When I decided I wanted to travel, I knew two things: one, that I was going to have to do some serious saving, and two, I was going to have to do it fast. My parents do NOT fund my travels – I planned it and saved for it on my own. This is everything I did to save money for travel.
HOW TO SAVE MONEY FOr TRAVEL
save money for travel: daily expenses
I thought of every possible way I could save money for travel – I moved back home. I cooked at home, hardly ever going out to eat. I ate what I had at home instead of satisfying cravings of ice cream and junk food. I’m a vegan, so I saved money by eating a plant- and grain-heavy diet.
I use a refillable water bottle so I never have to buy water. I brought lunch to work, so I wouldn’t be tempted to eat out. I stopped drinking expensive juices and fancy vegan food; instead I ate only whole foods (I was focused – you have to be to save money to travel).
I was working in the wine industry and got bottles that were not sellable – I drank those with friends instead of going out to trendy bars. I spent my weekends doing free activities, like hiking or going for walks.
I made black coffee at home or at work instead of going to Starbucks. I wore clothes I already had instead of buying new ones. I would meet friends at the park on Sunday mornings instead of brunch. I started going on hikes closer to home instead of driving far away. I would ride my bike when I could instead of driving. I carpooled to work.
save money to travel: recurring expenses
I quit my gym membership. I quit my cell phone plan and ran off wifi only. I stopped upgrading my phone. I downgraded my car insurance. I sold stuff I didn’t use anymore. Eventually I even sold my car – this eliminated gas, car insurance, and maintenance. I started riding my bike to the library instead of buying new books and magazines.
save money for travel: on the road
I saved money on my travels by travel hacking – I buy my plane tickets with airline miles, and I almost always make my own meals. I eat a lot of pb&j, and a lot of local food (when it’s inexpensive). I couch surfed in Europe, which gave me access to kitchens and free tour guides (who became wonderful friends). I stayed in hostels or airbnbs instead of hotels in Central America.
I walk instead of taking the bus. I lay out at the beach instead of going on expensive tours (though I do go on tours if I really want to – just not expensive ones). I bring snacks from the grocery store for planes instead of buying expensive airport food. I don’t go out at night – instead I read, work, or watch Netflix.
I’ve lived in some countries on less than $30 a day!
All of these things may seem little, but when you add them up, they can create a massive difference. For some, these little savings could add up to a nice trip a couple times a year. For me, each little savings means a longer trip around the world – and living the life I used to only dream of.