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How to Save Money for Travel, career break, sabbatical, gap year

Travelling is not cheap, there is no way of denying that you need a bit of cash behind you to travel, whether it is for one week or one year. Here are my top tips to save money for travelling. These tips are tried and tested as I used them when I was saving for my around the world trip.

How to save money for travel

TIP 1:


If you have a limited salary, it may be better to save for smaller trips, so the saving is not as daunting. Rather than trying to save for an around the world trip, which will cost thousands, why not start with a long weekend or a week and then build your way up. Or if you want to jump straight into a gap year, then you need to be realistic about how long it is going to take to save up for the trip.

How to save money for travel

TIP 2:


Find cheaper destinations, where your money will go further. For example, two weeks exploring Thailand or Cambodia will cost you a lot less, than two weeks exploring Iceland or Japan, where travel, food and accommodation come at a premium. The same basis in point 1, if you want to travel to expensive destinations you need to factor this into your budget and be realistic.

Don't forget to factor in flights, visas, equipment, insurance, vaccinations etc.

How to save money for travel

TIP 3:


Start tracking your spending, this is vital so you can look at what you spend each month, what you have left and what you can cut out. Then keep a running total of what you are saving each month, against your goal, as this will give you the motivation to keep saving when you see your pot increasing each month.

how to save money to travel, career break and sabbatical

How to save money for travel

TIP 4:


This is very important, you have to goal to work towards, or else you will find it hard to be dedicated to saving. Setting your budget comes down to your specific trip, i.e., the destinations, duration and travel style. I would recommend doing some research to see an average of accommodation, travel and food, to establish your daily budget. You can then times this by the number of days you are going away for. From experience, I would always add on a little extra to your daily budget and even if you don't spend all of your money, it's nice to have a contingency. Also, if you know you want to do activities like bungy jumping, white water rafting or glacier climbing, then you need to factor this in as well. 

Once you have set your budget and you know how much you can save each month, then you can start to think about setting a date. One tip would be to set the date 2-3 months later than you think, just in case you have any unexpected expenses. 

How to save money for travel

TIP 5:


I opened a separate bank account dedicated for travel. The day I was paid, I would move money from my current account to my dedicated travel account. I knew how much money I needed for the necessities and I knew how much money I would move across to my travel account, at the start of the month. I think this helps you cut down your spending, as if you only have £100 to last you until the end of the month, then you will think twice about your spending. There were a few months where I have had to transfer some money out of my travel account to my current account because I had run out of money. I know that I would have still spent less, not having that money freely in my current account to spend. Your aim should be that the money in your travel account should only be spent on travel-related expenses and only touched if you really need to. 

How to save money for travel

TIP 6:


Rent, bills, petrol and food are vital so there is no movement there (unless you could move back in with the parents to cut down your living costs, live off pot noodles and get lifts everywhere). What else do you typically spend your money on, eating out, alcohol, clothes shopping, makeup, etc? Everything you are about to buy, stop for a moment and ask yourself, do I really need this? If I went shopping I would ask myself, "am I going to bring this travelling?" and if the answer was no, I would make do with what I had in my wardrobe. Things like your morning coffee, costing £2.50, may not seem that expensive, but over 5 mornings a week, that adds up to £12.50 a week, £50.00 a month or £650 a year!!! Do you need that posh coffee, when your office has a kettle, milk and instant coffee? 

If you are tempted to go out for dinner, when you know you will spend £20, compare this to what you could spend that money on when you are away. For example, with £20 in Cambodia, that would pay for a hostel, with dinner and drinks and some more. It's surprising how quickly you stop surging using this technique.

Another easy way to save some money is to take your lunch with you to work. Before I started saving, I would happily spend £3 on lunch. Making a packed lunch the night before saves a surprising amount of money and this extra dosh will quickly add up. 

You will have to make sacrifices and you will have to get used to your friends calling you 'tight' but my response is usually, 'yes, I am tight because I am saving to travel the world.' You can't have your cake and eat it. For me, I would prefer to have tap water and save a few quid, even if I do look stingy, as I knew it would all be worth it when I got on that plane. Luckily, I like water.

How to Save Money for Travel, career break, sabbatical

How to save money for travel

TIP 7:


Have a walk around your house, you will be surprised what you could sell if you wanted to. CDs, clothes, DVDs, games consoles or even furniture, like they say, 'one mans trash, is another man's treasure'. There are loads of ways of you selling your unwanted rubbish. Head to the local car-boot, or get yourself on eBay or Sphock and get rid of some of your unwanted crap and make a few pounds while you are at it. Think back to tip 6, even if you only made £20, that £20 will go a lot further in a lot of countries in South East Asia. 

How to save money for travel

TIP 8:


Working overtime or getting a second job is not the most enjoyable way to spend your spare time but can help when it comes to saving money for travel. Depending on your job, you may get increased pay if you work overtime of unsocial hours, so is a win-win.

How to save money for travel

TIP 9:


When you start saving for travel, go through your direct debits and see if you can cancel any of them. Do you actually use the gym membership and is it necessary to have Netflix? They might seem like small amounts but every little helps and cutting down your direct debits means your savings will grow quicker.

How to Save Money for Travel, career break, sabbatical

How to save money for travel

TIP 10:


You will not meet your goal every month and that is fine, but if you do have a bad month, you have to get straight on track as soon as you can and keep going. My car decided to break down twice in two months and nearly £2,000 later, I felt like crying knowing how I could have spent that money while I was away, but that's life and the following month, I cut back even further and saved a bit more. I saved solidly for 2 years for our around the world trip and I'm not saying it is easy. It takes a lot of dedication, but if you want it, then you will stick to it. Just remember, it will all be worth it when you are sat on the beach, looking out to the crystal clear sea, with the sun shining on your back, with a coconut, cocktail or beer in hand. 

How to Save Money for Travel, career break, sabbatical, gap year

Have you got any other helpful travel tips which you have used when saving for travelling?


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How to Save Money for Travel, career break, sabbatical, gap year


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