Last updated on January 20th, 2022 at 03:19 pm
All travel lovers agree that the more we travel, the more we want to travel and if you’ve caught the travel bug too, chances are that you’d love to know how to afford to travel more.
If you’re wondering how to save enough money to travel, you should know that there are no secret recipes for success. All you need to do is to adjust the ways in which you’re currently spending your money. In this guide, we’re sharing 30 smart tips to save money to travel. You’ll be amazed at how much easier saving money to travel will seem to you once you’re done reading.
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How To Afford To Travel: Our Top Tip
1. Adopt The Right Mindset
Oftentimes, people ask us How can you afford to travel so frequently? Sometimes, they go as far as to add that travel is expensive and that not everyone can afford to travel, probably implying that those who do have loads of money in their pockets and not a single other worry in their heads. Before elaborating on the best ways to save money for travel, we feel the need to break (or at least try to break) this omnipresent, everlasting and utterly obnoxious stereotype.
To begin with, asking the How can you afford to travel the world ? question is rude to the core. You don’t ask other people what they do with their money, right? Why would anyone care what you do with yours? However, it seems that people who travel a lot are constantly judged for this choice of theirs. As if what they love doing is absolutely worthless not to mention the most expensive thing in the world. Well, it’s not.
Travel is way more affordable than other every-day life habits, such as ordering take-away coffee every day or something. It all comes down to setting priorities. If your number one priority is to see as much of this world as possible, you should be willing to sacrifice some of life’s other pleasures.
Therefore, the very first step to save money for travel is to adopt the right mindset. Stop thinking that you can’t afford to travel and start working on ways to save money to travel in your every-day lives and during travelling.
How To Save Money For Travel in Your Every-Day Lives
Don’t wait until the time comes to actually travel to save money. It doesn’t work this way. Saving money for travel means that you need to adjust your every-day lives to a new reality. It takes a bit of sacrifice. But if travel is your number one priority, it’s totally worth it.
2. Don’t Buy Stuff That You Don’t Really Need
We all love to buy new things all the time. Whoever says they don’t, they’re lying. But the truth is that we don’t need all this stuff. Really, we don’t. Growing up in a consumer society, we have fallen victims to a system that has deliberately made us believe that we constantly need new things. In reality, we just want them.
Here’s an example. Do we need clothes? Of course we do, what are we, cave people? Do we need to buy new clothes every week or month? Definitely not. If you really want to save money to travel, you have to stop spending money on things you don’t really need.
For instance, you don’t need 30 pairs of shoes for each season, a new car every five years or new cushion covers twice a year. Therefore, avoid shopping sprees and your impulse to walk inside shops when you don’t really NEED to buy something.
Changing your shopping habits won’t be easy and it won’t happen overnight. It helps to start by writing down all the things that you think you need to buy. Groceries, shoes, clothes, home stuff, gadgets; keep everything written on lists and sleep on them. When you revisit your lists, you will most probably find out that you can live without one or two items on them. Keep eliminating and then go shopping with your new, hopefully shorter, list in hand.
3. Go Shopping During Sales
Normally and if something unexpected doesn’t come up, you can wait until sales season to go shopping. There are many major sales throughout the year so make sure you keep an eye out for them. Similarly, make the most of Black Friday offers for online and physical purchases. Don’t forget that although Black Friday is on the fourth Friday of November of each year, sales can last up to an entire week before and/or after this date.
4. Cut All Unnecessary Expenses
Raise your hands if you buy take-away coffee and lunch every day at work. Now take a pledge not to do it ever again starting first thing tomorrow. Jobs are meant to fill our pockets with money not empty them. Therefore, why spend money at work?
A take-away coffee and a salad every day add up to at least 120€/month. You can find return tickets for that city break you always dreamt of for less than that. So, make your own coffee at work and pack your lunch from home. Other expenses you could avoid include gym subscriptions (walk instead) or take-away dinner at home (cook instead).
