How to Save Money for Travel: The Experts’ Top Tips for Living a Life of Travel (Part 1)

How to Save Money for Travel: An Expert's Guide with Tips and Advice (Part 1)

How do you travel so much?

Updated: July 2019

I hear 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.” 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, hostel, or Airbnb. 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.

Want to travel more?

Need more travel in your life? In this special free bonus content, we reveal our top tips and personal advice to living a life of travel.

How to Save Money for Travel

How to Save Money for a Trip

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.

How to Save Money for Travel: The Experts' Top Tips for Living a Life of Travel (Part 1)

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 Tips

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: 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. You can also list your clothing on commission-based platform, Poshmark, which calls itself “the largest social marketplace for fashion.” Here are some other great ways to sell your clothes online.
  • 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.
  • Donations: 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 #1: Sell Your Stuff

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.

Save Money for Travel Tip #2:  Live Minimally

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 Up 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.
  • Gym Membership: 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 this guide about how to exercise more 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.

How to Save Money for a Trip

Let’s hear from fellow travel bloggers and experts about how they save money for a trip. How much money do you need to travel? What are the best ways to save money for a trip? Here’s some sound advice from the pros.

Kristin of Be My Travel Muse

Kristin of Be My Travel Muse

Kristin says: Simplify your life. What I mean by that is reduce the bills. Move home if you can (I know it sucks but it’s only temporary), stop buying anything not essential and if you make any purchases, promise yourself they must only be related to your upcoming trip. Keep a log of every penny you save to make the sacrifices more gratifying.

Sam & Zab of Indefinite Adventure

Sam & Zab of Indefinite Adventure

Sam says: First, research how much things you’ll want to do on your trip roughly cost. Then every time you spend money while you’re saving for your trip, think about what the amount you’re spending could buy you in the place you want to travel. Say you’re planning a trip to Bolivia, and then imagine you go out for dinner in your home town and spend $40 on yourself. That could pay for two nights accommodation in a private room with your own bathroom in a basic but clean hostel in many parts of Bolivia.

And that $5 coffee you buy on your way to work every day? You wouldn’t be stretching yourself to buy a two course lunch with a drink for two people in Bolivia for that. Suddenly, with the aim of saving for your trip, your money holds an entirely new value, and you’ll find yourself wanting to spend less on unnecessary things at home in order to be able to afford more on your trip.

Taylor of World Trippin It

Taylor of World Trippin It

Taylor says:  Ask yourself do you “want” or “need” whatever you’re about to spend your money on. If the answer is that you want it, you should probably not buy it. Most people spend their money on useless things that they’ll probably only use a few times. Secondly, pay of your necessary bills (car, rent, credit cards, etc.) and if you have money left over, save 70% of it and use the other 30% for play money. Usually, this would give me enough to go out with friends three or four times a month.

Dale & Franca of Slow Vegan Travel

Dale & Franca of Slow Vegan Travel

Dale says: If it wasn’t for one question there’s no way we could have pushed our years travel budget to reach our two year travelersary and we asked it of ourselves every day before we travelled, and that was –  ‘Do We Really Need This?’. It could be applied to buying new clothes, deciding which quality of coffee to buy on our shopping list to the size of the apartment we were renting. We found that by holding out on clothes and other such material purchases paired with cutting down our coffee intake and downgrading our apartment for a one bedroom place above a shop saved us hundreds per month, not to mention the money saved on local taxes for a smaller property.

Agness and Cez of eTramping

Agness and Cez of eTramping

Agness says: If you read our blog on eTramping.com, you should already know that we’re not rich people and we have been travelling the world with a tight budget of $25 a day. Let me tell you that saving money is a slog, but you can do it if you set your mind to it. Yes, that’s right – you have to set your dreams first and make saving for future travels your priority. You should never forget why you are doing this and let your friends and family members remind you that every single day.

If you are tempted to spend money on drinks and cocktails on Saturday evening, picture yourself on a beautiful beach somewhere in Thailand drinking some fresh coconut juice and getting a lovely tan while chatting with fellow travelers. If you feel like buying another pair of shoes or trousers, imagine yourself hiking the stunning Zhangjiajie Mountains in China and I bet you’ll leave the shop immediately!

I always put a picture on my wall, or a map with pins and strings for constant re-validation. I try to reduce my expenditure and simplify my life because every single cent matters when you are on the road. This way I was able to save up to $18.000 a year teaching English in China while travelling. If I could do it, you can this is as well!

Audrey of That Back Packer

Audrey of That Back Packer

Audrey says: One of my biggest tips for saving when you travel is to watch where you eat! Aside from transportation and accommodations, meals are one of the biggest travel expenses – especially if you like to eat more than 3 times a day like I do. While it can be easy to think, “Oh, I’m on vacation. I can eat wherever I want”, this attitude will put a pretty big dent in your travel budget.

When you’re overseas, restaurants that specialize in Western food tend to be pricier because they’re trying to draw in a foreign clientele. However, if you opt for smaller establishments specializing in local cuisine, you’ll likely find that the prices are much lower since they target a local crowd. Also, don’t be afraid to try eating out in food markets! It’s a great way to become better acquainted with local dishes while also saving your hard earned money, which in turn will help you travel longer.

Have we inspired you to save money for travel? Maybe there are some things you can do without in order to travel more often. If you’re seeking more ways to save money for travel, check out even more ways in the second part of this series!

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What are your favorite ways to save money for travel?

38 Responses

  1. Bron leeks
    | Reply

    Loved reading all these great ideas and tips. I dream about being full time adventurers with limited stuff especially when I look around my house!

