Did you start the year out aspirational about your travel goals but then get a reality check from your savings account? You’re not the only one. Travel is enriching, educational and oftentimes expensive.
Yes, there are cheap ways to travel. Yes, flights are more affordable than ever. However, unless you’re able to work as you travel, you’ll rely on money you saved up for spending. The best time to start saving for a trip is now. Follow these tips to help get started, and you will be on your next adventure before you know it.
Start with a budget.
Do you know where your money is going every month? While budgeting doesn’t make you money, knowing how much money you spend and what you spend it on is crucial to figuring out what you can save.
No need to do it by hand these days. With apps like Mint and Pocketguard, you can easily see and monitor your spending categories. Once you’ve got the essentials budgeted, designate a certain percentage or dollar amount to put aside from each paycheck. Some banks can even do it automatically for you, taking the guesswork out and removing any temptation to skip this month’s savings.
Get rid of something.
Once you know where all the money goes, see if there’s anything you can cut off the budget. If you haven’t been to a gym in a minute, you might want to cancel that membership. Do you need your own Netflix account or can you find a few friends to split the cost with? Is Amazon Prime really necessary?
Subscription-based companies bank on the fact that consumers will keep their subscriptions even when they don’t use them. Sometimes, you don’t even need to cancel your subscription to save. Many companies offer lower, lucrative rates to persuade customers to stay.
Another way to cut costs? Eat in. It’s not glamorous to buy groceries wholesale and limit the restaurants, bars and coffee shops, but you’ll be surprised at how much money you can save by keeping your meals at home.
Get creative with your income.
If every dollar is spoken for and you need additional income, then you’re in luck. The gig economy has made it easier than ever to earn more money on the side. If you have a few hours to spare on a Saturday night, then try using delivery services like Postmates and Grubhub to deliver a few meals.
If you enjoy working with dogs, then Rover and Wag are two apps that connect dog owners and dog walkers. You can make yourself available for walks around your schedule. See, who needs a gym membership?
Use points as a currency.
At some point, it can feel like you’ve made as much money as you can with the time and energy you have available. That’s where points can come into play. If you’re in the travel game (or want to be), you quickly realize how often serial travelers utilize credit cards and loyalty programs to pay for their travels.
Two commonly used travel credit cards are the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. You can strategically use sign-up bonuses and cashback rewards to earn on your day-to-day purchases. A rule of thumb for this one? Use credit cards responsibly. Pay your balance off every month to avoid slipping into a dangerous cycle.
Travel should be accessible to everyone, but it isn’t yet. By being intentional and prioritizing travel in your life, you can build your savings much more quickly than you’d expect. My hope is that these tips will take you far. No matter where you go, and for how long you go, I hope that you leave behind a better place and come home a better person.
Have you ever wanted to travel but not had the money? Do you have any tips on saving up for travel?
Image via Raisa Zwart Photography