Budget Travel

8 Easy Ways to Save Money to Travel the World

How to Save Money for Travel? 

Having enough money to travel around the world may seem ambitious or impossible, but the truth is it often just comes down to choices. Trust us, if you set up a plan and commit to achieving your goal, there’s no reason you won’t be traveling across the globe within a few months.

Also, adopting habits to save money often goes hand in hand with a greener lifestyle. Yes, you got that right: saving money for a trip will also make you a better person.

To stay motivated, keep your project top of mind. Hang a picture of your dream destination on the wall or put up a map with your itinerary. Having these reminders close by will help keep you focused and committed to your savings goal, increasing your chances of success.

To help you kick off your project, we’ve researched the eight best ways to save money for travel. Read on… And start saving for your big adventure!

Sample budget: estimate your savings over 8 months!

To give you an idea, here’s what your savings budget could look like.

 Savings per weekTotal savings over 8-month period (35 weeks)

Tip 1: Taking public transit
Tip 2:
Ditching cable for Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime
Tip 3: Cooking and eating from scratch$100$3,500
Tip 4: Drinking at home
Tip 5: Researching free activities
Tip 6: Shop second hand & Sell your unused stuff
Tip 7: Rent out your couch or spare bedroom
Tip 8: No more long distance calls
Total savings
*These figures are based on someone with a medium-income and no children. It is to be taken as an example and should be modified to fit your needs. Resources available on The Balance and Mint.com.

How much money to travel?

The first thing to do is to figure out how much money you need for your trip. Let’s say you’re planning to travel for 6 months. The rule of thumb is you need approximately $1500 per month on the road. So, you’ll need to plan to save approximately $9000 to travel and enjoy a stress-free trip.

1. Skip the Car

If you live in a city where it’s possible to get around by public transit, owning a car is an unnecessary expense. Not only will you be saving precious dollars by getting around with alternate transportation, but you’ll also be doing a favour to the planet.

Save by Opting for Public Transit

Instead of paying for gas and insurance, take the bus, train, or tram… You’ll save yourself hundreds of dollars every month – not to mention that you can usually benefit from discounted rates if you’re a student.

Jump-start Your Savings by Selling Your Car

If you’ve already got a car, look at it this way: selling a vehicle you own is a quick way to inject a few thousand dollars into your travel fund. And, once that’s checked off your list, you’ll find apps like Transit App super handy for navigating around a city without a car.

Share & Save

Other alternatives to having a car of your own include bike-sharing programs and car-share companies for those occasions when you do need a set of wheels. Here’s our guide to getting around in your day-to-day life without spending all your cash on a vehicle.

2. Reconsider Your Monthly Expenses

Recurring monthly expenses have a way of piling up and can have a surprising impact on our savings budget. Here are a few items to consider.

Cheaper Alternatives for Entertainment

Step one: Cable. Online streaming services have made expensive cable TV plans nearly obsolete. Opting for services like Netflix or Hulu can save you a bundle, while still letting you satisfy your TV and movie cravings with thousands of on-demand titles. 

If you’re a bookworm, think about renting books at the local library or even purchasing an E-Reader. There are a vast number of free ebooks – and if that’s not enough, you can opt for a monthly subscription. And on the bright side, an e-reader will come in handy to keep your suitcase light when you’re traveling the world!

Need vs. Want

A smart way to tackle your budget planning is to save your receipts for all your purchases – big or small, and browse through your bank statements for a full month. Create an excel document and list all your expenses. Next to each item, write “need” or “want”. Once you’re done – extract the list of “wants” and look at the total. See how much you could be saving for travel?

Sweet Alternatives to Costly Habits

Look at your other monthly bills and see what you can cut down. Can you cancel your gym membership and exercise outside or at home instead? Can you stop smoking? Can you forgo that double chaï super skim pumpkin latte on your way to work every morning?

The Bare Essentials

If you’re a student, are there discounts for your phone or Internet bill you’re not taking advantage of? Do you actually need the monthly plan you opted for, or could you choose a cheaper plan? The savings may be small, but trust us – they add up quickly.

Saving money & energy

Several eco-friendly habits can also help reduce your bills, for example: 

  • Wearing a sweater in the house instead of cranking the heat;
  • Turning on your water heater during off-peak hours;
  • Taking shorter showers;
  • Shutting off the lights when you walk out of a room.

3. Use What’s in Your Fridge

Food is the culprit for a large part of your monthly spending budget. Without compromising on the pleasure of eating well, you can make significant savings by planning ahead and eating in more.

No more takeout! 

Constantly ordering food or going out for dinner with friends can add up quickly. But purchasing ready-to-eat meals will also set you back! You may be surprised by how much you’ll save by cooking your own meals—on average $36.75 a week. You don’t even need to go grocery shopping—check out SuperCook to find recipes based on the ingredients in your fridge.