5. Keep Your Nights Out To a Minimum
Are you party animals? Well, we’ve been there and we know that it’s not easy to let go of this particular habit. When we decided to enjoy fewer nights out, we felt we grew old(er) all of a sudden. But we appreciate the money we save and our livers are also very grateful we cut down on alcohol and partying.
Apart from drinks, eating out should also be kept to a minimum. Cooking at home with friends is equally fun and way more affordable. Last but not least, one of the hardest things for us is going to the cinema less. Yes, actually that hurts a lot. But it’s a sacrifice we’re willing to make. Therefore, embrace Netflix and go to the movies only on special occasions.
6. Avoid Using Your Car
The only reason we own a car is because we love road trips. Also, driving is almost always the most affordable way to get to the airport. Had it not been for these two reasons, we wouldn’t even have a car. If you don’t use your car for travel or if you don’t have kids, consider ditching it altogether. However, if you do want to have a car, try to use it only when it is absolutely necessary. You can walk, cycle or use public transport instead. This way you can save money and help the environment at the same time.
7. Record Your Expenses
So, let’s say that you mastered the previous five steps and you have already started saving money. First of all, well done! Secondly, now is the right time to take your money-saving strategy to the next level. Start keeping track of your expenses (and earnings) by recording them in a spreadsheet. This way it will be easier for you to have a clear picture of your money-saving profile.
Keeping a record of your expenses will enable you to apply your strategy more efficiently by deciding in which areas you can reduce your expenses even more. Similarly, keep a separate spreadsheet for your travel expenses. This will enable you to figure out your average daily cost per trip which, in its turn, will help you budget your upcoming trips more accurately.
8. Open a New Bank Account
It’s one thing to cut down on your expenses and another to finally hold on to your precious savings until you actually travel. The best way to avoid spending your hard saved money is to open a brand new bank account just for that: the money you save for travel. In this travel savings account, you should also deposit all the extra money you receive on a monthly basis.
A bonus from work? A x€ banknote from your sweet grandma on your birthday? All unexpected money, no matter the amount, should go in this travel savings account of yours. That’s what unexpected is all about, after all. You didn’t know you would receive this money so why spend it on rent/groceries/car service or other mundane things? You would pay for all this stuff from your paychecks anyway. Unexpected money is sacred and by sacred we mean it’s to be reserved for travel.
One last thing, though. Please open a bank account rather than keep your extra money in a piggy bank. I used to keep my travel money in a piggy bank until that awful day when burglars smashed it and emptied it of my life’s dream to visit Cuba that same year.
9. Invest in a Travel Credit Card
Inevitably, we all use credit cards. So it would be wise to research which cards offer travel-related benefits. For example, some travel credit cards offer the opportunity to collect extra miles for certain airlines with every purchase you make. These miles then translate to free or discounted air tickets. That’s probably the best tip on how to save money on air travel.
10. Keep an Eye Out For Travel-Related Giveaways
OK, that’s a long shot but if you like hanging out on social media anyway, why not check out hashtags such as #travelgiveaway or similar and enter contests for a chance to win free trips? You never know, right?
11. Educate Your Friends & Family
If your parents, grandparents, spouses, siblings, friends, anyone ask what to get you on your birthday, graduation day, wedding, promotion etc, there should be one answer only: travel gift vouchers. Be it an airline, a hotel or a tour company, travel gift vouchers can save you considerable amounts of money and help you get a step closer to taking that long-awaited trip of yours.
12. Consider Finding an Extra Source of Income
If the travel bug starts itching too much, you may want to consider sacrificing some of your free time as well. Working on side projects on a freelance basis is among the most effective ways to save money for travel fast.
13. Move in With a Good Friend
Or with your better half. If the itching gets unbearable, maybe it’s time you took radical measures. If you live by yourselves, moving in with friends is by far one of the best ways to save on every-day life expenses such as rent, household bills, grocery shopping and the like.
