There’s no doubt about it, travelling isn’t cheap. Yes you can stay in budget accommodation, eat local street food instead of dining at swanky restaurants, and take group tours rather than frivolous private excursions. Yet there are still the expensive flight tickets, transport costs, and unexpected expenses to consider. No matter how cheap you think a trip is going to be, it always ends up costing you more.
Which is why it’s so important to make sure you save up enough for your trip well in advance. You really don’t need to be super rich, just diligent. And these few handy tips will help you get the ball rolling so you’ll be sunning yourself on that idyllic Thai beach before you know it.
Change Your Lifestyle
One of the best ways to save money to put into your travelling pot is to change the way you live your day to day life. Set up a personal monthly budget and stick to it. Put that expensive bottle of wine back on the supermarket shelf and choose a cheaper one. Or indeed consider, do you really need that bottle of wine at all? Can you make do with something else that costs a fraction of the price?
Cut out the takeaways and the cups of coffee you like grabbing on the way to work. You’ll be amazed at how quickly the money saved will start accumulating. The same goes for lunches out. Even if it’s just a shop-bought sandwich you’ll be starting to save a considerable amount over several months.
Also take a long hard look at how much you spend on entertainment. Can you make do without those monthly movie channel and music subscriptions? Or maybe you can swap the gym for things like running and home exercise sessions that won’t cost you a penny?
Look at Existing Debts
This one is for those who are serious about travel. You know, people who want to explore for longer periods of time, or who want to prioritise a blow-out holiday of a lifetime over everything else. It’s exactly what we do, as we feel travel is far more important to us than material things, so long as we know we have a stable home base to return to.
The first thing to do is to consider your debt situation. If you have multiple 0% credit cards, have a look into whether you can consolidate the debt onto fewer cards, which could mean repaying less each month. If you go down this route, always make sure you are aware of the card terms, and the date when the 0% offer ends, to make sure you don’t end up in financial pickle at the end of it.
Then think about your housing costs. If you’re renting, could you move somewhere cheaper? And if you’re a home owner with a mortgage, consider taking in a lodger to make an extra bit of cash. For some travellers it might make sense to rent out your house if you’re going away for an extended period of time, just ensure that your current mortgage and housing terms permit this.
Speaking of mortgages, another way to save money for travel is to refinance at a lower rate of interest, which can be a great idea if your current mortgage term is coming to an end. Just be wary of any penalty payments if you end your current agreement early. This is a big step to take, so use an online mortgage refinancing calculator to work out if this is a viable, and sensible option for your situation. Another idea is to take a mortgage holiday, which is something we’ve done in the past to help pay for some impromptu trips. So long as you do your sums right, and can be confident that you will be able to afford to restart the payments on your return, this could be a really good short term savings option to allow you to jet off on your dream holiday.
Keep an Eye on Your Spending
Sometimes it’s easy to forget about the financial side of life, so long as the cash machine dispenses notes whenever you need them, and the bills get paid each month. But doing this means that expenses can build up without you noticing, and suddenly you’re faced with a rather bleak looking bank statement that puts all your saving plans on a back burner.
The best way to keep on top of things is to regularly check your bank balance and transactions, at least weekly so you always know where you’re at. One of the easiest ways to manage your money is to download your bank’s app so you can quickly check and always have the necessary information with you. This will also quickly give you the heads up if there has been any fraudulent activity on your account, so you can act sooner and potentially save money and a lot of stress.
Increase Your Income
This one is obvious, but you might not realise just how easy it is to earn a bit of ‘pocket money’ on the side of your every day job. You could do anything from washing cars and offering ironing services to locals in your home town, to working in a bar a couple of evenings a week or running errands for elderly neighbours. Also think about whether your skill set translates to short-term online jobs like copywriting or web design. You could even find some simple data entry roles, or take paid online surveys if time is tight.
It might feel like hard work, juggling jobs and working all hours of the day, but having a clear travel goal firmly in sight will make it a lot easier. And if it gets too much you can always cut back again, and try something different. The joy of having an ad-hoc online job also means you can do it from anywhere in the world, so you might be able to continue working whilst travelling to keep the pennies topped up. which means you can stay away for longer!
What are your top tips for saving money to travel? Do share them in the comments below.