Saving Money for TravelPeople would often ask me ‘How do you save money to do so much travel?.’ The answer is simple: ‘I make travel my priority.’ If travelling is your goal, it is achievable for almost everyone. Once you have decided on your destination, you need to start saving money for travel.
The ability to travel is strongly influenced by two factors – the money you can save and the time you can take away. The second of these is highly dependent on personal circumstances and that is too complex to detail here. However, the first is subject to general rules that can enable you to save for your next overseas holiday.
Travelling is an expensive pursuit, and like everything in life, one cannot achieve their goals without sacrifices – it is the reality of life. It would have been impossible for me to travel as extensively as I did if I had not made sacrifices in other parts of my life. There was no other way to achieve this.
The list of items below involve a lot of sacrifices. You do not need to implement them all, but the more you do implement, the closer you will be to achieving your goal of long periods of overseas travel.
Reduce Short Domestic Holidays
One of the fastest ways to diminish your overseas travel funds is to take weekend breaks in your home country. This position is not helpful for domestic tourism, but it makes a lot of sense for your budget if you have expensive flights and accommodation to consider. During a ten year period I only took three weekends away, two for weddings and one for a cricket match – and this allowed me to take on average five-six weeks of overseas holidays every year – and considering the cost of flying out of Australia, this was quite an impressive effort. The average cost of a weekend break could equate to a week or more of accommodation in your chosen overseas destination – which would you prefer? Also consider avoiding domestic holidays during peak tourist times (such as Easter and long weekends) – this will almost guarantee that your dream of travelling to some distant destination never becomes a reality.
Consider it this way – what would you rather have do: Have five weekend breaks in your home country a year or have a three week holiday in an overseas destination? Yes, you do see a lot of people take weekend breaks, but remember, do they have overseas travel as their priority? Don’t follow what others are doing, follow what is best for yourself.
Food And Drink
This varies between countries, but what is the cheapest way to feed yourself? For destinations such as Australia and Europe, eating out is more expensive than cooking your own meals, whereas in parts of Asia, the opposite is true. Calculate the cheapest option (most likely to be cooking your own meals) and follow it, but do allow yourself an occasional indulgence as one doesn’t want to cook every night.
I have always been amazed by the amount of money people spend on coffee and other take-away food options during any given week. Even though it may only be five or so dollars a day, that adds up quickly over the space of an entire year (five dollars a day equates to more than 1800 dollars in a year, ten dollars a day to more than 3600 dollars in a year). My rule was that I only ate out once every two weeks, and I have followed this regime for decades. I calculated it this way – the cost of two restaurant meals would feed me for a whole week if I cooked at home – and so my decision to cook almost all of my own meals was born. Such a commitment does take more time and effort to organise (buying your grocery items and cooking them does take more time to ordering at a restaurant or cafe), but for this sacrifice, I was able to enjoy meals in foreign countries – a more than acceptable compromise.
I don’t drink alcohol, but people who do can easily spend large amounts of money in one night on this beverage. Consider this, what would you prefer – spending 40 dollars on alcohol during a night out in your home city, or spending that same 40 dollars on alcohol on a night out in your dream destination? Why not limit yourself to one or two drinks when you are out with friends instead of five? Do this every night you head out and you will find that you have a lot of money saved for your overseas holiday.
Entertainment And Socialising
This is a difficult balance to get right, and of all the money saving tips listed on this page it is the hardest to implement. Days or nights meeting friends and family that involve eating at a restaurant or going to a club or theatre afterwards can dramatically increase your costs. I’m a big fan of theatre, but restrict myself to four or five performances per year. You can still be social, but in a different form – a dinner party or picnic is cheaper than dinner in a restaurant or cafe maybe? This is even more problematic if your friends and family love heading to restaurants and cafes, but as I said earlier, this is the most difficult money saving tip to implement.
For example, I used to live in South Bank, Brisbane, Australia. It is a centrally located place (within sight of the CBD or Downtown area) that is considered Brisbane’s playground with a wealth of restaurants, parkland areas, cinemas and theatres. Because of my location, many friends would visit me and that would almost always involve heading out for a meal somewhere. It didn’t take me long to realise that this was severely hitting my budget. So I took a different approach – if people wanted to visit me in South Bank, I cooked them a meal instead. After that, we could walk around the area to explore one of Australia’s most beautiful recreational areas. I still got to spend time with my friends and they still enjoyed a meal at South Bank, and my bank balance was much happier as a result.
Latest Fashions And Trends
Consumer driven societies are relentless in their goal of having you spend more on different items. There is a difference between what you must have (needs) and what you would like to have (wants). Most times, what we consider needs are actually wants. Advertising tries to convince you that it is important to wear the latest fashions and to own the latest electronic gadgets – they try to convince you that you need something, whereas in reality, you don’t need it at all.
In order to travel, it is highly likely that you will have to dispense with being the first on the street to purchase the newest clothes of the season or the latest smart phone. It comes down to your priorities – what do you want the most? If you are reading this website, it is highly likely that travelling will be more important than the latest smartphone. If this is the case, don’t be tempted to buy something just because your friends and family are buying it. Remember their priorities may not be travel, and their idea of travel is to sit in a beach resort for 4 nights. However, your idea of travel is to spend 2 weeks exploring a faraway place – and this will cost you more than the beach resort – hence you will need to make some sacrifices.
If there is an important item you require, wait a few months for the price to drop or watch for sales and specials. This is particularly true of electronic items. Whenever a phone or camera is replaced by a newer model, the older model will see a sharp drop in price. If you have the patience to wait for that long, than put this idea into practice.
Apart from buying or renting a home, your biggest domestic expense will be a motor vehicle. Ask yourself this question: Do you really need that car? I personally relied on walking and public transport instead of having the expense of keeping a motor vehicle. If I do need to travel elsewhere, it is cheaper to rent a car for the required period than owning a car throughout an entire year – especially when considering the cost of petrol, maintenance, registration and insurance. If owning your own motor vehicle is not a necessity, consider selling.
Once you have saved the money at home, it is time to save money on your travel, and there are a wealth of options on offer. In summary, it is best to try a variety of methods when finding accommodation and flights – try provider websites (hotels and airlines), third party booking websites and travel agents. The key is to search extensively and often. More information can be found at the link immediately below: