10 Ways I Save Money for Travel

The one excuse I hear the most from people who don't travel is "I can't afford it".

This may be true in some cases but it's surprising how cheap travelling can be and how much money you can save by changing a few lifestyle choices!

Here's a list of 10 ways I save money for travelling:

1. Have a *Rough* Travel Plan.

Even just having a loose one with each country you have in mind will be enough to work out rough costs. You can do a quick google search for average costs of living in each country (https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/) and pair that up with the cost of certain activities that are on your "Must Do" list!

Once you have your costs of food/accommodation, you'll need to factor in your cost of flights.

Skyscanner / Kayak.

These are the two websites I frequently use for checking flight prices and booking cheap tickets. There are plenty others you can choose from but I've always found them easy to use and Skyscanner's "Fly to: Everywhere" & "Cheapest Month" options are a lifesaver when you're looking for a pure bargain with no specific destination in mind.

Tip: If you're searching for flights a lot, turn on InPrivate browsing on your device (using chrome, safari etc) and search through there. This stops the sites placing tracking cookies on your machine (which lets them know what you've searched for before) and then hiking up the prices.

Also: Learn how to pack like a minimalist. This will save you a TON in baggage fees. No, you don't need those 5 Long Sleeve T-Shirts and 2 "just in case" hoodies for a few days in Portugal!

I over packed for my few days in Amsterdam with a few scarfs, more than one winter jacket and 2/3 pairs of shoes...

I over packed for my few days in Amsterdam with a few scarfs, more than one winter jacket and 2/3 pairs of shoes...

Now that you've got your costs sorted, you can start working on:

2. A Saving Plan.

It took me a while to learn how to save any amount of money but I've finally got a system that keeps me on track. I'll write a full "Saving Guide" detailing my savings plan but I basically counted up my outgoings and subtracted that from my monthly income. This left me with the realistic amount I could put away. It might work for you but everyone is different!

I also split my "spends" into weekly budgets to make it more manageable (instead of a "big" pot I'm digging into each month).

Tip: Get yourself a separate bank account/high interest saving account to keep your money separate and practically untouchable!

3. Reduce Your Outgoings.

Cutting back on the drinks and restaurants was tough for me. Not because I'm a big drinker or need to have a night out, I just bloody love a Nandos! The thing is, I'd much prefer to grab a Nandos from Cape Town for £3 than to get one from Aberdeen that costs me £20, so it makes sense to have less fancy nights out at restaurants/bars and have the odd takeaway at home with a movie!

It depends on how much you love a night out! You could always go on that night out and stay sober, just choose cheaper drinks or just drink a load of store bought alcohol at your place before heading out!

My phone plan was with 3 mobile (for their awesome roaming plans) and I was spending £30 a month to get 30GB of data. When I looked back into my Monthly Bills, I was rarely using over 10GB so I changed to a 12GB plan and saved nearly £200 over 12 months! Every little helps and it's always useful to compare and shop around.

My "Roaming" phone plan saved my bacon when I got lost on a run in Cyprus and had to google map my way home!

My "Roaming" phone plan saved my bacon when I got lost on a run in Cyprus and had to google map my way home!

4. Rent/Accommodation

Some people are lucky enough to live with their parents for a reduced rate of rent. This will save a load in rent/bills so anybody doing this should count their blessings!

For those who rent accommodation, look into reducing the costs.

  • Could you live without the spare bedroom?

  • Could you sub-let it out?

  • Increase your commute a few minutes to half your rent costs? (find a place outside the city)

I’ll go into this more in my Savings Guide but you could potentially save a LOT of money. It’s proportionate to your living standards and the practicality of it all.

If you own your home with a spare room, you can always AirBNB it to add to your Travel Fund! You can sign up on their website (www.airbnb.com) and enter your details. Once they've vetted you to make sure you're legit, you can rent out your room or your whole place to travellers for some big bucks!

Tip: One of my friends made $10,000 from AirBNB hosting over one summer. If you're able to, you should totally do it.

5. Car/Transport

I used to want the Audi "status symbol" car with the flash interiors and high spec but if I had that car, I wouldn't be able to save the amount I do now. So instead, I bought a 2008 Mazda 2 which was cheap to fill up,cheap to insure and got me from A to B.

Reducing your standards can be a good thing sometimes...

If you're really committed and you live in a fairly accessible place, you can opt for Public Transport instead of using your own car. Not only will you be saving those pennies, you'll also be saving the environment. Win Win!

6. Cancel the Gym Membership

For some, this will be a massive plus and an excuse not to exercise! For me, it was tough but between planning the trips, trying to work online and still spending quality time with Scott, there was no time to make my way into town for a workout at my favourite gym.

I love running so I ended up squeezing a 5k outside run into my lunch break at work (or a 10k straight after work). Scott and I are also fans of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). It's basically bodyweight exercises completed in high bursts of energy, normally coupled with low rest periods. It's great cardio and together with cutting carbs can shred your fat in no time!

You can also buy a cheap second hand pair of dumbells etc online for some resistance training too. This gets you outside, saves you time and costs you a fraction of some gym memberships!


7. Side Hustle

If you're really motivated to build up your Travel Fund in a small amount of time, you could consider getting overtime, a part time job, dropshipping or doing freelance work.

If you have a freelance skill (graphic design, marketing, consulting of some kind etc), you can get a few jobs/clients to boost your income. I'll go into more depth on freelance work, dropshipping and working online in a future blog post but don't dismiss any lack of skill.

Everything can be learned, you just need time, commitment and interest!

I ended up taking every extra shift there was, covering the team's on call shifts and doing side jobs (from labouring to dog sitting to fixing laptops).

8. Sell all your Junk

It's craaazy how much unnecessary stuff I accumulated over the course of a few years. Most of it was sitting in my attic for over a year so when I decided to travel, I started selling all of it.

Although the thought of taking it all down, taking pictures, writing descriptions and packaging it up/sending it off seemed like a hassle, the thought of not having enough money to travel is a bigger hassle! So it's worth it.

If you're not sure how much to offer, search for related items already for sale and mark yours up dependent on age/condition etc. Anything is better than chucking it in the bin!

9. Cheap Things To Do

Scott and I love a date night but when we both decided to travel, it was something we needed to cut back on. We were spending a fortune on hotels and weekends away! Luckily enough, we live in Scotland where it's legal to Wild Camp so we tried it and loved it. It saves us the price of accommodation, taps into our need for adventure and get us away for the weekend.

There are loads of free/low cost date ideas on the web for those Tinder adventures!

10. Use Discounts and Loyalty Cards

Nowadays it's rare to have to pay for something without getting some sort of reward (points, cashback etc).

You can use cashback sites like E-Bates (US & Amazon) and TopCashBack (UK purchases) to get something back every time you shop online. 

Whenever you're buying something (especially online), scour google for discount codes. Some will have expired but it's always worth to check for money off! If you frequently shop at the same place, ask them if they have a loyalty card scheme. I've been smashing the Nando's card recently!

Also: Make the most out of that student card! Even if it's expired, lots of places just need to see it rather than inspect the date.

Hopefully these tips will help you tuck away some of those pennies and help you bulk out that Travel Fund!

- Steven

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