Looking for how to save money for travel? And how do I travel so much? I get that question a lot. Even before I became a full time travel blogger, I’d hear similar comments and questions over and over again. “You’re going on another trip?” and “I can’t keep up with the places you’re going.”
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Well, I’m not rich and I certainly didn’t win the lottery. I love to travel and I find ways to make it happen as much as possible.
Travel isn’t cheap. You need to find a way to travel to your destination, whether it’s by plane, car, train, or boat. Next, you need a place to stay, which is usually some form of hotel, apartment or hostel. Then, there’s another big expense: eating!
While the main goal is not to starve, you’ll probably want to indulge in some of the local cuisine. Dining at restaurants can really eat into your travel funds. And lastly, in order to see the sights, you’ll likely have to book some tours or admission tickets. Plain and simple: traveling around the world comes at a price.
How to Save Money for Travel
Thankfully, I have some tips that I use myself on a daily basis that show you how to save money for a trip. These are easy ways to save money for travel that won’t be detrimental to your day-to-day life. In fact, these suggestions are positive changes that will help you to live more minimally, be healthier, and spend quality time with loved ones.
And to sweeten the deal, I’ve discovered lots of new tips and advice from other travel experts. I’ve asked them to share their secrets with us. These travel bloggers also live a life of travel, some of them traveling the world on a full time basis. They know exactly what to do (and what not to do) to save money for travel. They’ll share the best ways to save money for a trip and show us how to travel on a budget.
Even if you’re not thinking about traveling for years at a time, this article still applies to you. Justin and I haven’t packed up our things to travel full time. We live at our apartment near Toronto and travel on a part time basis.
While I work from home as a full time travel blogger, Justin continues to work his day job in the TV industry. We plan our vacations as international travel (together when possible), weekends away, road trips, and day trips. You’ll soon discover that by making a few small changes in your regular life, you’ll have extra savings to take that dream trip of a lifetime.
Save Money for Travel Tip #1: Sell Your Stuff
If you are anything like me, you have things that you don’t really need or want anymore. You may have a closet full of clothes that you don’t wear, collections of things that aren’t that important to you anymore, or valuables that you’d rather trade in for a vacation across the world.
All you have to do is get organized, decide where you would get the most money for your things, and sell, sell, sell! Here are some places where you can sell your belongings for extra cash.
Sell Your Valuables
Ebay is the most popular place to sell valuables and collectibles, and it’s pretty easy, too. Just upload some high quality photos with good descriptions and list them in an auction or “Buy it now” format.
Ebay allows you to list up to 100 items for free each month and you only have to pay a fee that is a percentage of the selling price. Make sure that you have a Paypal account set up so you can collect the payments. If you’re unsure about how to do this, there are many tutorials online that could help you out.
Sell Larger Items / Less Valuable Items
For bigger things or stuff that won’t sell very well on eBay, I recommend listing them on Craigslist, Kijiji, or Facebook Marketplace. As long as you have some photos and you’re flexible on the price, you shouldn’t have any problem selling that extra old TV you’ve got kicking around, or that piece of furniture that doesn’t match anything in your place.
If possible, meet at a public place to exchange the goods and the cash. Don’t be home by yourself if you have to invite the person into your home, just in case the buyer doesn’t have good intentions.
Sell Your Clothes
Sell your Clothes: Thinking about Marie Kondo-ing your life? You can make hundreds or even thousands of dollars selling your unused and unworn clothing and accessories. Sell some of your clothing items on Etsy, especially if they’re vintage.
Have a Garage Sale
Gather up all of the extra items that aren’t valuable enough to sell online and have a yard sale! Put price stickers on “all of your items and put signs up around your neighborhood. You can also place a free ad online for your sale on Craigslist and Kijiji.
It will be a bit of work lugging all of your things to the curb, but you’ll earn some extra cash while reducing clutter in your living space! Your “trash” could easily be someone else’s treasure.
For whatever you don’t sell in your garage sale (or if you just have a few items that you’d like to dispose of), you could always donate it to Goodwill or another similar charity. You can try Bunz groups to swap your stuff for other things you’d find more useful.
Another idea is using your local Freecycle community to get rid of your extra clutter. You can quickly and easily post an ad that you have something to give away, and there’s a great chance that someone will want it.
Another idea that I’ve done in the past after hosting a garage sale? I put the extra stuff at the bottom of the driveway with a giant “Free” sign on it. Then, I placed an article on Freecycle that everything was ready to be hauled away. By the end of the day, everything was gone!
Save Money for Travel Tip #2: Live Minimally
f you’re planning a round-the-world adventure living out of a backpack, you’re going to be living minimally anyway. You may as well get a head start on that! For the rest of us part-time travelers, it doesn’t hurt to learn how to live with less. My favorite minimalist blog by far is Zen Habits. You should check out that site right now as it is filled with inspiring stories and suggestions for minimalist living.