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      Taking small steps can help you save towards even just a small vacation! :) Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Agness
    | Reply

    That was truly a great idea for the collaborative post. Thanks for having me here. I totally agree with everyone – saving isn’t easy, but if you really want to travel the world, you must make some sacrifices and live minimally.

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      Thank you again for contributing! You guys are pros at living minimally and your tips were very helpful!

  3. Dale_anglo
    | Reply

    Thanks so much you two for allowing us to leave our tip along with so many other great ideas and tips on saving.

    I love Agness’ tip, that if you change your mindset a little, you’ll soon stop yourself spending.all of your savings :)

  4. Super tips!! When we did out 9 months abroad, I was SHOCKED at how much money I saved just by using the coffee machine in my work office instead of the $4.50 I spent 3 times a day in the cafe!! BIG THANKS for linking up with us for #SundayTraveler – hope to see you again next week!!

    • ElenasTravelgram
      | Reply

      Yeah, buying coffee at stalls or small cafes is evil! I have a thermocup and always bring my coffee along to work to drink on the go :)

      Fantastic tips! One of the things that worked for me, was to cut down my social life and drinking evenings. Giving up parting and having fancy Friday cocktails allowed be to save pretty much!

      • Justin and Lauren
        | Reply

        I really need to stop buying so much coffee when I go out! I think I will save so much money. That’s the one thing I need to do more :)

  5. Dave
    | Reply

    Excellent set of tips from this group. I agree with Audrey’s suggestion about eating locally on many levels, especially for the unforgettable experiences it can bring about.

  6. Corinne Vail
    | Reply

    These are all fantastic tips…I agree that Western restaurants are going to be pricey!

  7. The Crowded Planet
    | Reply

    Great tips. We do most of these ourselves, and we can’t help but agree. Thanks for sharing, really inspirational!

  8. Taylor
    | Reply

    awesome tips and followed most of them before I left for my trip… the only thing i didn’t do was sell my stuff… between college and work and the fact i was leaving shortly after gave me no time for selling things! Although, I wish I did, wonder how much extra $$$ i’d have now?? :D

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      Maybe you can sell your things when you return to build up a little bit of extra cash!

  9. Always great to read more money saving tips, we do a lot of the day to day tips already. I don’t think I’ve paid for cable or TV in 10 years!

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      I’m already used to having no cable…we’ve only been without it for less than a week now, and I like not having that constant noise in the background!

  10. Karyn @ Not Done Travelling
    | Reply

    I definitely would agree that it’s helpful to move back in with your parents. Worst case scenario, you’ll end up paying less than you ever would on rent or a mortgage. Best case scenario, your parents will be really supportive and will do whatever they can to cover you for stuff and help you save up.

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      That one would be really tough for me – I don’t know if I would be able to do that – but if I were in a situation where I wanted to travel around the world, I would definitely consider it!

  11. FrankAboutCroatia
    | Reply

    Great tips! Love so much Babuta’s Zen Habits, and excited to find it mentioned here :)

  12. So many great tips! There are so many ways to save money if you just look for it. I should get on selling some of my stuff. I have too much of it anyways, but it seems like so much work. Let me know how your experience on Trend Trunk goes. Sounds promising.

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      It is a lot of work, but you’ll feel better once you get rid of a few things and clear up the clutter! I haven’t started on trend trunk yet, but I’ll let you know when I do!

  13. Stacey
    | Reply

    I love that you got all of these tips from everyone and put it together into one great post! Cheers for that! :)

  14. These are all great tips and such a resource no matter what type of traveler you are. We have a vacation fund and it takes awhile to save up for a family of four. We try to follow some of these but I really should find time to sell things online or have a garage sale one of these days. Looking forward to Part 2.

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      Thank you! Ya, you should try having a little yard sale or sell a few things online, it might take a little bit of time but it’ll be worth it to clear out the clutter!

  15. These are wonderful tips, and I like that they are from a variety of sources. One of my suggestions would be to move to a country where the cost of living is lower. In Penang,Malaysia, you can live comfortably on US$2000 a month. Just heading to the heritage area downtown and walking around seems like an exploration vacation to me because it’s so different than my home country. It’s a cheap travel base for exploring SE Asia, too with budget airlines and an abundance of low cost lodging and food. I’m looking forward to the rest of your suggestions.

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      That’s a great suggestion! I know some areas are cheaper to live than others, and I think that if you can relocate to an area like that, it would be such an amazing experience!

  16. Lynda
    | Reply

    Great tips, I do a couple of them myself, especially a few months out from a super big trip!

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      Yes, once the trip starts coming up, it’s great to have a bit of extra savings for it!

  17. Isabel
    | Reply

    These are some great tips you share. Travelling and living abroad really teaches you a lot about what you really need. As I get older, and with each move, I just want to get rid of more stuff, and simplify life as much as possible.

    You know, you can stay fit without attending a gym. I do yoga and pilates-type exercises at home, and take long walks and bike trips!

    • Definitely! I’ve done yoga and pilates from home and I’m a big fan of bike riding and long walks! Those are all great suggestions.

  18. Boyce
    | Reply

    2004. The very best deer velvet extract has been found by our laboratory and imported it from New Zealand.

  19. skateaustralia.org.au
    | Reply

    Very descriptive blog, I liked that bit.
    Wiill there be a part 2?

  20. Yes, having money for travel is just a matter of priorities. Do you really need those new pants, and a pair of shoes, if that could get you a night at a decent place in a city you always dreamed of visiting?

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