Have you ever wondered why some people are able to travel so frequently? Have you ever thought to yourself “I wish I could travel more, but I just can’t afford it?” You do not need to have an extravagant life style to be able to travel frequently. There are simple, every day things you can do to help you save up for that next big trip.
First, you will need a plan. Obviously, planning is a major factor in being successful in almost any area of life. Saving money for travel is no different. Determine what you want to do/where you want to visit, calculate the costs of the trip, set some goals (these should be attainable and specific-do not set a goal that is not feasible/attainable for you. This only sets you up for failure.), create a plan for reaching those goals, set the plan in motion, and then re-evaluate every once in a while to make sure the plan is working. This seems like a lot of work, but when you are descending into your destination it will be well worth it!
To develop your plan you will need to take inventory of all your monthly expenses right now. Create a spreadsheet that lists all your monthly expenses and sort them by needs and wants. Obviously there are some things that you are not going to be able to cut out, but start with the needs column.
Here are ten examples of ways to cut out expenses:
1-Stop going out to eat (or at least cut back significantly). If you are one of the people that is constantly going out to eat, then chances are you are spending a significant amount of money (most likely without even realizing it). Also, skip the morning coffee run. If you spend $2.50 a morning on coffee five days a week that adds up to approximately $50 a month, or $600 a year. That is a lot of money to add to your travel funds. Instead, make coffee at home before you leave for the day.
2-Cut down on your “want” monthly bills. If you are paying monthly for something that you don’t really need, maybe you can eliminate it or at least cut it back. For example, if you are paying a couple hundred dollars a month for your phone bill, maybe you can cut back (perhaps take out unlimited data) and your bill will be less. That extra money can go directly into your savings fund.
3-Quit a bad habit! If you are spending money on cigarettes or alcohol regularly, try to cut back. This may be more easily said than done, but it will save you a lot of money. If you pay $10 for a pack of cigarettes twice a week and are able to eliminate or even reduce to once a week, that will save you a significant amount of money over time. If you spend $20 a week, that adds up to $1,040 a year. Cut that in half and you will have $520 to put towards your travel funds. You will probably feel a little bit as well!
4-Cut down on your utility bills. Make a conscious effort to cut back on water, heating, and electricity bills. Make sure that you are turning the lights out when you leave the room, turn down heat a little bit and wear a sweater, spend less time in the shower (but don’t skimp on your hygiene!). Doing these simple things on a consistent basis can reduce your bills, giving you more money to put into your travel savings fund.
5-Skip the gym! This does not mean cut out exercise, but skipping the gym (and thus the monthly membership fee) will give you a little extra money for your travel savings fund. There are always great alternatives for exercise, such as walking, hiking, or running outdoors. If you need to you can purchase weights from the store and have them at home (for a one-time price instead of a monthly cost).
6-If you find yourself with loose pocket change ($5 here, $10 there) put it into your savings fund. You will be amazed at how quickly it adds up.
7-Pick up some odd jobs. Is there something that you are good at that not many people can do well? Do you have a hobby (such as painting, photography, etc.)? Take advantage of it and make a little cash on the side that can be put directly into your travel savings fund.
8-Get a library card. Instead of purchasing every book that you read, get a library card and rent the books. If you are a big reader this will save you a lot of money in the long run.
9-Skip the spa. Cut back on the luxuries a little bit and put that money into savings. If you regularly go to the spa, cut back to every other. So if you go monthly, go every other month and put that money into savings.
10-Skip the casino. Now I don’t want to tell you to give up everything that you love. These are just some suggestions. If you spend a lot of money at the casino (and often don’t win), you could be losing a lot of money that could be going towards your travel savings fund.
Once you have determined your monthly expenses and what expenses are needs and wants you can then decide what you are going to cut out. Make a monthly savings plan and list out the expenses you will eliminate. Keep track of how much money you are saving-seeing the results will be a motivator to keep doing it!
And of course, when saving up for anything, you should be putting money away for that purpose. Create a dedicated travel savings fund, whether that be a bank account or an envelope you keep at your home, and regularly put money in there based on the plan you have come up with and what you are saving by reducing your monthly expenses!
Remember, these are just suggestions as to ways to cut down on your bills. If something is important to you, don’t cut it out. Find something else that may not be as important to you and cut that out. Or come up with something that was not mentioned. Only you know you and what will be feasible to cut out of your lifestyle. It doesn’t matter what, as long as you are doing something!
Another great option for making travel more feasible is to reduce the costs of your travel. Here are five tips for traveling on a budget.
1- Stay flexible and fly on the off days.
Before traveling, plan ahead and do your research. Look at different airlines on different days and at different times. Find the option that will work for you and will give you the lowest cost. Don’t be afraid to fly on the off days when prices will be lower.
2-Avoid the costly attractions.
Your destination will likely have some well-known attractions, but with these often times comes high prices. Skip the attractions and find something off the beaten path that you can do. You will get a better, more local experience at a lower price.
3- Stay with Friends/Family
If you have friends/family in the area, skip the hotel (and the costs!) and stay with them. It will give you a lot of extra money for other areas of the trip.
If it is feasible to do, save money on transportation and walk. This is where having accommodations close to the major attractions will come in handy. If you must have transportation, research and try to figure out how the locals get around and do that! A bike rental may be a great way to save money and get around.
5-Pack light and avoid baggage fees
Bring only what you will need with you and only what will be more costly to purchase when you arrive at your destination. The less you bring the less luggage you will need and the less baggage fees you will have to pay. If it is something that will be easily purchasable at your destination (such as shampoo/conditioner) hold off on packing it and purchase it when you arrive.
You can find a full list of 30 budget travel tips here.
And always remember, the only travel you will regret is the travel you did not do!