Traveling can be really expensive especially if you have champagne tastes on a box wine budget. I budget out each trip in advance and always go over said budget, mostly due to all the in between moments of life that can’t be planned. Like you have a 6.5 hour layover in Denver and if would be really fun to bar crawl around the airport with your S/O and watch Stranger Things on Netflix. Do you say no because it’s not in the budget? No, you say yes to life and yes to Stranger Things! But I digress.
For the moments you can plan, there are many different types of ways to save money for your travels.
Creative Ways to Save Money For Travel
- The power of change. Collect all your loose change and take it to the bank solely for travel expenses. Honestly, a lot of people aren’t interested in their change and you could (politely) ask your friends and family for theirs. Pick up those pennies from the floor!
- Swap out a habit. Do you have some guilty pleasure habits that you throw money at? Maybe you go out to eat at work or like to get pumpkin spice lattes or get a new outfit every month. These kinds of regular habits cost you at least $100 month so set a challenge against yourself. Try to give up one habit for one month and set aside the money you would’ve spent for your trip.
- Learn a new recipe. A date with your beau can easily cost you $40 or more when you include an app and drinks. You can save a lot of money by creating a romantic atmosphere at home and cooking a fancy dish. Light some candles on the back porch and stream some mood music.
- May I have a water with lemon? When you do go out, try to keep your bill at the minimum. Do you really need a soda with dinner? Think about this: “The average U.S. household spends an estimated $850 annually on soft drinks”¹. That could an entire vacation right there!
- Have a yard sale. You’ll be amazed with all the things you hold on to that, in reality, have little meaning to you. You don’t have to get rid of Granny’s antique candlesticks but why exactly are you keeping a decade’s worth of birthday cards? Get a group of friends and family to do it with you so you’ll have lots of items to draw a crowd. Having other people help also makes it easier to set up, break down, and cover breaks for you.
Boring, Adult-ish Ways to Save Money For Travel
- Open a free, high yield savings account with no annual fees. My personal preference is American Express Savings which offers 0.90% APY. You can make transfers online, set up automatic transfers, and create different sub-accounts for certain things such as Travel Savings, Emergency Fund, House Down-payment, etc. My sister likes Capital One’s 360 Savings which has 0.75% APY and the same benefits.
- Put a few acorns away each month. Break down your trip budget into monthly payments and then transfer it to your savings account so it can’t be spent. If your trip is one year away and costs $800 then transfer 70 bucks each month.
- Create a realistic budget. I like using the app Mint because it does all of the work for you. It breaks down your transactions to show you how much money you spend in certain categories like gas, groceries, and dining out. Once you monitor your monthly habits it’s a lot easier to see where you can cut superfluous expenses.
- Bank smarter. Why do you pay foreign transaction fees, buy checks, and get overdraft fees? Learning to be fiscally responsible is the most dull hobby I’ve ever acquired but also the most useful tool in avoiding debt and living within my means. There are so many options with what to do with your money that you really don’t have to be tied down to one bank or one account. I have a different bank for my checking, savings, and two credit cards because each one had the features I wanted out of that kind of account. I could write a whole article about this and maybe I will. Find options with 0 fees, fraud protection, and some kind of reward structure like cash back or frequent flyer miles.
- Really examine your recurring bills. You can save money on your power bill by washing clothes in cold water, changing the thermostat by 3°, and washing dishes by hand. If you aren’t using your gym membership on a regular basis then it wasn’t really a good idea. Do you really care that much about cable TV or would you be just as happy streaming the shows and movies you do like?