Last Updated on July 24, 2021 by Chris and Lindsay
In order to save for our trip we became strict followers of several travel saving tips. At first we it felt a little awkward and uncomfortable to make some changes. We had some deep-rooted habits we had to break.
But as we started to think about money differently, eventually we became better and these strategies became more permanent lifestyle changes.
40 Travel Saving Tips You Can Use Every Day to Save For Your Next Trip!
We broke our travel saving tips into two primary categories:
- Fundamental strategies are those broader principles that guide us in the big picture of our financial situation.
- Practical strategies build off the Fundamental strategies and are simple enough that we could apply them almost every day and see the results start to add up on a day-to-day basis.
FUNDAMENTAL STRATEGIES (Embrace these to help you change the way you think about money)
- Develop a (fair) budget. Stick to it.
- Spend less than you earn. Stop going into debt.
- Pay off debt. Pay yourself instead of banks.
- Build short-term savings and emergency funds. Life will happen. Be ready for it.
- Protect your family with life insurance. Death happens. Instant wealth does not.
PRACTICAL STRATEGIES (do these every day until they become habits)
We found our short-term practical travel savings tips fit into budgeting, spending and saving categories.
- Develop a (fair) budget. Don’t tighten the belt so much you can’t breathe. But don’t leave enough room to grow fat.
- Include every possible monthly expense. Include things like vitamins, prescriptions and subscriptions (to gyms that you don’t use!).
- Balance your budget every month. Revisit as necessary. But always balance.
- Plan for the unexpected. Build in “overages” and “contingencies” for your budget items.
- Keep $1,000 in checking account at all times. Treat it like a $0 balance.
- Compartmentalize expenses. Literally, take out cash and use the envelope system. (Dave Ramsey is the pioneer of this concept in modern time)
- Know the difference between “wants” and “needs.” Wants always exceed needs. But only needs keep you alive.
- Only pay cash for everything you buy. Not literally. But when using a cash-back credit card make sure you have cash in that moment to pay the balance.
- Whenever possible, let your money work for you. Interest can either work for or against you.
- Use 1-2 cash back credit cards. Pay them off each month.
- Buy used. When you’re saving for a trip life is more function than form.
- Buy generic. They are just as delicious (or awesome-looking) and you’re not a teenager anymore so who cares what other people think.
- Be patient. Sales come and go. If you have a big purchase allow time for that item to go on sale.
- Use coupons. If you can’t wait, look for coupons or Groupons to reduce retail price.
- Pay yourself first. Put money into savings and retirement.
- Ensure at least 1 month expenses are in bank ahead of the first bill due date
- Build at least 3 months “emergency fund” in savings
- Open an interest-bearing savings account, keep money separate (360 savings lets you make different accounts)
- Take advantage of medical advantages such as HSA and incentive programs
- Maximize employer retirement fund match. It doesn’t get much better than instantaneous 100% return on investment.
Then there are more travel savings tips that you can put to use depending on your circumstances:
- Understand your insurance (health, life, other). Pay only for what you need to protect you and your family.
- Adjust IRS tax withholdings as necessary to reduce your return. A tax return once a year is a interest-free loan to the government.
- Make meals for work or fun/eat in. Even cheap meals out are easily $10 per person. How much would $10 get you on your trip?
- Don’t waste food. An extra meal saved is an extra meal earned – and cash saved.
- Reduce adult beverage habits. Drink in moderation, or not at all. Try to enjoy a drink or two at home before or after going out (carpool or Uber of course!).
- Get rid of cable. Video and streaming on demand like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu for an entire year can cost less than one month of standard cable service.
- Family share phone plan. Collect your family together or gather friends and share a plan.
- Roommate / Share home. It’s not glamorous, but sharing this cost gets you toward your saving goal almost twice as fast.
- Use all of what you have. Scrape the bottom of the jar. Roll the toothpaste tight. Every drop adds up over time.
- Drive used, never new. It’s nice to think about having something brand new. But it it’s a new car or a trip to your favorite country – take the trip!
- Accept help. DIY doesn’t mean it just has to be you. Working with friends to solve issues saves money and can also be fun!
Other Ideas to Help You Save for Travel
The list can go on from here depending on your personal situation. But to name a few practical things you can do to either save money or earn more:
- Ride bicycle/ride share to work
- Earn additional income (virtually unlimited options)
- online surveys
- Part-time jobs, moonlighting
- Garage sale / downsize life
- Sell arts ands crafts (Etsy is a great way to do this!)
In about 18 months we were able to save enough money to feel comfortable hitting the road on what we hope will be a few years of travel! Of course if we had dreams other than traveling we would be well on our way to realizing them too!
NOTE: These little nuggets come from personal trial and error, a touch of formal financial education and a little research to firm things up. My posts do not constitute official “financial advice” nor do they absolve you from determining whether they fit your personal financial situation and goals. There are plenty of “official” people who can work with you in your specific financial situations but this should be a pretty decent starting point to formulating your plan!