There’s one aspect of travel that stops a lot of people from making their travel dreams a reality – money. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been told, “man that looks awesome but I’ll never have the funds to do that” or “if only I made more money then I could go on that trip”. Unfortunately, many people allow this perceived lack of money stop them dead in their tracks. I’ve saved up for 2 big trips over the past few years, an 8-month backpacking trip and a 2-month roadtrip through Atlantic Canada coming up this summer, and so I want to show you that you can totally make those travel dreams a reality! But it’s going to take commitment and a bit of sacrificing to make it happen. Here are my tips on how to save money for your dream trip.
1. Set a Date
Before we get into the dollars and cents of these tips, there’s one thing you need to do to get your travel plans underway. And that’s to simply set a date. Whether it’s 6 months, a year, or even 5 years from now, set a date! I hate to break it to you guys but if you’re constantly saying someday, one day I’ll go on that trip – it’s probably not going to happen. The moment you seta date to take that trip is the moment that dream starts to become reality.
2. Figure Out Roughly How Much Your Trip Will Cost
Next up, research how much that trip is roughly going to cost. Go online and see how much flights costs, what accommodations are charging, if you’re going to be going on a tour, what does that tour cost? Do you have friends who have travelled to where you want to go? Talk to them! Ask them how much they spent on their trip. Travel bloggers in particular are great because some of them even give cost breakdowns of their trips. Bonus! Research as much as possible, come up with a dollar figure, then add another 15% on top of that for expenses that you can’t plan for at this stage.
3. Determine How Much Money You Need to Save Every Month
Ok, time to implement a savings plan. Now that you have a date and a rough estimate of the cost for your trip, let’s do a little math. But I promise it’s not strenuous math! Take the cost of your trip and divide it by the number of months between now and your departure date. This will then tell you the amount of money you need to save every month. The cost of your trip won’t seem so daunting once you break your savings plan into smaller amounts, plus it’ll be much more manageable putting away say $200 a month versus $2,500 in one go.
4. Set Up a Travel Bank Account
The next thing you’ll want to do is to set up a bank account where you’ll deposit and save your money until your trip. This should be a separate account from your everyday accounts so you’re not tempted to spend any of it.
5. Start Filling Up Your Travel Bank Account
Now you need to start filling up that bank account. Choose whether you’ll make one lump-sum payment each month, or smaller payments every week. If you’re used to paying your rent or mortgage at a certain time, make your monthly contributions to your travel account at this time as well. Set reminders in your calendars if you need to or better yet, set up automatic bank transfers from your everyday account to your travel account. Another great option is if you get paid via direct deposit, time your bank transfers to coincide with these days so don’t even see that money in your everyday accounts. Some employers will even allow your paychecks to be split and deposited into 2 different bank accounts (even better as you then don’t have to worry about transferring any money).
6. Reduce Your Everyday Spending
For most of us, it’s not as simple as just transferring money each month into a travel account. Many of us have to figure out where this money is going to come from. The first way is to reduce your everyday spending. When I’m preparing to save for a big trip, I’ll write down everything I spend money on in a single week. I’ll then look at this list to see where I can “trim the fat”. To give you an idea on how you can save money, here are some tried and tested ways you can cut costs:
- make coffee at home
- ditch water bottles and drink tap water (trust me it won’t kill you)
- eat out only once a week
- pack all your lunches
- invite friends over for drinks instead of hitting up the bar
- suggest rotating dinner parties amongst your friends each month
- get books from the library instead of buying them
- make a game of it and challenge yourself to find all the free things to do in your city
For a More Aggressive Savings Plan:
- trade in the car for public transportation
- walk or ride a bike if you can
- give up your gym membership in lieu of getting outside to work out
- move back in with mom and dad (I know I know, but short-term pain for long-term gain, right?)
7. Find Ways To Earn Extra Income
So if you’ve done all that and you’ve been cutting out costs and reducing your spending and you’re still left with a gap between what you need to be putting aside every month, you’ll have to find ways to earn extra money. Here are some ways that you can bring in some extra cash:
- do odd jobs here and there for your friends and family
- pick up a part-time job
- get rid of unused things and have a garage sale
- for birthdays or special events, ask your friends and family to contribute to your travel fund instead of buying you gifts
Have fun and get creative with this! You’d be surprised at the many different ways that you can earn some extra cash.
At times it’s going to be easy to put away money into your travel account and sometimes not so much. But stay positive and stick with it. As each month passes by and you see that travel account growing larger and larger, you’ll get more and more motivated to see it through. I mean, there’s an incredible trip waiting for you at the finish line!
If you have any other great tips on how you save money for your travels please leave them in the comments section below!