20 Tips on How to Save Money to Travel around the World
The hardest part about an around the world trip is figuring out the money. It's a huge mountain to climb, but it's not impossible. The following are 20 tips on how to save money for your upcoming trip around the world.
These are all suggestions, so dear reader, feel free to follow or not follow them, while you prepare for the big adventure.
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First things first, though: you need to figure out how much you actually need to save. How much will it cost you to go around the world?
Just remember, whatever your around-the-world travel budget is, it’s best to have a plan in place!
Create a savings plan. A good savings plan will have 5 steps:
Assessment – Compare your trip plan to the reality of your financial situation.
Is it feasible, or are you dreaming too big? Make hard decisions. Be honest. Once you’ve got a general idea of your trip’s overall cost, compile a spreadsheet that lists your income vs. your expenses to see how everything stacks up.
Setting goals – Your savings plan should comprise several goals, some short-term and some long-term.
List your goals in specific numbers and don’t be shy to shoot high. But, not so high it kills your enthusiasm for your big trip (people have traveled around the world on almost nothing!).
Creating a plan – This savings plan details how you’ll accomplish your goals.
This could be done by removing unnecessary expenses (see below!), setting a strict spending budget, or adding additional income to meet your goals.
Implementation – Put your plan in motion and maintain it.
Monitoring and reassessment – As time passes, your plan will evolve as your spending habits change.
Take a look at your progress every month and scrutinize the budget for possible adjustments.
Commit to your dream
The first of our tips for saving money (for travel) is to remember why you’re doing this and to remind yourself every day. Put a picture on your wall, or a map with pins and strings to mark your dream route around the world, for constant revalidation. Saving money is a leitmotiv, but anyone can do it if they set their mindset to it.
Reduce your expenditures.
Simplify your life.
Sell some stuff.
Earn some extra income.
Get into habits of frugality (save without shame!).
Assess your expenditures
Make a spreadsheet and list out every one of your daily/monthly expenditures. Organize them into two columns: “Needs” and “Wants“. Slowly eliminate all the “wants” from the things you regularly purchase.
Start a dedicated travel fund
Create a new account with your bank called “I’m Outta Here” and feed it monthly, weekly, or daily. Make it easy to transfer money over from another account and every time you go online to check your balance, transfer some money, even if it’s just 5 EUR. Make it fun. Make it a habit. Make it natural. Make it painless. Revel in its growth! I saved a lot, by daily saving 10EUR with a direct debit, and I never notice it, until I see the pile of money in my savings account and then I start booking flight tickets.
Spend less on lunch
It may be as simple as not getting a 1.40 EUR drink (tap water is highly underrated as a beverage!) but make a point of spending less than 8EUR on your lunch (in Europe!). Those savings will add up. Say you go out to eat five times a week. Just trimming your lunch cost from 12EUR to 8EUR saves you 832EUR a year, this not considering if you compound the interest! For even more savings, pack a lunch if you’re able.
Cut back on fancy coffee drinks
Eliminating coffee from your life just might be impossible, and coffee shops are an essential place for many people to socialize, study, and work, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on caffeine! Think drip coffee instead of that ultra-mocha Choco with extra espresso shots. Paying 2EUR instead of 5EUR every day could save you 1,095EUR a year.
Eat out less often
Restaurants put more holes in a saving plan than a woodpecker on MDMA. Plus, learning how to cook for yourself is ridiculously gratifying. The Food Network and Recipes.com have a near limitless repository of delicious recipes to start you off. Simple unprocessed foods like rice, beans, chicken, pasta, potatoes, and vegetables are healthy and cheap.
Reduce or eliminate your car usage
Uber and Lyft (for US readers!) are great options for daily car sharing if you need to go long distances. Biking and walking more will definitely help with your cutting costs, and also, you might not need that gym subscription anymore. Also, try to shop as close to home as you can, so you will definitely not need a car, and if that is not possible, try shopping your groceries online. If you really need a car, in Europe mostly, there is this new concept, GreenWheels, where you can pick up a car from a certain place and pay to rent it for a few hours (minimum 2 hours) or a few days. Cool idea to check it out (also environmentally friendly as some of the cars are electric!) Every little bit helps!
Kill the cable TV
You’ll be surprised how fast your savings add up when you ditch cable TV. Several friends of mine pay up to 80-90 EUR a month for their cable. That’s insane, it adds up to at least 960 EUR a year. That could fund an entire trip to lots of places in the world! Besides, there are plenty of free and cheap ways to get your entertainment. Netflix is 10EUR for a month. Books are cheaper than movies and library subscription is even cheaper. Consider alternatives!
Cancel your gym membership
Instead of that hefty gym membership, working out in the great outdoors, run in the fresh air. Swallow your pride and utilize those strange public fitness things in the park. The world is a cardio machine. Watch the calories burned outside turn into greenbacks in your bank account! There are so many free YouTube channels you can also try out.
Skip the spa
Luxury feels so good, but spas are a serious expense. Massages, peels, and mani-pedis will cost you your hard-earned cash, and they certainly won’t help you get on the road any sooner. Skip out on the short-term luxury of self-pampering and save more for the life-changing luxury of long-term travel.
Get fewer haircuts
If you get a haircut or cut and colored once every two months as opposed to once every month, you’ll save 50% and probably still look just good. Considering the cost of hair care, over the course of a year this could really add up. Of course, stick to a simple style that a friend can trim for you for free, and you’ve got 100% savings. Same for ladies that dye their hair…and Yes, I know, I am not listening to myself, but as I said at the beginning of this post, these are all options how to save money, you don’t have to do all of them if you don’t feel like giving up on something you reallllly like.
Borrow your reading material
Use your library. Use Paperback Book Swap. Or just borrow books from friends.
If you already sprung for an e-reader (useful for your trip as well) there are plenty of places online to download eBooks for free. Here are the sites with the most comprehensive catalogs:
These sites amount to more books than you (and everyone you know) could read in your lifetime. So, buckle up!
Do Free Things
Learn to code – hello Codecademy!
Volunteer for a local charity.
Play sports: you know, cycling, tennis, basketball, soccer, etc. Find recreational teams in your area and burn those calories while enjoying yourself
Stay in at night
Going out to bars and clubs will force your account balance to go down faster than a French cheese fondue…with only a headache to show for it in the morning. Keep your travel goals in mind and invite your friends over for drinks. That 8EUR bottle of wine would’ve cost 25EUR at the bar!
Reduce your utility bills – a bit extreme, but still doable.
Put a sweatshirt on and keep the heat on low. Open the windows to catch a breeze instead of using the air conditioner. Turn off the lights when you leave a room. Shorten your showers. Some areas of the country have more moderate temperatures than others, but even a few bucks a month pile up in your travel savings account. If you can trim 15% off by being more efficient, doing fewer loads of laundry, and conserving energy, you could add around 225EUR to your savings, annually.
Bonus tip for saving money: keep your distance from financially irresponsible people!
Watching your friends go out every night to party and buying expensive smartphones, pricey clothes, and new boots will destroy all your hard-won motivation. So just don’t. But don’t let your dogged determination to save for vacation make you into a party pooper: you can save for travel, and still let loose every once in a while.
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As I already mentioned a few times, these are all tips if you want to travel. You don’t have to follow all of them, I know for sure, I am not doing all, but if there is something you can cut of your life, please do it, your future self will thank you for all the memories you have created while traveling the world.
Do you have any other ideas on how to save money? Write them down in a comment below.