“I just don’t have the money to travel.”
“I’m so bad at saving money.”
“I have a spending habit and I can’t stop.”
We’ve all been that person – but excuses won’t get you onto the plane. I’m a big believer in the idea that you have to work hard and sacrifice the non-essentials in order to clearly see (and get) what you want, and that for me, and many others, is travelling.
Often I hear those excuses listed above, but all of these things – I believe – are down to not concentrating on what you truly want. Saving for travelling doesn’t have to be tricky, it just requires a little dedication, time and some cuts here and there: it’s a lifestyle change, which can be adapted to whatever you are trying to save for – if you want to buy a new car or get a new computer, these tips could help too.
If you truly want to travel, you’ll make sure you get on that plane, regardless of what meals out and new shoes you don’t buy along the way. It’s all worth it in the end to see that sunrise over the Grand Canyon, trek up to Machu Picchu, or meet wild leopards in Sri Lanka.
Here are 8 tips that I’ve gathered from other travel writers, friends and myself over the years that all help you save money for the trip of your dreams.
Austin, Texas. September 2016.
Quit Coffee Shops
I know it seems like the world will collapse if you don’t get your daily Starbucks fix, but trust me, those lattes and cappuccinos add up. Say your morning coffee from Costa normally costs £3 – by Sunday, not buying those coffees will have earned you £21. In a month, £84, and in a year that adds up to over £1000. Think where that grand could get you.
Buy A Water Bottle And Actually Use It
I have two water bottles – Hydro Flasks are my favourites – and carry them everywhere. Both your body and your bank account will thank you for only drinking water.
Stop Drinking (So Much)
I live in London, and our bars and clubs are known for their ridiculous drink prices. £9 for a single G&T anyone? By skipping a few drinks you can save so much more money, especially when you factor in the drunken kebab and hangover pizza you no longer need.
Write Down What You Spend
Trust me, you’ll want to put your debit card away when you see how much cash you’re spending on your daily sandwich run or on those after work pints. By writing it down, you can see where your bleeding money, and where you’re good at bandaging it up.
Put Your Savings Away Somewhere You Can’t Touch
I have a separate bank account where I deposit any money I save for travelling – normally £5-10 a week, depending on my job situation, and don’t touch it. I’ve named mine to make me realise that whenever I take money out of it (something I admit to doing on more than one occasion), I have a reminder of what that money is in that account for.
Stash Away Your Fivers
Whenever you get a £5 note (or whatever currency you use), put it away somewhere. Set aside a date (say, the day that you want to book your next trip, pay for flights or put a deposit down), and do not touch it until that day. You’ll be amazed at how much money you can save just from putting away a fiver here and there.
Set Your Laptop/Computer Background As Your Destination
Sounds strange, but by setting your laptop background as the destination that you want to travel to (in my case, it was Venice Beach) which you’ll see every time you start online shopping will quash any desires for “want” purchases rather than “need” purchases. Having a constant visual reminder – it could even be a picture stuck on your bedroom wall – of what you’re saving the money for will really help keep you motivated.
Make Friends With Ebay And Depop
While you may not make thousands, by Ebay-ing and Depop-ing clothes, CDs, DVDs and books that you no longer want or need, you can rake up quite a sizeable figure. It may not fund your entire trip, but it will help you buy a few extra souvenirs from your safari, or fund that Australia sky-dive you’ve always wanted to do.
Monument Valley, USA. September 2016.
Cover Image: Empire State Building at sunset, New York City. August 2016