So, you want to travel more? But, you feel like you don’t have the money to take off on a trip halfway across the world? I want you to think about your dream holiday. It’s that one place that you’ve always wanted to visit. It’s that destination where you always say, “Someday, I’ll go there.” If you budget, save, and spend your money on the right things, “someday” could easily be today. I’m going to give you helpful tips when it comes to saving money for travel. I’ve also enlisted the help of some travel experts to lend their own personal advice. You’ll be jetting off in no time!
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This is a two part series. If you haven’t read the first part yet, you should head straight to that blog post to read the first set of valuable information. In part one, I provided two valuable ways to save money every day, and a group of experts detailed how to budget and save money. Let’s start with tip #3!
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 food at home and eat at less restaurants. 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 with you. 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 your coffee / 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/Vegan. This one is obviously close to my heart since I was raised vegetarian and have been vegan for the past ten 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.
Saving Money to 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.
- Stay In. 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!
- 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.
- 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!