Planning and Saving for Travel: How to Save Effectively

Twenty-seven thousand, three-hundred and seventy-five days. That’s how long you will live.
Maybe you can extend your time by a few months or years with a healthy diet and exercise. Or your time will be shorter. 

Either way, one day you will die.

What will you accomplish before then? Will you keep doing your normal 9-5 grind, thinking about that trip you always wanted to take but never did? Or will you take that trip and go on an adventure?

What’s holding you back? 

If the answer is finances, it doesn’t have to be. 

Saving for travel is easier than you think. Here’s how to save enough to travel the world (or at least a few different countries).

Travel During the Off-Peak Seasons

If you’re serious about travel on a budget, one of the easiest ways to do it is to travel to your destination outside of the typical tourist season.

Hotels and airlines often have deals during off-peak seasons, allowing you to travel and stay for less than you normally would pay. The downside to this is that you may be traveling to countries when it is cooler, rainier, or more overcast than expected, but if you do your research ahead of time and pack the right clothes you will be fine. 

A bonus perk of off-season travel? Popular tourist destinations are often less crowded. That means less time standing in line and more time enjoying your vacation.

Budget Ahead of Time

A good personal finance plan includes having a budget. That applies to good financial travel planning too. You need a travel budget.

Set up a budget for your upcoming trips. Ask yourself how much you want to spend on lodging, travel, food, and discretionary (nonessential) spending.

Open a travel-specific savings account. Don’t touch it unless you’re using it for travel expenses. Transfer a little money into it every time you are paid. It doesn’t have to be much. Even a little bit will add up over time. To make it easier for yourself, set up an automatic transfer from your main account to your travel savings account. Even transferring a small amount such as $20 a month will be beneficial. 

Bad at budgeting? Don’t fret, there are budget apps that will help you track your expenses. Check out apps like TravelSpend, Tripcoin, and Trip Expense Manager.

Most of these will allow you to create a budget, track expenses (sometimes even broken down into daily expenses), and set goals. 

Reconsider Your Gift Giving and Receiving

If you are traveling with others, reconsider the gifts you give each other throughout the year. Instead of spending money on expensive Christmas or birthday gifts, give money or gift cards towards travel. If you are traveling with a partner, put money towards your travel fund instead of pricey gifts.

Alternately if you must give a physical gift, or if your friends and family insist on giving you one, ask for something essential for travel. Some ideas of great travel gifts: a universal power adapter, comfortable shoes for walking, and travel-sized skincare products.

Work a Little More

Arguably the least fun option on this list, working more will make you more money. You don’t have to overdo it and burn yourself out, but a few extra hours of work each month can help pad your travel account. 

There are a few different ways of going about that. You could pick up a second job. A part-time job or side hustle that you can work on weekends or weeknights could bring in a little extra money that you could stow away for future travel.

You could also look into making more money at your current job. What would it take to get you promoted? Look into online classes to pick up any new skills that are relevant to your industry, or to brush up on older skills you haven’t used in a while. The upfront cost may be worth it.

If you have an hourly job, there’s also the option of working overtime or holidays to earn a little extra cash. 

Don’t Buy What You Don’t Need

Much like working more, this isn’t a very fun way of saving money. At least, not at first. 

Look at what you can cut back on. Do you use every streaming service every month, or can you cancel or put them on pause for a few months?

In the U.S., the average American subscribes to four streaming services each month. On average, that amounts to $47 a month for services like Netflix, Disney Plus, and Amazon Prime. Do you need that many streaming services simultaneously?  

What if you could cut that amount in half, and put the half you saved into your travel fund? You could save an extra $20 or so each month. 

As the saying goes, “You can’t always get what you want.” Do you want to travel? Or do you want to buy more clothes, eat out every week, shop spontaneously, and pay for services you don’t always use? 

If your goal is to travel more, then something has to give. Cutting back on unnecessary spending is one of the most immediate ways to save money. It’s a small sacrifice for future travel opportunities. 

Saving for Travel Is an Investment in Your Future

Saving for travel takes patience, time, sacrifices, and some hard work but it’s not impossible. Don’t think about what you lost or sacrificed. Instead, think of all the new memories and experiences you will have on your next trip, and put these saving tips to good use.

And if you’re not sure where to go, be sure to check out our top travel destinations. Whether it’s a short trip across the border to Mexico or exploring the history of ancient Egypt, there’s something for everyone when it comes to travel. Now get out there and explore!

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