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11 tips on how to save money for travel

how to save money for travel vacation travel tips travel budget

Everyone wants to know how to save money for travel

Everyone needs a summer vacation and some time to get away from it all.  However, with an economic recession, high unemployment, and people struggling financially, vacations and travel plans may not be a big priority.  Now is the time to learn how to save money for travel.

11 tips on how to save money for travel

Vacations don’t have to be expensive nor do you have to go far to get away.  So if you are looking for a family vacation or just a long weekend, here are some tips on how to save money for travel.

1.  Decide on your next vacation – How can you save money for travel if you don’t know where you are going?  Find a place, set a date, and strive towards it.  “Vacation” is what you define it to be.

2.  Track your expenses - Spend the next month writing down where you spend your money.  At the end of the month, total it up by category.  Note any trends in your spending habits.

3.  Create a budget - Saving money is nearly impossible if you don’t know where it is going.  So start a budget to track your expenses every month.  Need a guide on how to budget?  Check out how this post on how to create a budget spreadsheet – budgeting 101.

4.  Pick one item per week and eliminate it- Do you go out to lunch every day?  Do you buy coffee every morning at Starbucks?  Do you splurge by shopping online for clothes or buying the newest gadgets?   Eliminate one or more of these things once a week or once a month and put that money aside.  Here are some tips to help you get out of debt so you can travel more.

5.  Pay yourself - No matter how little it is, set aside money each month to pay yourself for that trip.  It cant be as little as $5 or $10 but reaching your goal means taking action, even with little steps or small amounts.  Set that money aside in an account or a place where it will not be spent.

6.  Staying within your budget?  Pay yourself more! – Did you spend $20 less on groceries this month than you expected?  Did you not spend as much on gas as you expected?  Rather than spend it, take the extra money that you budgeted but didn’t spend for each category and save it for your trip as well.  Put it in that savings account so you won’t spend it.

As the trip gets closer, here are ways to save when planning your trip:

7.  Research your trip - As the vacation draws closer, begin to plan a few months in advance.  Where do you want to stay?  When do you want to leave (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday have the cheapest airfares)?  Choose a budget option for hotels to save money.  Look for package deals.  Travel offseason.  Know when to buy your airfares (Tuesday afternoons have the best deals).  Know when peak travel days are.

8.  Create a budget for your trip - Just like home, plan a budget for your trip.  Decide how much you want to spend each day on meals, sights, souvenirs, and plan in advance.  You might save money by eating picnic lunches from food at the grocery store rather than eating at a restaurant.  Budgeting your trip lets you save money before you even leave.

9.  Sign up for Twitter and on social media sites - Sites like Twitter and Facebook are great at finding deals.  Some airlines have even announced airfare sales on Twitter only.  Connecting with others on Twitter and Facebook can help you plan your trip as well – saving you money.

10. Plan and track your trip online - If you want to put together an itinerary online, you can do that.  If you want to track prices of flights and hotels after you book, you can do that as well.  Follow these tips on how to get money back when you travel.

11. Packing for your trip - Packing light can be a great way to save on airline fees.  If you’re traveling by car, fewer bags mean better gas mileage.

As we look ahead, there is a lot of speculation on what is going to happen in travel.  Will there be great travel deals ahead?  There is never certainty when it comes to travel.

At least you know how to save money for travel so you can plan that next trip.

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  1. Kelly says:

    These are good tips! I also try to have “no-spend” days where I make it a point not to spend a cent.

    Works great!

    • Jeremy says:

      Many days are no spend days for me! One thing I try to do at home is bring lunch to work. It may not seem like a lot but if you do it three times a week, you can save $20 right there.

  2. Liz says:

    Great tips, a lot of making it work to travel is a little bit of research and some discipline. If you think out of the box, there are always ways to be able to travel for less. The best thing I do is have a monthly travel account, as soon as I get paid, I get an automatic withdrawal out of my bank account and into a high yield savings account in the “travel” bucket. I figure, if I never see the money, I have no need to miss it!

    • Jeremy says:

      That’s another great way to make yourself save – have it taken out automatically. I do that with my retirement and then I don’t even realize it is gone. By doing that with travel, it’s easy to save for the next trip without even realizing you are doing it. Even if you aren’t saving for a big trip, it gives you an excuse to plan a weekend getaway and see something new that isn’t far from home.

