Wanting to plan a big trip in a few months or looking to travel long-term? Here are my top recommendations for saving money to travel:
Rethink How You Approach Travel
There is a myth that travel is always expensive. While certain destinations certainly can be, that myth is born out of an unawareness of traveling strategically. If travel is important to you and you want to make it work without spending an inordinate amount of money, get smart in the following ways:
Look at Airbnb listings. Buy groceries locally in your destination to prepare your own meals. Opt for the cheaper (but less convenient) flights.
Book on the off season to guarantee significantly lower rates on airfare and accommodations. For example, my friend and I visited Tulum last October. High season for Tulum is between November and March. October is on the border of hurricane season.
If you’re planning on traveling long-term, consider the price of one-way flights once you’re actually on the road. A flight from Barcelona to Rome is approximately $90 and a flight from Hong Kong to Ho Chi Minh City is approximately $100. That’s basically the price of 1/4 of a dress from Revolve 😉 All about perspective.
Cut Unnecessary Expenses
I will admit that, up until recently, I was one of those girls who had no problem buying a Starbucks coffee every morning and justifying spending $300 on a dress to wear once to a party.
Once I decided that travel was the absolute most important thing to me and once I began cutting these kinds of expenses, here’s what I learned:
A latte every morning? A Revolve dress you’ll only wear once? Daily Sweetgreen salads for lunch? All unnecessary.
You could more than survive without all of these things and, by cutting from your budget, you could potentially save hundreds and hundreds of dollars per month to then spend on travel.
Buy a bag of coffee for $8, brew a cup at home each morning. If you were buying a drip coffee 4 – 5 times a week before, you’ll save an average of $40 per month. If you were buying a latte every morning, you’ll save an average of $60 per month.
Hold back on buying those dresses. Look in your closet – you can likely make one that you already own work! If not, check out your friends’ closets for things to borrow.
The daily Sweetgreen salads? Buy groceries and pack your lunch instead.
Anything that you do not need… cut. You’d be surprised by how much unnecessary expenses add up. You’ll thank yourself at the end of the month when you have a plane ticket to Switzerland instead of 25 consumed lattes and one dress sitting in the back of your closet.
Sell Items Online
Think about all of the items you own and don’t use. If you’re anything like me, there are probably a lot.
Don’t let them sit in your closet and collect dust.
Use the below websites to sell them:
Craigslist – A great website to sell furniture and other items to people in your nearby area.
eBay – From clothing to furniture to board games, you can sell absolutely anything on eBay.
Poshmark – An app made specifically for selling clothing, Poshmark looks and feels a lot like Instagram. Just take photos of the items you don’t want, post them to your profile and make sales!
Twice – Like Poshmark, Twice is also meant for selling clothing, but instead of having to photograph and post everything yourself, the experience is completely hands-off. All you need to do is ship the items to them. You will be notified when you receive an offer on your item(s).
Do Extra Work
Get a babysitting gig. Ask around for jobs or post flyers in your apartment building or local coffee shop. Babysitting can be a pretty lucrative “side hustle” for a minimal amount of work.
Do online coaching. If you have enough experience in a particular field and feel like you could make a profit from helping others succeed in that area, become a coach! Start your own website and advertise your services through social media.
Get crafty. Make jewelry or cards (or anything handmade!) and sell them on Etsy, Cargoh or Amazon Handmade.
Become a driver. Check out Uber or Lyft.
Wait tables or bartend. Spend your nights or weekends working at a nearby restaurant or bar. Not only will you make a good chunk of extra money, but you might even meet some new friends!
Monetize an Instagram account. If you have a passion (be it food, fashion, beauty, lifestyle, whatever), start an Instagram account and build up a loyal following. Once you have that following, it’s fairly easy to start monetizing.
If you want more help on this, sign up to be notified when my Instagram e-course becomes available!
Sign Up for Digit
Digit is hands-down one of my best discoveries.
The platform uses an algorithm to assess your spending habits (i.e. when you spend the most money during the month and on what, etc). It then decides when to withdraw small amounts of money from your account in a way that is completely unnoticeable.
It then puts that money in a Digit account for you, from which you can withdraw any amount at any time.
In just three months after opening my account, I checked my Digit account expecting to find maybe $100. There was more than $400! And I somehow hadn’t even noticed any of it being withdrawn.
Look Out For Travel Deals
Pretty self explanatory, but finding deals on travel-related expenses like flights and accommodations is a great way to save money.
The following are my favorites:
Scott’s Cheap Flights – Once daily, Scott sends an email alerting you to some special fare. These deals normally last only 1-3 days and are for a specific time period, so it does help if you have a bit of flexibility in terms of when you can travel. But if you don’t, I still recommend signing up because he sends some irresistible deals.
ExitFares – Similar to Scott’s Cheap Flights, ExitFares sends you one email per day, but unlike S.C.F., the email contains multiple flight deals, flash sales, promo codes and mistake fares.
The Flight Deal – The Flight Deal is a website that posts travel deals constantly. They also have a newsletter that will deliver them straight to your inbox.
Get a Credit Card Conducive to Travel
There are certain credit cards that are great to have because they reward you for spending money on travel expenses.
I’ve had the Chase Sapphire Preferred for a couple of years and love it. The card offers 2x points on travel and food expenses, and 1x points on all other purchases. Even better, the sign up bonus on the card is that, if you spend more than $4,000 in the first three months, you’ll learn 50,000 points ($625) to spend on travel expenses. The Sapphire Preferred does not charge an annual fee for the first year, but every year after has an annual fee of $95.
Other great travel credit cards and their benefits include:
Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard: Earn $500 to spend on travel if you spend at least $3,000 in the first 3 months of having the card. You get the miles-equivalent of 2% cash back on all other purchases and a 5% rebate on miles redeemed.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Earn $400 to spend on travel if you spend at least $3,000 in the first 3 months of opening the account. You get 2 miles for every $1 spent.
Change Your Lifestyle
For me personally, living in New York City took a total toll on my expenses. A year ago, I didn’t think twice about spending $150 a week on nice dinners with my friends or about blowing $300 a weekend on club and brunch expenses.
Once I decided I valued travel above most else, I started going out to one mid-range restaurant every few weeks to spend time with my friends. I reduced the nights I go out in New York from once a week to once every couple of months. Since making these changes, I haven’t looked back since because I’ve saved an incredible amount of money that I’ve been able to spend on travel.
You might not be spending money on the same kind of lifestyle I was, but think about where you’re spending money in your life overall and where you can cut back.
The bottom line is that, if you really want to travel, you will find a way.
And if you need inspiration or are having a moment of weakness when deciding whether you can forgo that morning coffee or not… I recommend watching Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown on Netflix.
Or watch the below video.
All the inspiration you need to pass on that soy latte 😉
Where will you go first with all of the money you save?
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