14. Try a Savings Challenge
Savings challenges are among the best ways to save money for travel. Choosing an easy savings challenge that won’t be too much of a burden for you is key here. For instance, try this 52-week saving challenge by saving 1€ in week one, 2€ in week two and so on. In a year, you will have saved 1378€. Not bad at all.
How To Save Up For Travel When Planning Your Trips
Once you’ve done everything in your power to reduce your expenses at home, it’s time to apply a set of simple money-saving rules at the planning stage of your trips.
15. Keep an Open Mind
Let’s be honest. Some destinations are less affordable than others. We do understand that you’ve always dreamt of travelling to New York, Iceland or Scotland. However, waiting and waiting until you have enough money to travel to one of these destinations is actually a painful waste of time considering there is a whole wide world full of more affordable beauties out there.
Keep an open mind and go for destinations which may be less popular, thus a lot more affordable, yet equally fascinating. If you can’t afford Paris (yet) why not plan an escape to Warsaw instead? If planning a trip to Vietnam seems impossible budgetwise, Sri Lanka and its reasonably priced treasures await.
16. Be Flexible With Your Travel Dates
Being flexible with your dates is not the easiest of tasks while working a full-time job. However, do your best to avoid travelling during the peak season as both accommodation and ticket prices are too high then. That said, don’t get too carried away by the super cheap off-season prices either. What’s the point in visiting, say, the Greek Islands in January when it’s impossible to swim in their crystal clear waters?
Try to book your trips a little before or after your destination’s high season. Not only will that strategy save you money but you will also get to enjoy the place while it’s still pleasant in terms of weather but without the crowds.
17. Sign Up To Airline Newsletters
Subscribe to newsletters of airlines, ferry or bus companies and railways that operate from your place of residence. This way you will be notified of deals and offers they run on a regular basis. Also, check out websites such as Skyscanner and set e-mail alerts for price drops regarding the destinations you want to visit in the near future.
If you find that the number of e-mails your receive gets annoying, you can create a new e-mail account just for these newsletters so that their frequency doesn’t interfere with the flow of your business or personal e-mail.
18. Pick The Most Affordable Means of Transport
More often than not, it’s possible to reach your desired destination in more than one ways. Take into consideration all factors regarding your trip, such as length of stay and type of activities and choose the most affordable means of transport each time.
For example, while we were planning our 2-week road trip across Puglia in Italy, we had two options. The first was to fly to Bari and then rent a car. The second was to drive our own car to Patras Port and take the ferry to Bari from there. The latter was remarkably cheaper than the former and, given the fact that we had 15 whole days ahead of us, we decided to take the slower route, thus staying true to our responsible travel principles, too.
19. Act Fast
Once you stumble upon an amazing deal online, book those tickets ASAP! You are not the only one looking at those very same cheap flights so if you don’t grab them immediately, someone else will. Don’t think too much, just keep your credit cards handy. Even an hour later can make a huge difference in prices, so better be
safe fast than sorry.
20. Choose Accommodation Wisely
For the best accommodation deals without hidden fees and unpleasant surprises we can’t recommend Booking.com enough. Try to book accommodation as early as you can to get the best possible prices. However, don’t just go for the cheapest option available as this may not result in the most affordable decision in the end. Let us explain.
First of all, you must check the location of the hotel. If it is situated far from the city centre (where you will most probably want to stay for a short trip to be close to all major attractions), you will end up paying extra money for your transport to and from the hotel. A room in a central location may seem more expensive but it actually saves you money as you will be able to go everywhere on foot or, at worst, by public transport.
Moreover, if your room comes with breakfast at a small surcharge, you can save considerable amounts of money by skipping lunch and going straight to dinner. Last but not least, a properly sized room with a dining area and/or a small kitchen is great value-for-money as this means that you can order take-away or even cook, both of which are way more affordable than eating at restaurants every day.
