How to Save Money for Travel

Going abroad is something everyone should do at least once in their lives. Traveling gets us out of our comfort zones and allows us to see how others live. However, travel isn’t possible for everyone; between acquiring a passport, buying a plane ticket, and finding affordable housing, travel is by no means a cheap pastime. For most of us, we have to think about how to save money for travel long before we can book that flight.

Set up a Savings Account

One of the best parts of living in the age of technology is direct deposit. If you haven’t yet, the best way to begin saving for a trip is to start a separate savings account and allot a certain percentage of your direct deposit to go into the account each pay cycle. Personally, I find twenty percent to be the perfect amount for my lifestyle, but choose any percentage you are comfortable with depending on your budget.

If you don’t have direct deposit at your place of employment, then you’ll just have to do the math yourself, especially if your bank doesn’t offer automatic transfers at your chosen intervals. Regardless, having a separate account for the money you want to save is a must. This will take away the temptation of spending all the money available in your checking account.

Another option is one that’s been around since we were kids. Keeping a savings jar or box is a nice way to save up any extra cash you’re not spending. There are a lot of different methods floating around Pinterest–the most popular being putting every $5.00 bill you come across into the jar/box. It’s enough to make a big dent in your savings plan if you’re consistent, but not so much that you’re just locking away a huge portion of your income–making it a bit more accessible for those on a tighter budget.

Here are some resources to help you find ways to save money:

Make a Budget and Cut Costs

Let’s be honest, we don’t really need to stop at Starbucks every morning for that fancy cup of coffee. While it doesn’t seem like much, those Starbucks trips can really add up. Let’s say you do go every morning and your Venti White Mocha costs $7.00. That’s $49.00 a week, which becomes $2,548, and that’s enough to cover the costs of traveling to London.

I’m not trying to shame anyone, because I love Starbucks (and my local coffee shop) as much as the next twenty-something hipster. However, it is a huge money suck when you can buy a bag of coffee at the store for $6.00 and brew it at home for free. You can even get fun-flavored syrups. The same logic applies to packing your own lunch rather than going out.

Now, I’m not going to pull a Dave Ramsey  and tell you that you should never go out to eat or grab a coffee from Starbucks. I’m always in a rush in the morning, and sometimes I forget my lunch so I just pick something up. It happens! But if you want to take an amazing trip in the near future, then I recommend creating a budget, planning ahead, and figuring out  where you can cut costs and start saving more money.

If you’re having trouble divvying up and sticking to your budget on your own, then there are some phone apps to help you.

Example spreadsheet showing how to save money for travel.

Example spreadsheet showing how to save money for travel.
Personally, I use just the default Google Docs Budget template to track my spending and income and is how I (try) to save money for travel.

Plan Ahead

The best way to really save money for travel is to plan ahead. I’m a planner–to a fault–and I like to have a game plan set well in advance. The main reason for this is so I know the exact amount of money I should have saved before I book my trip. When I went to London in college, my professor was great about getting us the exact costs for our day-to-day activities so we could start saving immediately. Most attractions will have the prices listed on their website, and if they don’t, there’s probably a travel blogger who’s been there and is more than happy to answer your questions.

If you like being as overly organized as me, then you’ll probably want to put all this information into a spreadsheet to get a clear bottom line on how much your trip is going to cost.

Find Ways to Make Extra Money

When I was in tenth grade and decided to participate in an EF (Education First) tour of Europe, my family’s only rule (other than no underage drinking) was that I would have to work for my own spending money. So, I got my first job and saved half of every paycheck for my trip. Now, this was easier when I was younger and my family was paying for the bigger part of the trip–i.e. plane tickets and lodging. Getting a second job probably isn’t easy for those of us working steady, 9-to-5 careers; however, there are still options out there to make a little extra money on the side.

If you’re skilled in writing, social media marketing, editing, graphic design, web design, etc., then a good way to make a little extra money is to start freelancing when you have time. Websites like Fiverr and Upwork are a great way to sell your skills or find a little side hustle. This is also a great way to find steady, remote work if your overall goal is to travel for long periods of time.

There is also the option to sell the stuff you no longer need. Decluttering is a good habit to have regardless of the urge to travel, and it’s okay to sell what you no longer use. At the end of the day, it’s just a sweater that’s collecting dust in your closet, but that just might be the missing piece of someone’s wardrobe. For guidance on how to start decluttering, I highly recommend the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.


Do you have any advice on how to save money for travel? Leave them down below!


Travel is a rewarding yet expensive pass time. In this article, Sam gives some tips and tricks on how to save money for travel. #travel #postcardpress
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