Kyle is the writer behind The Travel Runner. He’s a full-time traveler and adventurer who’s visited over 20 countries, including places like Thailand, Mexico, Vietnam, and Albania. He prefers a slower pace to his travels to explore destinations more in-depth and to get a feel for what life is actually like there. When he’s not writing, he’s usually off exploring trails with his fiancée, Kaitlyn.
Learn 10 ways to save money for traveling! Discover tips to help you save on your next trip and travel the world on a budget. Start your adventure!
The great philosopher Notorious B.I.G. once said, “Mo’ money, mo’ problems.”
I think “Mo’ money, mo’ travel” is more accurate. After all, extra money means you go more places and do more things, right?
How to save money for travel, though? That’s a different story.
And there is.
Travel seems like it costs a lot of money. And it does…if you don’t do it right! In fact, almost anyone can travel with a few slight changes. And that’s what I’ll show you with these great tips to help you save money for travel.
That way, you can get out there and start enjoying your goal of traveling the world instead of dreaming about it.
Let’s get started.
10 best ways to save money for traveling
1. Understand where your money is going right now
A humbling but necessary experience.
- How long do I have until I can travel?
- How much can I save?
- Can I take care of any debts?
These questions help you get a realistic expectation of how much you’ll save each month. Don’t worry if it’s not as much as you wanted, you can work on increasing it in the future. For now, it’s about learning your situation and working within it to reach your goal to travel around the world.
You don’t have to be an accountant or finance expert. Simply get a larger picture, so you know how much you’re spending.
2. Create a world travel savings account
Nothing says you take your travels serious like opening a bank account dedicated to it.
And it’s a great way to motivate yourself while you save money. To make it easier, set up automatic transfers. That way, some of your income goes into the savings account without you doing a thing!
As you see your account grow bit by bit, it’s extra motivation for your travel adventures. Think, you can spend it all on one big trip or you can take it slow as you make long-term travel your goal. Then the only thing building faster than your travel savings is the excitement for your trip.
And that’s how it should be.
3. Find a way to make money on your money
You can be as safe or dangerous with this method as you want.
But there are many ways to make some extra money on the money you already have! And you don’t even have to do anything.
If you just join my Bitcoin course….
Only jokes, folks. I’m talking about using interest rates, the stock market, and other financial tools to help earn a little extra for doing nothing. And there are multiple ways to do this:
- Savings accounts. You won’t earn much (the average interest rate is around .4%), but it’s a risk-free option for making some extra money. Look for top options for savings account interest rates (I’ve used Marcus by Goldman Sachs). And you can maximize what you get.
- Invest. I’m not some expert investor. But I understand how to use the stock market to my advantage to increase my money. There’s more risk, and you can lose money. But if you play it smart, you’ll be fine.
- Bonds. I’ve never done this myself. But you could reward future you with a bond that earns interest over a long time. But once you set that money aside, you can’t touch it until it’s finished.
If you’re interested in something better than a bank account but less risky than the stock market, I recommend Acorns.
I’ve used it for years now as a savings/portfolio hybrid. I have recurring investments set up so it’s always growing. Plus the stock market adds an extra bit to help grow my travel savings even faster.
And depending on your portfolio style, you can make hundreds of dollars in the course of a few months or a year.
If you’re interested, you can check out more here! Plus, both you and I will get a $5 signup bonus if you sign up through the link.
It’ll be our way of buying a beer for each other during our travels 😉.
3. Create a travel budget
Now that you’ve got a good idea of your finances, it’s time to create an ideal travel budget.
You don’t have to stick to this the entire time, but it gives you a good idea of how much money you’ll need for your travel fund. This can be for only your next vacation, or you can plan out your entire year’s travel costs and go from there.
Take into factor:
- The type of travel you do
- Cost of travel in various cities/countries
- If you’ll make money while you’re traveling or travel off savings
From there, you can get a good idea of your total travel expenses for your trip. And then it’s time to start saving!
Just kidding, you should continue to dive into your budget:
- Figure out any transportation, accommodation, activity, and food expenses
- Leave yourself some wiggle room or “safety money” in case you need it
- Brainstorm any related travel plans to get an accurate picture
Some of the best parts of travel come during the planning stage.
We dream of our trip. We imagine ourselves on vacation and often ignore the things we should be doing to dream of what we will be doing.
But that’s the beauty of it!
4. Cut down on expenses
Would you rather watch another travel show on Netflix or actually live it?
I know my answer. And if you’re reading this post, I know yours, too.
But it’s not just Netflix. Think of all the unnecessary expenses you have each month:
- Subscriptions (Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, magazines, gym memberships, etc.)
- Dining out
- Impulse buying
But, Kyle, do you expect me to live like a hermit? Only if you have a livable cave nearby.
Seriously, though. This is personal. If you can’t work out at home, then don’t stop exercising simply to save money. But if you can cut that subscription and do your workouts at home, that’s more money saved.
For me, I had to sit and write it all down. Once I added it up, I realized I was spending hundreds of dollars on subscriptions I didn’t need.
So, I cut the ones I could go without and put that money into Acorns for my travel savings.
5+ years and 15+ countries later, I think it worked. And it can for you, too.
5. Cut transportation costs
Can you use cheaper transportation to get to work, activities, etc.?
Some options include carpooling, taking public transport, or driving less. And all keep money in your pocket.
The golden time for booking domestic flights is around 1-3 months before traveling. For international flights, it’s around 6-8 months before to find the best deals.
Then, once you’re there, use local transportation like buses, trains, or walk!
So, lowering costs at home and while traveling helps you save money for and on travel!
6. Generate extra income
It’s never been easier to make money online.
You can start a website today and start writing or selling items, and it costs you less than $20. You could start right now.
I know because I did it two years ago when I started this website. Sure, it’s not a get-rich-quick scheme or anything. But with a little work and consistency, you can earn some side income to support your travels for years!
Or, start an online shop and sell things with WooCommerce or Etsy. Make your own products or sell others.
The moral of the story: there are tons of ways to make money online today.
Or, go an alternate route and sell things you don’t need.
Old game consoles, books, clothes, and shoes sit around your house…completely unused. So why not give them a new life and your wallet some new green friends?
Every couple of years, I go through and sort my stuff into essentials and non-essentials. All the non-essentials get sold or go to donation, and then I’m off to travel again. And I’m much lighter besides the extra money in my account 🤑
Think of ways you could do the same with your own stuff!
7. Cut housing costs
This isn’t an option for everyone, so you have to analyze your individual situation.
But if you can cut your housing costs somehow, it’s one of the best ways to get your travels started.
Average rent in the United States is $1,700. If you live in a major city, you know it’s even higher. So, can you cut those costs?
- Move back home with your parents
- Get an apartment with roommates to cut costs
- Look for a smaller home or apartment
This extends to your travels as well so you can keep going longer.
8. Maximize travel credit card rewards
I still don’t completely understand using credit cards for their points.
But I know a lot more than I used to. And there’s nothing more amazing than snagging a free flight or hotel!
So, take the time to learn the different tricks for earning yourself free rewards. Credit card points and intro rates help you rack up points fast with money you already spend! (Especially if they’re travel purchases!)
I recommend the Capital One Venture Card for double miles on all your purchases. I use it, and I’ve earned a few free flights through it. It doesn’t hurt it’s one of the best travel rewards cards, too!
But there are other cards that offer great deals as well. For example, I got 70,000 miles (around $900) with American Airlines simply for signing up, buying something, and paying the yearly fee.
That’s a flight to Asia for one purchase! Just make sure you stay on top of your payments and don’t fall into debt.
There is a risky side to travel hacking.
9. Eat on a budget
Like the above methods, here’s another one you can do before and during your trip!
If you often eat out — restaurants, fast food, etc. — then it’s time to stop and save some money. Simply cooking your own meals and eating at home slash your food costs.
Don’t believe me? What about when I tell you that eating out is far more expensive than cooking at home? For example, if you pay $4 to eat at home, that same meal costs around $20 in a restaurant! That’s $16 for every meal you eat at home!
The average American spends around $3,000 per year on eating out. So, if the average meal out is $20, that’s around 3 meals per week.
Let’s imagine you took $5 each week and put it in a travel savings account. On top of that, you add the money saved from not eating out.
Here’s how that would break down if you ate out 0, 1, 2, or 3 times per week 👇:
I don’t know about you, but $2500+ to cook at home? Sign me up!
And if you use some of the methods I mentioned above to make money on your money, then you’re sitting in a great spot 👌! If you don’t know how, then it’s the perfect time to learn to cook and gain a new skill!
And the same goes for when you travel. Look for local restaurants and cook your own food and you’ll avoid spending too much on your food budget.
10. Don’t drink
If you don’t lay off the drinking, your bank account will be sinking.
Okay, maybe a bit of a lame rhyme. But the point is still a good one.
Cutting down on drinking is a smart strategy if you want to save for travel and while you’re traveling. Of course, you want to have fun. But balancing having fun and conserving money is a game you’ll forever play as you travel.
And when the average American spends around $480 per month on alcohol, there’s a lot of savings to be had.
So, when you’re reaching for that bottle of wine, think, “Would I rather put this money toward travel?”
Ready to save money for traveling?
If travel is your main goal, these are a few of the ways to approach saving.
And this starts the process. Once you start, you’ll have to focus on how to save money while traveling. But, for now, I hope these tips to save money for traveling helped you get started! Whether it’s a road trip, to another state, or international, these tips have you ready to go.