There is also another important factor you should keep in mind before booking your accommodation. Finding the perfect balance between budget and splurge. Staying at an accommodation type which is unique to the place you are visiting, such as a cave hotel in Santorini or a masseria in Puglia, is literally priceless. You shouldn’t sacrifice this experience in the name of any budget-friendly accommodation.
Lastly, don’t forget about all the alternatives types of accommodation available. Although we don’t do it ourselves, staying in hostels is a great way to save money. If you travel alone, in particular, a hostel is not just the most affordable accommodation option but also the perfect place to hang out with like-minded people. Similarly, staying at campsites is a fantastic way to save money, especially for nature lovers and people who are not scared of bugs. That would not be me.
21. Visit Friends & Relatives
Most of us have friends or relatives who live in other parts of the world or different regions within our country of residence. So why not plan a trip to visit them? You still have to pay for tickets, food, sightseeing and, most importantly, a special something to bring as a gift to your hosts, but there won’t be any accommodation costs which is actually amazing.
Just make sure you are invited first. Nobody wants to see you suddenly at their doorstep. Don’t take it personally. It’s just that YOU are going on vacation while THEY have to go on with their lives which means jobs, kids and the rest. Tough, right?
22. Pack Light
This may seem unrelated at first sight but it’s not. Learning how to pack light is precious for so many different reasons. Travelling with your carry-on alone means that you don’t have to carry any unnecessary weight around. Moreover, you don’t waste time waiting for your bag upon arrival nor do you risk the airline losing your bag.
Budgetwise, packing light means that you don’t pay the, sometimes excessive, fee for checked luggage. That said, if you plan to be away for long and you can’t do without checked luggage, you can always split among your group (e.g. 1 checked suitcase per two people) instead of paying for one piece of checked luggage each.
23. Save Money On Travel Insurance
It goes without saying that travel insurance is not a luxury anymore. No matter if you’re planning a month-long trip or a weekend escape, travel insurance buys you the peace of mind you need to enjoy your trip. If an airline cancels your flight or if your luggage gets lost, all this translates into wasted money. Yet, if you have travel insurance, you will be reimbursed and this money will return back to where it belongs. Your pockets.
To further save money on travel insurance if you travel more than a couple of times per year, choose a multi-trip annual plan rather than buy separate plans for each trip. That will save you loads of money.
How To Save Money While Travelling
The final stage of mastering your money-saving skills is learning all the tricks you need to know to spend money wisely during your travels but without the risk of missing out on those unique experiences that render your trips all the more memorable.
24. Watch Out For Crazy Bank Fees
Sometimes, travelling abroad entails learning how to cope with different currencies. First of all, while abroad, you must keep in mind the approximate exchange rate at all times. Also, before visiting a country abroad, do your research to decide if it’s more affordable to exchange currency or to withdraw money from a local ATM once there. The latter is usually the better.
However, make sure that you use the ATM of a real bank rather than those omnipresent yellow-blue Euronet ATMS to avoid being ripped off. There is one more thing to keep in mind regarding ATMs. When you withdraw money from an ATM abroad, you will be asked to choose between a with conversion and a without conversion option. Always go for the latter to avoid super crazy fees.
Similarly, prior to travelling, check with your bank and figure out commission amounts regarding purchases made abroad. A 1%-2% of the amount you pay is quite a normal surcharge but avoid using credit cards that charge a standard fee on every transaction, regardless of the amount.
25. Turn Roaming Off
One of the things we love about living in Europe is that roaming is now free everywhere. That means that we can use our plans’ data while travelling within Europe. However, the party is over once we travel outside Europe. In order to avoid irrational charges, you will be better off buying a local SIM card once you arrive at your destination. Better still, you can detox from your smartphone by only using it while on WiFi. How does that sound?
26. Check Out The Websites of Major Attractions in Advance
If you are visiting someplace new, you will most probably want to check out some of its major attractions. Once you choose which ones you want to visit, have a look at their websites for any information regarding opening times and entrance fees. It so happens that entry to some museums, archaeological sites, galleries etc is free of charge or at reduced prices on particular days or times. Plan your visits accordingly and don’t miss those special offers.
