If one of your financial and personal goals is to travel more, then you’re definitely not alone. But how do you save money for travel and still live a full life at home? Only a lucky few can make travel decisions without carefully planning out how to pay for them. Most of us have to consider ways to save for travel well ahead of time, and take a hard look at our bank account before we can even think about going on a vacation.
Saving money for a trip can be a daunting task. In this guide, we’ll explore our top 10 tips to make the saving process a bit easier to manage. Even if you don’t yet know where you want to travel to, you can be sure that the impulse to travel will surface again soon. How do you save money for a trip? Follow these 10 simple steps:
1. Estimate Your Travel Expenses
How can you save for travel? One of the best ways of saving for a trip is to create a budget. Ask yourself these questions to clearly identify how much money you’ll need to travel:
- When am I traveling?
- What will my daily travel budget be?
- How much am I going to spend on a hotel nightly?
- What is my excursion budget?
- What do I plan to spend on meals?
- How long am I traveling for?
- Am I going to be a budget traveler or mid-range?
For example, traveling at a destination’s peak season is going to be more expensive than researching when the off season is and waiting to travel then. When it comes to accomodations, hostels are an easy way to keep costs down when compared to private Airbnbs or hotels.
Answering these questions will help you come up with a dollar amount that you are striving for. Just like anything in life, accomplishing your travel goals is easier to do when you know exactly what your goal is and how close (or far) you are to reaching it.
2. Plan Your Budget
Once you know the amount that you have to save for the trip you want, it’s time to plan your daily and monthly budget around it. Make a spreadsheet and list out all of your expenditures. Organize them into two columns: Needs and Wants. Slowly eliminate all the ‘Wants’ from the things you regularly purchase.
For example, record your essential spending each month in the ‘Needs’ column. This will include expenses such as rent, gas, car repairs, car insurance, utilities, health insurance, student loans, groceries, etc. Next, write down all other non-essential monthly expenses in the ‘Wants’ column. This list may include a gym membership, internet and cable, happy hour drinks, going out to eat, movie tickets, and new clothes.
3. Track All Your Expenses
When it comes to saving for a trip, every penny matters. This means you should track all your expenses, no matter how trivial they are. This is how you’ll hold yourself accountable for your savings goal. Often it’s the small things, like the daily latte or uber ride, that add up without us even realizing it.
Pay attention to where your money is going when budgeting for travel. Sit down and start making a list of where you spend every single penny each month. Be diligent and don’t let anything slide. Perhaps you make a daily stop at the corner store near the subway and grab a snack or a coffee. Can you instead bring a snack from home or get coffee for free at the office?
If manually tracking every expense seems like a hectic activity, you can use budgeting apps to monitor and record your expenses on the go.
4. Set Up a Dedicated Travel Fund
How to save money for travel? When you’re trying to save money, it’s best to put it away so that you can no longer ‘see’ it. You can create a new account with your bank and save money in it monthly, weekly, or even daily. Make it easy to transfer money over from another account. Every time you go online to check your balance, transfer some money—even if it’s just $5. Over time, this will gradually turn into a habit.
Choose a bank with low fees to save a bit more every month. Some banks also run campaigns where you can earn bonuses for referring a friend.
5. Get a Rewards Credit Card
One of the most expensive up-front costs when planning a trip is your flights. This is where a travel rewards credit card will come in handy. But that’s only fruitful if you pay off the card each month and are diligent about not spending more than you need. You’d be amazed how quickly you can earn points when you charge things like groceries, toiletries, and even medication on your credit card.
With a travel rewards card, you also get a sign-up bonus. Just by signing up, you could get a sizable amount of money to put towards a flight. There are plenty of options available on the market. Do some research to see what card is best for you.
6. Eat Out Less
Americans eat out 5.9 times a week on average—and it can get costly. We all know that restaurants can put a big hole in your savings plan. Cooking at home is a healthier, cheaper, and more gratifying experience. If you’re not a confident cook, try looking up recipes online to get you started. With careful meal planning, you can comfortably eat on $40 to $50 a week cooking for yourself. Using simple unprocessed foods like rice, beans, chicken, pasta, potatoes, and vegetables is not only cheaper than eating out, but healthier too.
How to save for a trip? You may also want to consider cutting back on fancy coffee drinks. Eliminating coffee from your life might seem impossible, and coffee shops are an essential place for many people to socialize, study, and work. However, that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on caffeine. Imagine this: buying a $2 drip coffee instead of a $5 mocha every day could save you $1,095 a year!
7. Talk About Your Plans
Let your friends and family know about your travel goals. Discuss your trip plans with others. You may be able to learn a lot about saving for travel and travelling frugally by getting recommendations from people who have already been through the struggle of saving money. Bringing your travel dreams into the light of conversation will make them more real, making you feel more accountable and more driven to succeed.
8. Sell Your Things
With the assortment of online marketplaces available today, it’s fairly simple to list and sell possessions that you no longer have a use for. If you’re looking for ways to earn some extra saving money, you may want to take a look around your home for non-essential items that are worth good money.
9. Adopt a Minimalist Lifestyle
When you need money to travel, one of the most obvious places to look to cut expenses is your lifestyle.
Minimalism is a lifestyle trend that will save you money, but it is also about having what you need and no more. For instance, you may consider books an absolute must-have in your life. But what about buying more books than you can read? Before making any purchase, give it serious consideration. How much do you need it? Could you borrow or rent it instead? How much will it contribute to your happiness?
10. Strike a Balance
Just like eating healthy, exercising, and pretty much everything else in life, balance is the key to saving money. You shouldn’t feel guilty to splurge from time to time, and a little overspending shouldn’t dampen your spirits—as long as it’s not a regular habit. For instance, if you end up spending more than you’d like on dinner and drinks with friends on one weekend, balance it out by being diligent about watching your spending every other night the next week. Plan to cook together with your friends the next week instead of eating out. Eventually, your splurge will even out.
Also, when aiming to balance spending, consider planning ahead. For example, if you know December is going to be a big month for spending, make sure you’re extra frugal in the preceding months so that the holidays won’t set you back. Learning how to save for travel funding is all about balance!
Get Help Saving With CreditAssociates
When you know how to save, travel planning becomes easier. However, saving money when you’re struggling to make loan payments can be a major setback to your travel goals. If debt is getting in the way of your ability to budget, it may be time to get some professional financial support. At CreditAssociates, we can help with our debt relief programs. Contact us today to learn more about how debt settlement can help you get control of your finances and boost your savings.