Plan ahead

Having a figure in mind before you head out to buy some groceries will help you save. For instance, if you plan to spend a maximum of $40 per week on food, you’ll reduce last-minute grabs and have less tendency to splurge. Believe us – it will be much easier to stick to your budget if you know how much you’re willing to spend.

Bulk shopping

When you head to the grocery store to stock up on food, look for places that offer bulk shopping. Not only do they have organic food, but you can also save by buying in bulk as you don’t pay for the extra packaging. What’s more, you can purchase just enough for your needs, rather than purchasing huge quantities that will simply go to waste. And yes – this tip’s also a key to a greener lifestyle! All you need are a few cloth bags to carry your goods.

4. Pre-Drink Before Going Out

It’s no secret that bars and nightclubs tend to serve alcohol at absurdly inflated prices. For instance, if you drink one bottle of wine over the weekend, a restaurant will set you back some $30, while drinking the same bottle from home will reduce your budget to a mere $10. You will definitely get a lot more for your money at a liquor store, so get a buzz going before leaving home to save on drinking while you’re out. You can even stir up some of your own quick and easy cocktails.

5. Find Cheap Things to Do

From going on a hike to hanging out at the beach or city park, you may be surprised by how many things you can do for free with your friends. Like hosting a game night, for example. If you’re itching to go out, check out Eventful, which can help you find free or cheap events in your city.

6. Swap Clothes & Sell Your Stuff

Changing the way you shop can have a huge impact on your savings and can even help you prepare for your trip!

Resist impulse shopping

A word of caution: don’t get dragged into the urgency of a good sale. Sure a new pair of shoes is tempting at 50% off, but do you really need them? Remember: you’re not really saving by buying something at a discounted price if you could have saved the full price by not purchasing it at all!

Shop second hand

Seeking out vintage and bargain fashion finds can save you money, while not forcing you to compromise on style. Plus, it’s a sustainable way to consume. Clothing swaps with friends are another great excuse to get everyone together and score some new threads without spending a dime. You can find cheap used goods, such as bikes and furniture, on Craigslist or Kijiji. Awesome apps such as Vinted allow you to shop for clothes and shoes from home and get your items delivered. Buying secondhand will allow you to save up to 75% on what you need and is also a great zero-waste hack. Of course, you can also use these sites to sell your own stuff and collect some extra cash!

Adopt minimalism

Saving up to travel around the world might inspire you to think about de-cluttering. Not only is it a great way to earn a few extra dollars (by selling unwanted items), it’s also a fantastic way to prepare for your trip. Having less will make it that much easier to pack and leave without regretting leaving anything behind. And we bet you’ll be thankful to have only a backpack to carry around once you’re on the road!

7. Revisit your living arrangements

Rent represents up to 30% of your monthly budget. But you can reduce this percentage by making new living arrangements or by finding creative ways to earn extra money. Here’s how!

Live at home

As unappealing as this may sound, the truth is that living with your parents is the ultimate money saver. Taking advantage of not having to pay for rent, food, or utilities for a certain amount of time, within reason, is actually a very smart move. Not only will you limit your necessary ongoing expenses to a bare minimum, but you also won’t have to worry about paying home bills while you’re away.

Get a roommate

Moving back in with your folks may not be an option but don’t despair, there are other ways to save money. One easy way is to get a roommate and split your expenses by half!

Rent out your couch or spare bedroom

If you’re a lone wolf, renting out your couch or spare room is definitely something to consider! You can even rent out your apartment and crash on a friend’s couch every once and then…

8. Arm Yourself With Apps

Budgeting apps like Mint can help you manage all of your saving efforts in one place. Let go of that old saving jar and try setting up a Digit account, which periodically sets aside a few dollars from your checking account—you won’t even notice, and it adds up quicker than you think.

Let’s Recap…

Being able to afford to travel may mean having to make a few sacrifices, but it’s well worth it in the end. Like everything, changing your lifestyle and spending habits will take some getting adjusted to and you may have some setbacks. But if you follow our eight easy tips and stay focused, you’ll soon be on your way to travel around the world! And in the process of saving money for your trip, you’ll discover the great perks that come from adopting a frugal and eco-friendly lifestyle.

Busbud’s 8 Tips on How to Money on Travel

  • Skip the Car
  • Reconsider Your Monthly Expenses
  • Use What’s in Your Fridge
  • Pre-Drink Before Going Out
  • Find Cheap Things to Do
  • Swap Clothes & Sell Your Stuff
  • Revisit your living arrangements
  • Arm Yourself With Apps

And then?

Once you reach your savings goal, remember that often, the cheapest way to travel the world is by bus. Check out some of our bus routes!