If you’re anything like me, you likely have tons of things that you don’t need. You are likely tempted on a daily basis to buy things that you don’t need. If you’ve grown up in a Western culture like I have in Canada, you’ve been raised with the ideas that the more stuff, the better. We work longer hours and have less free time to buy a bigger house, a fancier car, designer clothing, and extensive collections of things.
There’s nothing wrong with taking pleasure in owning some beautiful things, but I’m sure there are some things that you can give up. In the process, you’ll save money, won’t have to work overtime to pay the bills, and you’ll be able to travel farther.
By making simple cuts to your monthly costs, you’ll be able to enjoy an extra night in a hotel, an extra meal at a faraway restaurant, an extra day sight-seeing in a historic city or more time lounging on a gorgeous beach. Here are some suggestions for living with less and saving more.
Cancel Your Cable TV
It all started when our cable bill went up in price. The cable company refused to negotiate with us to keep our old rate. Finally, we thought to ourselves…do we really need to subscribe to cable TV? It’s time to cut the cord and save money every month.
Instead, we subscribe to Netflix and Crave TV to watch our shows, plus we’ll watch some TV shows that stream online for free. There’s always stuff to watch on YouTube, too! (Don’t forget to subscribe to our channel!).
Don’t Buy What You Don’t Need
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Before you buy something, think to yourself, do I really need this? If you need it, buy it. If not, you might want to think about passing on it.
Save For What You Do Need
It’s less important for us to have the latest and fanciest electronics, like brand new TVs and gadgets. However, we do splurge on things like our DSLR camera, our GoPro, and our drone. It’s important that we capture the best photos and video as we travel, so we’ll splurge on those items.
Cut Down on Monthly Bills
There are many ways to do this. When we cancelled our cable TV, we also decided to switch Internet Providers. We found a provider called TekSavvy and it uses exactly the same cable Internet line that we had before, but at way lower rates than what we were paying. There are numerous ISPs like this, so I’m sure you’ll be able to find one in your area.
A fast Internet connection is important to us, although we will happily pay less if given the choice. Other options to cut down on your monthly bills: make sure you use less hydro by turning off the lights when you leave a room, or unplug electronic devices when you’re not using them. Be sure to watch your water consumption as well.
While we found a really good deal to go to the gym, it isn’t always an affordable option. It’s easy to stay in shape when you regularly hike outside or even travel to destinations that involve a lot of walking or physical activity.
I love tracking my steps with my FitBit everyday to get exercise. Using ClassPass is also a cheap way to get some exercise and try some new activities. You gain access to over 10,000 gyms around the world. I’ve put together these guides about how to exercise more while traveling and how to stay fit while traveling that you might find helpful.
Reduce Car Usage
Now that I no longer commute to work (I work from home), I don’t have to drive as often, pay for gas, pay for wear and tear on my car, etc. This one might not be possible, but if you can give up the car, do it. I walk wherever I possibly can to save money and get exercise. I also own a Toyota Prius hybrid car, which helps to save on gas when I take those long road trips.
Reduce Salon or Spa Use
I used to attend the hair salon more frequently, and who doesn’t love getting manicures and pedicures? I do have one hair salon and stylist that I’m partial to seeing, although I go to the salon way less often now. I only go to the salon twice a year now.
As for my nails, I don’t paint them very often, but I do it myself at home. You can even be a little fancy and have your own pedicure party from the comfort of your own house.
Saving Money to Travel Tip #3: Dine at Home
I realize in some places around the world, it might actually be cheaper to eat at restaurants. However, it is usually better to buy your own groceries and prepare your own meals at home. Don’t know how to cook? No worries! There are so many free recipes all over the web with very easy to follow instructions. Plus, you’ll learn a new and very important skill in life! Here are a few tips that will help you along your way.
Cook Your Own Meals
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Usually a meal in a restaurant will cost way more than one you prepare at home. You will be able to get way more food out of a home cooked meal, typically with lots of leftovers that can be used for lunch the next day. Or you can freeze the extras for a later date when you don’t feel like cooking.
Bring a Bag Lunch to Work
This doesn’t have to be anything boring or tasteless. You can bring leftovers from last night’s dinner to work with you in a cooler bag. Prepare your lunch meals on a Sunday before the work week if you are the type that works a 9-5 job. You will save lots of money by not purchasing a meal at a takeout restaurant or your workplace’s cafeteria by bringing your own meal.
Shop at Farmer’s Markets.
If you have a local market with fresh produce straight from the farmers, it will always be cheaper than the local grocery store. Plus, you’ll be getting way fresher food, you’ll be supporting a local farmer, and you might be able to ensure that it is organic / non-GMO just by asking the farmer.
We have some markets near us that only allow organic fruits and vegetables, which is fantastic. Unfortunately, these are seasonal and only run from June – October in our neck of the woods.
