One of the questions I get asked the most is “how is it possible for you to just go and travel for months at a time?” “How do you have the money?” “How do you SAVE the money?” Well, it’s easier than you might think! Here are some of my tips on budget for travel WHILE YOU ARE STILL AT HOME.
Its always possible to travel and to save for travel. A job is just a job, there will be another. Friends, if they are good ones, will still be your friend when you get home. They will support and be excited for your new adventure (maybe even meetup with you along the way!). We, as humans, tend to form attachments to things and stuff, and therefore have a hard time leaving an apartment or parting with ‘things’ ( I totally understand this! It’s hard to break ties with our material possessions). These are weights that will prevent anyone from long term travel. Sell your things. Buy new ones when you return. give up your apartment OR sublet it. Believe me, when you are traveling it will be nice to not have the worry of an apartment/rent back at home. If you have pets, line up a trust worthy family member or friend willing to take them in for awhile OR check out how you could, potentially, take your furry friend with you!
Have a Goal In Mind
Sit down and map out how far in the future you plan to travel; a year, 3 months, 6 months etc. Once you have done that, you know exactly how much time you have to save the desired amount of money.
Next, decide on a general destination for your travel. For example, Europe and South East Asia, or if it’s a smaller trip maybe just a specific country (i.e: Thailand). Then do your research to see about how much you plan on spending. Price out flights, accommodations, how much a typical meal costs, general idea of activities (ie: if you want to get your scuba diving license in, say, Thailand, you would have to budget differently for that as it is an added expense or if you want to do a hot air balloon ride in Myanmar). This way you know how much to budget in your allotted time period.
Don’t Spend Excessive Money If Trying to Budget for Travel
This seems like a given, however, it’s harder than most think. You may have to forego that weekend trip with the girls (or guys!), or going out on a random Saturday night (hey, unless you are VERY disciplined and can go out without spending any money). That really cute purse you HAVE TO HAVE… maybe you don’t. Always keep in the back of your mind that you are passing up these things in order to save for travel, something that in the long run will do more for your life than any material thing will.
Utilize Savings Apps
There are so many applications out there now that are all focused on helping you save money. I’ve personally used an app called Albert. and it saved me almost $500 USD in just under 3 months and I didn’t even notice it was taking money from my account. It calculates how much it can take from a specified account based on how much you have in there and how much you spend. This is not the only financial app of its kind out there. There are others that round up your purchases and put the excess into another account. I LOVE this idea and think it’s such an easy way to give yourself some extra spending money for travel!
Make Budget for Travel Savings Jars
It may seem like an old school approach, but simply making jars with travel goals that you can put money into may inspire you to save more! Whenever you get change or have some spare cash, drop it into the jar/s.
Get creative with it too! decorate each of the jars to keep yourself motivated. You can label them what ever you may like, but I try to keep it simple; flights, food/drink, activities, accommodation. All the things you will be spending money on while traveling.
*Since having cash around is almost a thing of the past (unless you are in the service industry), this would also work if you opened up another bank account. That way each time you got paid or received any money you could quickly transfer it into your “travel account” where it would stay, untouched.*
Book Cheaper Accommodations
Although those 5 star resorts are incredible and seem like the ideal location to stay, they aren’t always wallet friendly for the budget savvy traveler.
The best option is to stay in hostels, homestays, use couchsurfing (free), or smaller hotels. They are all usually in the same general area as the big resorts, however they come at a fraction of the price. Many people are adverse to hostels because most of the time you are sharing a room with several other people BUT I’m here to tell you that is not always the case! Most hostels have private rooms nowadays and it makes it a perfect place to stay on budget yet still be comfortable (and social).
Homestays are when a local family welcome you into their home. These are more popular in the South East Asian countries and South America, and are a great way to be immersed in the culture and lifestyle of a local family. They share meals, stories and their home with you. It’s a unique experience I try to take advantage of whenever possible.