  3. Great tips, Jeremy! I keep a separate “vacation” bank account that I transfer a few bucks into every week. Before I know it, I have enough money for a plane ticket!

    • Jeremy says:

      Thanks Michael! I think it’s a good idea to actually budget for travel as well. Unfortunately, as the price of airfares goes up, you are going to need to save a little more!

  4. Grace says:

    I love number 5. That is my new mantra…every time I see a something in the mall that I want to buy. I stop and think: “Pay yourself!” I’m giving my hard earned money back to myself.

    • Jeremy says:

      Absolutely! It’s essential to live that way not only in travel but in our lives. We sacrifice something we want for something we want even more! It’s a good principle to live by, helps us live within our means, prioritizes our desires, and helps us realize we can’t have everything we want. Quite honestly, the more simple life is, I think the better it is. I think there is a LOT in our lives we can live without.

  5. The Dropout says:

    Another tip is to recalculate your spending by relating it to your trip.
    Do you want to spend $5 on a coffeeshop coffee at home or $5 for six beers in Vietnam? $100 for a new pair of jeans or three nights in Thailand? (Just plucking random figures out of the air. I have no idea how much a pair of jeans cost these days. I’ve been in shorts for four years, living in Asia)

    • Jeremy says:

      How nice it must be to live life with only shorts! As for savings, I think it is a general principle we all need to use and not just for travel. I am really a stickler for living with one’s means. So if you want something, then sacrifice something else so you can have it. If it’s something we consider doing for travel, it’s something we should live by in our everyday lives.

  6. Christine says:

    I’m like Kelly and have lots of no-spend days. But eliminating something is a great point too, however I consider having to line-dry my clothes here in Spain my sacrifice…and it saves money on the electricity bill! :)

    • Jeremy says:

      Christine – believe it or not I do the same thing when I travel. I wash clothes in the sink and hang them up in the bathtub or shower to dry. I also use clothes that dry quickly. That does save money when traveling as well! Not sure I could do it every day, all the time like you though! :)

  7. Another way to save money on accommodation and food is to arrange a home exchange. You don’t need to live in a large or luxurious home to find someone interested in swapping homes, and it’s a great way to ‘live like a local’ too.

    • Jeremy says:

      Home exchanges are a great idea! I am actually featuring a contest next week on a home exchange. It’s great for budget travelers and a great way to connect with locals and have a different type of travel experience!

  8. Norbert says:

    Pretty good tips here Jeremy. One of the things that help me the most to save and keep a budget is to pay myself first. Once that money is saved, it doesn’t “exist” anymore, so I manage my daily spending with the rest, which is roughly the minimum I know I can live well.

    • Jeremy says:

      I live by a budget and not just for travel. Not sure if you checked out by Budgeting 101 but that is a very simple version of the one I use at home. I budget for everything and one of the fun things for me is to have leftover money in categories that I can shift to savings or other areas for fun. It can be hard to plan for trips but budgeting the money and setting it aside at the very beginning is a great way to save and not even think about it.

  9. I don’t often spend less money when I arrive at my destination because I feel that I’m on holiday and try to do everything that I want whatever the cost. Where I save money is on the travel and accommodation arrangements. I find that booking my own flight and hotel is cheaper than an agent, but then you do get extra cost.

    The cheapest holiday I ever had was one where I had a week off work and decided to go a whim. I went to the airport and said, “where does the next flight go that has free seats”. I ended up in Cyprus for a weed and it only cost £100!

  10. Great tips! I like the pick one item and eliminate it!! We cut out many things in order to save for our 2+year RTW trip!

    • Indeed, in order to travel more, you need to prioritize the money that you have. Setting a goal is a great way to save money (regardless if it is travel or something else). Once we set our eyes on something, we realize how much we waste.

      Recently, I started making my breakfast every morning rather than going out to get a sandwich. I never spent a lot of money but it does add up.

      Good luck on saving for that RTW trip! When does it start? Where will you be going?

  11. When we were saving for our big trip, and if I saw something I wanted to buy, I would say to myself “I can get this for $100 or have an extra week in Cambodia” (or the equivalent). It worked!

    • Very good idea Nicole! Keeping things in perspective and always having that goal in front of you is a good way to put money saving on your mind at all times. Maybe I need to try this as well :)

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