Make Coffee and Tea at Home
Ordering coffee and tea while you’re out is a really big expense, and it adds up. What might seem like a couple of innocent dollars here and there can equal thousands of dollars a year. And guess what? That’s the cost of a trip!
I recommend investing in a Ninja Coffee Bar. That’s what I use at home. It allows you to brew coffee by the pot, by the cup, it makes iced coffee, it makes a stronger coffee (similar to espresso), and it has a milk frother on the side. Essentially, I can make just about any coffee drink at home.
Another handy device is the Aeropress, if you like to make coffee or Americano drinks. You can also bring it with you when you travel. Here are all of my favorite coffee makers that will brew delicious beverages and save you money.
Switching from a Starbucks latte to a regular coffee with help with saving money to travel, but I totally recommend just making your caffeinated beverages at home and bringing them with you. I did a little bit of the math – if you purchase a Starbucks latte once a day for 5 days a week, that’s around $1500 a year!
I calculated what I would spend on regular coffee if I purchased just one a day – $655 a year! Those could equate to be a flight, meals on a vacation, nights at an apartment or hotel, etc. If you cut out the Starbucks for the year, you could easily pay for a 7-day Caribbean cruise, and likely your flight, too!
Go Vegetarian or Vegan
This one is obviously close to my heart since I was raised vegetarian and have been vegan for the past 13 years. Eating more vegetarian and vegan saves you a lot of money. Usually the most expensive foods are meats, dairy products, and eggs.
If you switch to eating more grains, legumes, beans, and of course, vegetables and fruits, you’ll save money and you’ll be eating healthier in the process! You might end up feeling better and have more energy in general. I found that when I switched from vegetarian to veganism, I had way more energy and didn’t need to sleep as much. Here are all the reasons why I chose to go vegan.
How to Save Money for Travel Tip #4: Your Social Life
It’s possible to have a social life, have lots of fun, and wind up saving money to travel in the process. Who said that you have to spend lots of money to enjoy time with your friends? I think that being in the company of your greatest friends can be some of the best times no matter what you’re doing.
Your friends can take turns being the host/hostess and have a gathering at their place. Sometimes I get together with friends and we’ll play board games or video games, listen to music, eat food, cook or bake food together, have a couple of drinks, watch a movie, or just chat! I swear that playing Cards Against Humanity have produced some of the most hilarious nights together!
We did a lot of “staying in” over the past year and a half during the pandemic. My friends and I played a lot of games over Zoom, too. You can play this travel quiz game that I created over Zoom or in person.
Host a Pot Luck
Have all of your friends bring a meal or a snack to your place and have a pot luck meal together. This is way better than meeting at a restaurant because you get way more food options, and everyone created something special for the day.
Spend Time Outdoors
Often times, going for a walk, hike, or bike ride is completely free of charge, and you’ll get to get some fresh air and exercise! Other times, the only cost is transportation to the site or a small entrance fee.
If you live in Ontario, be sure to check out my other blog, Ontario Hiking, to plan all kinds of hiking trips in Ontario, Canada. Ontario is “Yours to Discover”!
Quit Smoking / Drink Less
I enjoy having a drink now and again, having a glass of wine, or having a pint of beer just as much as anyone else. If you cut back a bit on this, or enjoy some drinks at your friends’ houses rather than the bar, you’ll save some cash. Going out for drinks is expensive.
I’m pretty sure that many of my co-workers wonder how Justin and I are able to always travel or visit new places. But, I see how many people are out every weekend spending hundreds of dollars at the bar, and then they have no money to do anything else. I would much rather save for travel!
Plus, drinking to excess is not healthy. Neither is smoking, so try to quit that habit if you can. I don’t think I need to go into how expensive that habit can be!
Saving Money to Travel Tip #5: Travel Savings Account
I have a couple of separate ways to save towards our holidays. It is most important that you choose a bank that does not charge you any service fees, plus try to get as high of interest as you can. Also, there are many travel credit cards out there that give you points or miles towards travel. Make sure you sign up with one of those ASAP!
Open a Travel Savings Account
I put $100 every two weeks into a separate savings account and let the money accumulate. It is amazing how quickly it adds up!
Travel Fund Jar
In Canada, we have these $2 coins called “Toonies”. Every time I spend money and get my change back (like when I purchase a coffee..haha), I take all of my toonies and throw them into this change jar. On our last Caribbean cruise, I had so many toonies that it translated into all of my spending money for the trip! There are even adorable travel fund jars to make saving even more fun.
Do Additional Work
If you’re able to, do some extra freelance work on the side, work a little bit of overtime at your job, or get a second job to save towards your vacations. You can put all of this money straight into your travel savings account.
Being a full time travel blogger is more than a full time job for me (helloooo 16 hour days!). But, you might find that you have some free time and can spend a couple of hours a night doing some freelance work from home for a little bit of extra cash.
Alright gang, I hope that you’ve collected some great ideas from these past two articles about saving money to travel. I hope you’re able to visit all the places of your dreams!