I’m a massive money nerd. In fact, it’s not often that you hear of someone under the age of 35 with a passion for Pensions, ISAs and Premium Bonds – but I swear I’m not a total bore. I also love to travel the world with my girlfriend and so far, we’ve been to over 25 countries – spending less than three months of each year in the UK, making and saving money to travel. Many people assume that building up the funds to travel the world is difficult but luckily for you, I’m going to let you in on my top tips on how to save money for travel.
1. How much do you need to save for travel?
First things first – you need to understand how much money you’re going to need to save for travel.
Where in the world would I like to travel to – and what do I want to do while I’m there?
You don’t have to go into too many specifics here, but you do need to have a general idea about the type of trip you’re planning. If you’re keen to hike Machu Picchu for example, then it’s likely to cost you a lot more than a trip to a couple of cities where you visit museums and other top-rated attractions. Also, distance will play a part in this as well; a trip to Los Angeles and Australia is going to cost you a lot more than a trip to Indonesia and Thailand. So, it’s important to work this out first.
How long do I plan to travel for?
2 weeks? A month? Planning a gap year? Without a doubt, one of the largest variables on your travel budget is how long you plan to travel for. The longer you’re travelling for the more it’s going to cost.
Would I be happy spending some of my time working and travelling?
Have you considered working while travelling? It’s a great way to boost your income while learning new skills and exploring a new culture. Consider working or volunteering to either make money or offset some of your expenses.
2. Keep your travelling money separate
Once you’ve decided how much money you’re going to need to save for travel, you need to keep these savings separate from your everyday accounts to help you avoid spending it wherever possible.
Seeing £1,000 in your bank account feels great. It makes you think:
“I can totally buy that £20 dress. After all, it’s in the sale… and I’m saving like £90 on the RRP”
“Sure, I’ve got £1,000 in my bank but actually £800 of that is savings towards my awesome trip to South America. So, in fact I only have £200 and I need to pay for Gemma’s leaving present, council tax and you know… eat…”
You could opt for an old-fashioned savings jar or investigate opening a savings account with your bank (you might even get a small amount of interest from the bank on the money you’ve saved). Either way, make sure you’re able to track the amount of money you’ve saved so far, to keep you motivated towards your travel money goals.
3. Set a budget
We’re so lucky that there are now hundreds of free mobile and web applications to help us track how much money we’re spending and what on. Browse the market by Googling for the best app that suits your lifestyle. Use it to see how much money you’re currently spending and ways you might be able to cut back. For example;
– Did you spend £80 on clothes last month? Then let’s aim for £0 this month!
– Did you spend £70 on food from the supermarket last month? Then let’s clear out the freezer and cupboards and only buy fresh fruit and veg and save ourselves £50 this month.
– Did you spend £50 on buying your lunch recently? Then let’s stop it with the meal deals and put £10 extra into the supermarket budget for bread to make sandwiches to take to work and save £40.
4. Cancel or renegotiate your monthly Direct Debits
While we’re seeing where our money is going let’s look at those pesky Direct Debits. Firstly, cancel the ones you no longer need or use. Yes, I’m talking about the gym membership you signed up for back in January and quickly forgot about.
Next, let’s look at how we might be able to renegotiate those monthly direct debits that you can’t live without.
Mobile phone contract
Check how much your contract is per month. Does this match the amount you’re being billed each month? If not enquire why.
Next, look at when your contract runs out. If it’s already run out move straight over to a Sim Only contract and save yourself upwards of £30 a month.
Check your allowances and see what you’re using a lot of (and not a lot of) then go ahead and speak to your provider and see if they can change your plan to better suit your needs (and hopefully save you money).
Shop around using a comparison website and see if you could transfer to another network and save yourself money. With travel in mind look for ones with discounted rates for use abroad.
Check how much you’re paying per month. The basic Netflix plan is currently just £5.99, so if you’re paying more than this then you’re paying for extra screens that you probably don’t need. Log into your Netflix account and change that plan back down to basic.
Do you pay for your bank account? Perhaps around £10 or £15 a month for a premium upgrade? Well, have a look as to what that upgrade includes and whether you even need it. In some cases, it can be a great affordable asset (mine includes international mobile phone insurance and premium travel insurance). However, others include the likes of breakdown cover and other stuff that you’re probably not going to need while you’re travelling the world.
If you do need some of these services that your premium bank account is offering, then consider shopping around by using a comparison website to check if you get these things cheaper on their own. Remember, £10 a month for the bank account is £120 over the course of a year, just like £15 a month is £180.
So, if you’re able to get international mobile phone insurance for the year for £50 and international travel insurance for £40 that’s a saving of between £30 and £90 over the year.
5. Sell your unwanted belongings
If you’ve finished University, then you’re no doubt surrounded by textbooks you no longer need (thank goodness!). Consider selling them online via websites such as eBay or trade them in for cash with mobile applications such as Music Magpie.
If you’re planning on travelling long term, consider doing the same with many of the physical possessions that you don’t plan on travelling with. Not only will this save you on storage fees (or on mum and dad complaining that all your junk is filling up the spare room) it will provide you with a vast amount of mental freedom, and some much-needed cash.
6. Pick up extra shifts at work (or get a job)
If you already have a job – great! See if you’re able to pick up extra shifts where possible. Let your manager know you’re looking to earn more money and the next time they need help with something or someone calls in sick they’ll consider calling you to help.
If you don’t already have a job, then go out there and get yourself a part-time or temporary job (depending on how long you plan to travel for).
If you struggle to find a job or want to earn some extra cash alongside your pre-existing job, then consider doing one or more of the following jobs that each pay around £10 an hour:
- Online surveys
- Work as a TV Extra
- Mystery / secret shopper
That’s it – my guide on how to save money for travel. If you want to learn more or want me to share more travel money saving hacks then let me know or if you have a question about anything covered in this article, leave me a comment below.
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About the author
Cora Harrison is a personal finance money nerd who blogs about her life at TheMiniMillionaire.com and her travels with her girlfriend at InsideOurSuitcase.com. If she’s not editing her latest YouTube video you’ll find her sharing a new Instagram story.