27. Use Public Transport & Your Feet
The best way to get to know with a new destination is to aimlessly wander around its streets. Walking is also the most affordable way to get around the places you visit. To cover longer distances, use public transport instead of taxis. If you plan to heavily rely on public transport, make sure you purchase a multi-day ticket or card as this will save you even more money.
28. Join Free Walking Tours
Although we are advocates of the importance of paid tours when it comes to sightseeing, we believe that joining a free walking tour is the most amazing way to have a general overview of any given destination. Free walking tours are available almost everywhere so you shouldn’t miss the chance to see a place through the eyes of very passionate and knowledgeable locals. Tours are indeed free but make sure you tip your guides. They are absolutely worth it.
29. Pick The Right Restaurants
One of the commonest mistakes people make while travelling is to eat at the wrong places. It is of vital importance to check eateries on websites like Foursquare or Tripadvisor or your favourite food and travel bloggers before deciding where to eat. This way you can eliminate the possibility of eating overpriced or, most importantly, bad food.
Another safe way to decide where to eat is to see where locals eat. If a restaurant is filled with locals, then the food there is definitely good. To check prices, have a look at the menu (usually on display) before actually sitting at a table. Another brilliant way to save money and immerse in the local culture at the same time is indulging in your destination’s street food culture.
30. Remember What Souvenirs Are For
We all want to have a little something to remember our trips by or bring gifts to our loved ones to show them that we thought of them no matter how far apart we were. But who said that you need to buy expensive things? Neither the value of your memories nor the love for your friends and families can be measured in something as mundane as money.
Souvenirs are supposed to bring happy smiles and nothing but. This is why, in our opinion, the best souvenir (which also happens to be one of the most affordable ones) is taking the time to send postcards to all your loved ones back home. The feeling that someone thinks of you enough to express their loving thoughts on a piece of paper while roaming the world is worth a lot more than the most expensive gift you can think of*.
Now that you’ve made it to the end of this massive list of tips to save money for travel, we do hope that you have a clear picture of how to afford to travel more. And if you are thinking about taking a career break to travel or, better still, if you want to adopt the oh-so-attractive lifestyle of a full-time traveller, our dear friends Gemma and Craig of Two Scots Abroad have put together the ultimate guide for you to plan your long term travels like pros.
How Do Travel Bloggers Afford To Travel
Since you’re asking, we’d like to take this opportunity to explain how we and many other travel bloggers afford to travel. Although travel still is and always will be our passion, it’s now part of our professional lives too. Our content creation business is intertwined with travel. Therefore, many of our trips happen for business purposes these days.
For instance, we may travel to a destination because we are hired to produce a video for a hotel there or write the copy for a hotel website. Other times, a destination invites us on a press trip to get acquainted with said destination and then promote it through our work.
However, client work isn’t the only reason we travel. First and foremost, we travel because it’s our life’s passion. Secondly, we travel to get to know new destinations to write about here on the website and create videos on YouTube for no other than you, our much-loved readers and viewers.
So, next time you wonder how do bloggers afford to travel, if you love our work, if you travel with us to all the wonderful places we visit, remember that we wouldn’t have done any of this without you. It’s your love and support that keep us going.
Browsing through the pages of this website helps it grow into a thriving online business. Watching our YouTube videos helps our channel become an authority in its genre. Clicking on our affiliate links to make purchases or book rooms and experiences helps us continue doing what we love doing the most: travel, write, shoot photos and make videos. And we wholeheartedly thank you for this!
Can you think of any other tips on how to afford to travel? Share them with us in the comments!
*A few years back, our dear friend Spyros reminded us of the magic of sending postcards to both ourselves and our loved ones. For that, Spyros, you will forever receive a postcard from wherever it is we are roaming about.