A popular myth is that travel is an expensive hobby. Certainly those who travel must have rich parents or very high paying jobs… right?I understand where you’re coming from. I used to think that too. As an Irish girl who didn’t know what a hostel was 4 years ago, I thought international travel was only for the privileged. After travelling on and off for the last 4 years I’m here to tell you that travel is possible for all of us.
Want to travel the world? Or take an extended break away? You don’t need to be rich, however, you will need to get creative about saving money. After receiving countless messages from individuals asking asking how I’m able to travel so much, I want to share some useful tips I’ve learnt along the way in order to save money for my upcoming travels.
Saving money is not easy. There are social pressures, our willpower is lacking and we are endlessly bombarded by marketing. It requires constant work and sacrifice, but if I can do it, you can too!
Best of luck – I’ll see you out there chasing your travel dreams!
1. Make a Plan:
It’s really hard to stick to long term commitments. Saving is tough and demands a significant sacrifice. Your want needs to be great in order to succeed. How badly do you want to save/travel?
Sit down and go through all your accounts to find out exactly what your finances look like. Tracking expenses is important in order to verify where you can cut back or even eliminate unrequired spending. This made me realise just how much money I’ve flushed down the drain over the last few years. Write it ALL down, how much do you spend on rent? Groceries? Nights out? Entertainment? Socialising? Date nights?
What are your monthly non-negotiables? Then take a look at alcohol, snacks, miscellaneous shopping. BE HONEST…you may be surprised at how much you’re really spending. All the small things do add up.
2. Distinguish a line between your WANTS and your NEEDS.
What you want and what you need are too very different entities. Be brutally honest with yourself. Do you need Netflix and Stan? Spotify? Do you need that coffee you get every morning on the way to work? What about the beers every Friday night? How about new clothes? Look at how much you can instantly start saving every month if you cut some of these out. Swap clothing with a friend. Head to a thrift store and pick up a few gems if you feel the need to brighten up your wardrobe. Do you really need to have a new outfit for every occasion?!
STOP BUYING THINGS YOU DON’T NEED
3. Daily habits that will save you money.
How about getting up an hour earlier, walking to work, riding a bicycle or buying a scooter. Instead of buying a coffee on the commute to work, make one at home. Cook your own meals daily instead of buying them. This can save you a hell of a lot in the long run. Prepping your own meals can save you between $100 and $200 every week.
Set up a savings account. Put money away as you earn it. Set up a direct deposit and track your savings. I find it easier to put money away automatically, in a place where it can’t be touched until I’m ready for my next adventure.
4. Reduce accommodation costs
This is one way I’ve been able to save significant money recently. It’s surprisingly extremely effective. If the place you are renting costs a lot of money, how about considering a new roommate to share the rent and bills? What about two roommates?
If that’s not an option, why not move into a smaller/cheaper place or move to a cheaper suburb. By moving to a cheaper suburb with a spare room I have been able to save a substantial amount of money monthly. When travelling or away rent out your place on Air B and B. I know some individuals don’t like strangers staying in their home. Personally, this does not bother me one bit. If anything it adds to the excitement of an upcoming trip knowing that your guests are paying for the majority of your trip away.
Sometimes you need to think outside the box in order to make your dreams come true. Drastic measures can be uncomfortable to begin with, but they do work.
5. Stop going out every weekend.
Instead of going out and spending money on alcohol, clubs and pubs, invite friends over to your place. Have a few sociable drinks in. Get outside, have a BBQ, take a hike, explore the city. Not everything has to revolve around drinking. Socialising is a non-negotiable expenditure for me. It’s important to me and I enjoy it so I just make sure to factor it into my monthly spending, but not every weekend!
6. Make extra money on the side.
We all want to earn a few extra dollars when we can, am I right? There are endless opportunities to earn extra money, even if you already have a full time job. Find a ‘side hustle’ that you can work part time. Airtasker, bar tending, events marshalling etc.
For example, I’ve worked as a dog walker with Madpaws, proofread other peoples work, taught English online with TEFL and I’m doing a web development course to further my skillset. It doesn’t need to be an amazing job, just something to boost your income. Do some research and lock down positions that match your talents. The possibilities are endless, a few apps I find useful are Fiverr, Freelancer and Skillshare.
7. One mans trash is another mans treasure.
Something that one person considers worthless may be considered valuable by someone else. It’s becoming more apparent that we really don’t NEED a lot of the materialistic items we own. Sell unwanted clothing at Kirribilli or Glebe markets. It’s reasonably easy to purchase and set up a stall. Be sure to have a float, be friendly and approachable, present your clothing and stall well, be early and stay until the very end. There’s two markets in Kirribilli: the general markets and the fashion market. They rotate every 2 weeks. There’s not as much competition at the general market, it’s a much more relaxed vibe. Steer clear of trendy, label conscious markets such as Bondi!
8. Shop around.
Do you compare prices when planning your upcoming travels?Trip planning can be daunting at times, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Blogs, social media and guidebooks have never been more plentiful, sometimes making the task of planning a trip even more challenging. I take time to shop around for flights and use a number different search engines at a time. Be sure to check out budget airlines. Google your destination and ‘budget airline’ to see if there are any you don’t know about. It’s also important to look at the best time to book. The general rule of thumb is to book your flights one or two months in advance and try to book them on a Tuesday or Wednesday, which is when airlines tend to launch their deals. Then aim to fly on a Saturday or Tuesday which are often the cheapest days to fly.
9. Build a network and coach surf.
Couch surfing can be very beneficial especially if you are travelling solo. It can help you make friends with locals and get free accomodation. Before you go away set up an account and find a local meetup. That way you’ll make friends and get added to peoples profiles and you can be vouched for. It’s all about playing the system until you get reviews which lead to more stays! You’ll then have a network worth utilising when it is time to actually go away.
If you have space in your home you can host travellers. This is the best way to get familiar with the platform and earn reviews that will help you when you are looking for a host in the future. While in Brisbane 3 years ago I couch surfed for a week and it was such a great experience. I had $0 accomodation costs, experienced Brisbane like the locals and made a great friend for life.
10. Keep your distance from financially irresponsible people.
Watching your friends go out night after night and buy expensive new phones and laptops, pricey cocktails and new dresses will destroy all your hard won determination and motivation. Don’t do that to yourself! Don’t let your determination to save for future travels turn you into a party pooper either. BE SELECTIVE with your big nights out. Choose them wisely!!! You can most definitely save for travels and still let loose every now and then.
For me, saving is essential. It allows me to travel without restrictions. I can book that once in a lifetime hot air balloon ride or go diving with wild dolphins without a second thought.
THE SPECIFIC PLAN YOU CHOOSE ISN’T IMPORTANT…BUT THE DESTINATION IS ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING.