How Do I Save Money to Travel?
The key to saving for any adventure (whether a weekend or year long trip) is being smart with your money and planning before, during, and after you take off.
When I graduated school I immediately had desires to travel the world, but was fearful that my finances would restrict me from carrying out these dreams. I quickly learned that with better planning and implementing small changes in my daily life it was all possible!
Focused and on a mission to fulfill the travel bug, over the past three years I’ve managed to travel to nearly all 50 states and over 25 countries around the world, all without any help or debt to come back to.
Anyone can do it, here’s a few tips to get you started:
Start With the Easy Things
You’ll be amazed by the amount of money you can save by the smallest daily changes. I cook nearly every meal, saving thousands of dollars a year compared to friends that eat out every meal. If you don’t have a Crockpot, you’ve been missing out. Cooking in bulk is a great way to save money, time, and eat healthy.
Surprisingly I don’t drink coffee at all, but if I did, I would surely be taking advantage of the free coffee at work, instead of heading to Starbucks twice a day for $4 drinks.
Eliminate bottles of soda and water and replace them with a reusable water bottle that you can fill up anywhere. You’ll start to notice that you’ll not only save money, but start to live a healthier lifestyle as well.
Save the restaurants and expensive nights out at the bars for special occasions. I promise, your social life won’t take a tumble. Host dinner parties, BBQ’s, and pre-drinks at your place – you’ll save money and have more meaningful time and conversation with your friends compared to the overwhelming atmosphere at a bar.
Finally, just take a look at your credit card statement and reflect. New clothes, movie tickets, and random gadgets sitting around the house – take a minute to see if you’ve been spending money on things that you really need or not.
I wear the same clothes from high school and know that I’m a bit more low maintenance than most, but there’s always room to improve your spending.
The Real Money Savers
In DC I don’t have a car, and it’s been incredible. Instead of a car payment, fuel costs, and insurance I pay to replace tubes on my bicycle that I ride to work everyday or put a few bucks on my metro card when the weather isn’t cooperating.
I know ditching your car isn’t possible for everyone, but now when I’m back home in Ohio I found myself walking and sharing rides more than I ever did when growing up, give it a try!
If you can live at home, even for just a short period of time, do it! In a place like DC where the rent is expensive, living at home means an extra $15,000 in your pocket at the end of the year.
It’s strange that there’s such a bad stigma in the US if you’re living at home – after meeting people from all over the world, I’ve learned that the stigma isn’t the same in most other places and it’s quite common for people to live at home for several years after university until they save up to buy a house.
When looking for your own place, be smart about it and don’t be embarrassed to “live below your means.” Why spend half your monthly earnings on a swanky place when you can easily cut your rent in half with having roommates in a house?
If you can establish good habits young, you’ll have the money to buy your own place and allow tenants to do the renting.
Start cutting out the unnecessary costs. I’ve saved hundreds eliminating a cable bill and streaming everything with a Chromecast or HDMI cord.
You don’t need to do anything wild like taking cold showers and living in darkness, but just be mindful. Turn the heat down, turn the lights off when you leave, and you’ll be amazed at the difference in bills.
If you want to get real thrifty, cut the gym membership and get back to the good ole days of running, pushups, and pick up basketball.
You can even eliminate your cell phone bill a lot easier than you might think. With iMessaging and Whatsapp you can text and make phone calls for free with a WIFI connection, which is literally everywhere nowadays. If that seems too crazy, look at your phone bill – if you’re paying more than $50-80 a month you are doing something wrong. Get on a family plan or switch providers.
The Little Things DO Make A Difference
Doing all of these things might be a stretch, but if you can focus on a handful of new improvements, you’ll thank yourself. Once you create a routine, a lot of these things will come naturally and become a habit. That habit turns into a cheaper, healthier, more fulfilling lifestyle that will lead you on longer journey and to more places than you could have ever imagined.