8 Easy Ways to Save Money for Travel
Having the money to travel the world may seem impossible at times, but the truth is it often just comes down to choices. It’s not only about opting for budget travel options while you’re on the road, but also saving your money wisely while you’re at home. We’ve taken a few common strategies and added some extra tips to help get you started.
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. Instead of paying for gas and insurance, take the bus, train, or tram, which can save you hundreds of dollars every month. Plus, selling a vehicle you own is a quick way to inject a few thousand dollars into your travel fund. You’ll find apps like Transit App super handy for navigating around a city without a car.
Other alternatives 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
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.
Look at your other monthly bills and see what you can cut down. Can you cancel your gym membership and exercise outside instead? (Check out Fitness Buddy for at-home workout tips.) Can you reduce your bills by wearing a sweater in the house instead of cranking the heat? If you’re a student, are there student discounts for your phone or Internet bill you’re not taking advantage of? The saving may be small, but they add up quickly.
3. Use What’s in Your Fridge
Constantly ordering food delivery or going out for dinner with friends can add up quickly. 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.
4. Pre-Drink Before Going Out
It’s no secret that bars and nightclubs tend to serve alcohol at absurdly inflated prices. You can 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 games 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
Seeking out vintage and bargain fashion finds can save you money, while not forcing you to compromise on style. Clothing swaps with friends are another great excuse to get everyone together and score some new threads without spending a dime. A word of caution: don’t get dragged into the temptation and urgency of a good sale. Sure a new pair of shoes is tempting at 50% off, but do you really need them?
7. 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, of course—is actually a very smart move. Not only will you limit your necessary ongoing expenses to a bare minimum, you won’t have to worry about paying home bills while you’re away.
8. Arm Yourself With Apps
Beyond apps like Whatsapp (that eliminate the need for using long distance minutes) and Wi-Fi Finder (that help you avoid using up all of your data), budgeting apps like Mint can help you manage all of your saving efforts in one place. 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.
Being able to afford to travel may mean some sacrifices in your daily life, but it’s worth it in the end. Once you’re ready to hit the road, carry these budgeting best practices over to your trip planning. We know we’re biased, but traveling by bus is the most cost effective way to get to many places. Check out some of our routes!