make an extra $100 a month? My favorite is Survey Junkie. They have over seven million members and it’s easy to use. After you create your profile, they’ll match you to surveys that fit your demographics. You’ll earn points for completing the surveys and you can redeem them for cash using PayPal. Click below to get started.
2. Start a Blog
If you’re passionate about a topic and want to share your passions with others, consider starting a blog. You can sell your own products on your blog, work with affiliate programs to sell their products, show advertisements and more. It does take a while to build up your audience and make a decent income. It’s worth it though. If you’re going to be traveling for a while, you can turn your blog into a travel blog and you’ll have a head start on that. Get started with SiteGround or Bluehost today.
3. Be a Pet Sitter in Your Spare Time
Do you love animals? I’ve got the perfect side hustle for you to make some extra money to save for your travels. This side hustle is super easy to get started with Rover. It’s free to sign up. Fill out your profile and you’ll be matched with the perfect pet. You can specify the size of the dog, how many at a time you want to watch, your location and the services you want to offer. Once you complete your profile, you’ll be contacted by pet parents to watch their fur babies.
4. Get Paid to Go Shopping
You already go grocery shopping so why not get paid to do so with Instacart? Customers order their groceries and you handpick the items and deliver them. It’s that simple. Once you’re accepted into the program, you can sign up for shifts to deliver orders to customers. You’ll be shopping at stores that have contracts with Instacart. You’ll get notified when a customer places an order and you can accept or deny the incoming order. You can also pick your own schedule. This is a fun and easy way to save money for travel.
5. Get Cash Back on Purchases
This isn’t a side hustle per se, but it’s an easy way to save money to travel. I’m sure you’ve heard of Ebates before. Sign up using this link and you’ll get $10 towards your first $25 purchase. Before you start shopping, visit the Ebates website. Search for the store you want to shop at and click the “shop now” button to activate your cash back reward. Do your shopping as usual and complete your purchase through the retailer’s online store. Ebates will email you when your account is credited with the cashback.
In conclusion, saving money to travel is difficult. Nonetheless, it’s so worth it. When you’re out there experiencing the world, you’ll be glad you decided to be frugal to make your travel dreams become a reality.
How do you save money to travel? Do you have any tips that I didn’t list? Let me know in the comments below.
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Disha is a travel and lifestyle blogger who has visited 85+ countries with South Africa and the Maldives being her favorites. She gets butterflies sharing her travel and life experiences through words. She loves freedom, sunflowers, and long walks on the beach with her husband. She’s obsessed with helping others live a life they don’t have to escape from. Lastly, she makes travel more accessible, inclusive and attainable one trip at a time.