Travel budget (or travel money) is often hard to build, especially if you are planning on going somewhere further than neighboring village. Flight tickets, hotels, food and local transport, not to mention museum passes and other entrance fees. No wonder most people can’t afford to travel every year – you still want to live and be normal, meaning going out with your friends once in a while or getting that new piece of furniture you have been planning to get for a while now.
But back to travel money – what is the best way to save on travels it? Let’s look at some options.
- Stock some cash and have it ready to grab special deal tickets. More about how to get those tickets, when to book and what you can expect is described in detail here: 20 Ways how to save on airline tickets Exactly how to stock the cash will be discussed in more details later in the article.
- Monitor hotel prices daily. Choose few options and keep an eye on the price fluctuation – hotel prices change often, so it’s wise and leads to good results (cheaper rooms). For more information on how to get the best hotel rate, read this blog post: How to save on hotels during travels Consider booking with Booking.com – they have a huge choice of hotels and offer some kind of protection if hotel turns their back on you. This situation recently happened to me – here is a blog post about that case – How Booking.com saved my trip
- Make your homework and explore the destination beforehand, using Google Maps, travel forums and reviews. There are hardly any places on Earth, where nobody has been before and you could certainly use their advice!
Now back to travel budget – how to generate one? Well, obviously, the easiest way would be generating some additional cash. There are many different ways, how to earn some extra $$$, and it all comes to someone’s special skills, knowledge and interest. For example, if you are good languages, you may consider giving language courses or doing some translation works. If you know your hometown well – you may try to become a guide (awesome way to meet new people!) and generate some travel money. If you own a house with spare bedroom – why not rent it out on Airbnb. If you enjoy driving – Uber could fill your pockets with some coins. Some people (like myself) like writing and generating content could bring in some extra dollars. Same goes for starting a blog – nowadays it is super easy with WordPress templates. By the way, this blog uses one of those plus a super easy and cheap hosting by Bluehost. If you are ready to hit the road, take a look at the travel jobs list.
Now all these options look good and attractive, but what if you can’t sacrifice you free time for extra work? Maybe you have some family commitment or just want to relax (assuming you are working full time already). Well, I have some good news – you may actually increase your savings without investing extra hours. It’s not a “Get rich overnight” type of advice though, more of a “Pull you sh*t together”. But it certainly works (tested!). The solution is simple – just DON’T SPEND! Easy as that!
So how exactly do you do that? That’s the hard part. Learning to be minimalist takes time and effort, and a lot of self discipline! But here is how you start:
- Create an excel sheet and write down all your expenses in one month
- Look critically at the list and try to imagine, which spending you could avoid
- calculate how much money you would realistically need for 1 week
- Starting next month, give yourself pocket money once per week (e.g. 50$). The rest is not to touch, unless it’s an emergency
- By the end of the month see how you managed and all unused cash deposit on a savings account.
I know that some expenses are unavoidable – food (obviously), gas, bills and rent. But even with these you could probably save some travel money. Here is an example: you are paying your internet provider 20$ per month. There are others, but you just like this one and been with them for ages. Here is what you do – go check on other offers, ask them for a better deal, then tell them you agree. As soon as your provider hears about you leaving them, they will make sure to make you a better offer! Best part – you won’t have to change anything. Your bills, however, may drop as much as 50%! That’s a 10$/month free money, right there!
Now let’s talk about take out coffee – many people love that and spend hundreds on those plastic cups. But think about it for a second – do you really need it right there or can you wait to get home? Most offices offer coffee for free anyway. It has become some kind of a trend, but being part of it is entirely your own choice. Brands like Starbucks are getting richer while you can’t afford those nice Thailand tickets..
While eating out is certainly pleasant and often necessary evil, it’s still damn expensive. Instead, try to cook yourself – it’s much healthier too, plus leaves you extra 100$+ for your future travels. On top of that, cooking is very relaxing activity and helps you build better relationships with your family and friends. You can a cool cook book or find some of those on the internet.
One more huge way to save is to stop going out and generally drinking any alcohol. Not only it is unhealthy and damaging, but it also costs a fortune. I could never understand people, who go to bars on the first weekend after salary. Not only do they end up with hangover (weekend is lost), but also with holes in their pockets. Going out is truly something for people with no dreams. Alternatively, if you need to go out, stick to non-alcoholic drinks or water (tab water is mostly free).
I could probably go on with the list of different expense areas, but I’m afraid it will get too personal. Everyone knows better, where their spending are hidden. But one thing is for sure – most people just don’t realize where the salary goes. Keeping an eye on all expenses is the first step in the direction towards your next awesome adventure! If you need some more advice on how to cut your expenses, these books are very helpful!
How do you manage to build a travel budget? Share your ideas and experience!
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