Do you want to travel but you struggle to save for that big trip? As someone who has never been good at saving, I have had to find simple ways to save my money to fund my travel desires. In this post, I share my expert Money saving tips on how to save money for travel. This guide is especially for all you travelers who suck at saving money.
I am no money saving expert, quite the contrary! Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you me and saving money are far from friends. However, over the past few years, my money spending priorities have changed. Feeding my addiction to travel has far outweighed my shoe and handbag addictions, and gone is my need to go out partying every weekend. Instead, my weekend hangovers have been replaced with weekends spent searching Skyscanner for my next cheap flight to explore a new place.
So I wanted to share some of my top tips to change your spending habits to help you afford your travel ambitions!
Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that you need to be prepared for anything! Travel insurance has always been high my list of things to get before I travel but now more than ever its at the top of my list.
I’m pretty sure we have all had travel plans messed up because of COVID and not all insurers covered this. So when looking for travel insurance it’s important to check it covers travel disruption due to COVID-19, Hey Mondo, Passport Nomads, Safety Wing, and Travel Insurance Master all provide cover for this.
Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single trip cover, annual multi trip cover, and long term travel cover. You even have the option to start the cover when you are already on your trip, although you won’t be covered for the first 72 hours. For me my favourite feature is their app which offers you a 24/7 Dr chat and the ability to file a claim direct in the app.
Passport Nomads provides the most comprehensive cover for Digital Nomads. The game changer with them is that you have a red card and if you find yourself in need of medical care you just contact them and they will pre load your card with the funds to cover your treatment, meaning you won’t need to pay out of pocket and then put in a claim later.
Safety Wing is great value with monthly cover starting at $39. It’s super easy to use and it just renews each month. They have an excess of $250 and it’s simple to make a claim through their website. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy and I like that it renews on a monthly basis, so I don’t have to pay out a big lump sum up front.
I also use Travel Insurance Master for some short vacation type trips.
If you are doing shorter trips or an extended backpacking trip then Hey Mondo or Travel Insurance Master are the best option. If you are a digital nomad or planning travel of at least 6 months then go for Passport Nomads or SafetyWing.
1. Get a moneybox
Honestly, do it. Not one that you can dip into to dig out change for the bus. Get one that you have to smash to get into it! I save £2 coins only and it holds over £1000 when full. If you are planning an adventure next summer starts a year in advance and you have your spending money sorted! You can also get the tin ones in most £1 shops. You can also buy business envelopes and then save and seal those envelopes. The advantage of envelopes is that you can write on them, maybe your financial goal or the amount stored.
2. Don’t party so hard
Being in my 30’s this was pretty easy as I no longer feel the need to spend my weekends out clubbing. I’m no saint if it’s a special occasion I’ll always be there, but I limit my spending money and consider not drinking as that’s an instant way of watching what I spend. Plus I’d rather be sipping cocktails by the pool somewhere hot than downing pints around the local…
3. Cut down on monthly outgoings.
Use comparison websites to check if you could save money on household bills, ask yourself if you really need your expensive sky TV bundle or if you are really using your Netflix account. If the answer is no, then get rid of it. Doing this alone I saved over $50 a month…that’s enough for a cheap flight to Europe from the UK.
You can also take a look at the places where you are losing money. For example, can you find a better deal on your energy bills by switching providers? Or maybe you can see if refinancing your student loans qualifies you for improved interest rates. Both of these things are super simple ways of saving money without having to cut back on anything.
4. Cut down on clothes.
I hardly spend any money on clothes anymore and when I do I find myself checking their practicality. What am I going to wear this for? Do I really need it? If I don’t I put it back. It’s a personal choice but right now I’d rather be saving for my adventures than being dressed head to toe in designer clothing. I’m also a big fan of Shein, which offers super nice clothing for a low price.
That said if I have a special occasion I need something for I will first search eBay and spend a bit more on a designer dress I know that I can sell on once I’ve worn it. In these days of Facebook and Instagram when no one wants their picture taken in the same outfit, I’d much rather get something a bit more expensive than I can easily sell after I’ve worn it. Or failing that just raid your friend’s wardrobe!
5. Start cooking and bring your lunch to work
This is personally the one thing I find the most difficult to follow! Mostly because of my hectic lifestyle and addiction to caffeinated drinks to get me through life. But it’s also a super easy way to save money.
Shopping daily for what you need will save you from throwing out unused food and preparing your lunch for work will stop you overspending on lunch. Buy yourself a hot drink travel mug and resist the urge to pay a daily visit to Starbucks or Costa. If you really can’t help yourself then at least pick up a loyalty card so you can get some freebies.
6. Start collecting points!
In the UK it’s not easy to get lots of Air Miles from credit cards but there are still ways. Sign yourself up for accounts with all the airlines who offer points schemes. I have a nectar card which you can use to pay for flights with Easy Jet, My Tesco Clubcard points automatically get converted into Virgin Miles, I have a BA miles account as I use them a lot for international flights and I also have accounts with Delta and Miles and More. It all adds up and you can use your points for discounted or free flights. I always keep an eye out for offers on extra points and flash sales. You can also check out WayAWay where you could save up to 5% for flights and 10% for hotels.
7. Give your money to someone else.
If you, like me, have the breaking strain of a soggy Kit Kat then this is a must. Set up a standing order to someone trustworthy (I send money each month to my Dad) for safe keeping. Give them strict instructions to only hand over the money under certain circumstances. This makes it that much more inaccessible and ensures that you must have a valid reason to dip into it.
8. My last piece of advice is to just book the flight!
Even if it means you will be a bit short that month there is no greater incentive than actually having something to look forward to. It gives you the strength to turn down the invitation to the cinema, put the shoes back on the shelf and eat that homemade salad for lunch.
The only other way to make a big saving on travel is travel hacking. I haven’t included that in the post because I’m from the UK and it’s not something available to us Brits (sad face). But if you are from the US take a read of this guide to save money for travel by using your credit cards.
I hope some of these hints and tips can help inspire you to start saving for your travels and do make sure you check out my other posts in this series on Booking your flights, Accommodation, and Planning your trip.
I’d love to know what you think, and any other top tips you have. Please leave me a comment below!
Now if you are a bit of a pro already, or maybe I’ve whet your appetite for saving? If so here are 101 ways to save to take it to the next level!
Saturday 7th of January 2017
Wonderful tips. I agree absolutely and actually advise these tips to those of my friends who say they can't afford to travel because they don't have the money for it
Monday 23rd of January 2017
Thank you so much :-)
Thursday 29th of December 2016
I save a TON of money (over 35% of my income) every year doing stuff like this. I'll admit I've never been much of a spender so it's been very easy for me. I don't have cable, I eat vegetarian multiple days a week, cook all of my own meals, don't go to bars, and drive a car that's 10 years old. It buys me some serious freedom to do what I want when I want. The best part is, once you're in the habit it doesn't feel like a sacrifice at all! I've even got investment accounts specifically for travel goals. This is more of a long term thing - but I never want the words "I can't afford to travel" to come out of my mouth! thanks for sharing!
Wednesday 28th of December 2016
What great tips! It can be so hard to make sure you have enough saved for a trip!
Thursday 29th of December 2016
Thank you Caitlin really appreciate it :-)
Wednesday 28th of December 2016
Love this! Saying how it is. It takes a lot of hard work and patients to save enough for travel!! Well done. X
Thursday 29th of December 2016
Thank you Radha! I've never been someone who finds saving easy but its worth it :)