Whenever you think about travelling for a long period (considering six months or more), you get stuck on financial issues, right? You're not alone in wondering how to save money for travel.
Because travel incorporates a lot of spending. Suddenly the question becomes “how can I afford planes tickets, hostels, food for breakfast, lunch and dinner, a couple of beers, parties and sightseeing?!”
You come down to one simple conclusion like: “I'll have to work for years before I can even afford a backpack”; or “I need to win the lottery”; or even; “I wish my parents were rich!”.
First things first, calm down and stop the 'Don’t Happy, Be Worry' mindset.
If you really want to travel, set your sail and drift away from your day to day life, meet new people, experiences new things and places, have in mind that you can and you should do it. Money saving is easy when you know how. And there are better ways than maxing out your credit cards.
Along with this guide, we've also put together 21 Ways to Save Money While Travelling.
In this article we cover:
- 1. Saving Money for Travel - 6 Top Tips
- 2. Save Money while Travelling - 8 Travel Tips
- BONUS: Make Money after your Travels
- Summary: Save Money for Travel
1. Saving Money for Travel - 6 Top Tips
Ok, let's start by focusing on how to make money for travel. Let's face it, you won't get very far without it!
Before your trip, remember Benjamin Franklin's wise words: “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”
Before putting your backpack on your back, you will need a lot of preparation and obviously save and raise some money – but you can be sure that once you know that every cent you save and raise is going directly to your big trip, you won’t find it really hard to do. So let’s start with an important part of your big trip: the preparation!
On your marks… get set…
1.1 Work (full time, part time, extra job)
Work, work, work and earn extra. This might seem obvious, yet it is the best way to start saving - fast.
The easiest and most common thing is to look for an extra (part-time) job if if you're already working full time. Have a look for some tasks paid over the internet that don't take up too much of your free time – there are a bunch of websites that will pay for you to perform some tasks, take a look at Fiverr and Upwork.com are a good options.
Anyway, expect that you will need to work hard to see that extra cash steadily increase. Work your butt off for your trip, it will be worth!
1.2 Sell Stuff you Don’t Need
Another thing you can do is to turn your house upside down and find a bunch of stuff that nobody uses anymore. Whoever says they don't hoard unnecessary stuff is lying!
Hold an auction, throw a garage sale or put your items up online for a quick and easy sale.
You can’t imagine how much money you can get for the old stuff you keep and that you don’t really want – from university books, to old cell phones and clothes worn once.
Consider this also a valuable lesson for your trip: although your backpack will be like your house, it’s weight must be completely different. So, the bits you are selling now represent all the things you will have to throw away or give away during your trip - for the sake of your back.
1.3 Make the Most of Gifts
Let’s be honest, travelling for more than six months will be a new experience that you won’t forget, so take advantage of your birthday, Christmas, graduation or any other relevant day where someone may give you a gift.
Spread your dream and intentions among your family and friends and use these gifts to gather some money or something you can use during the trip. Instead of getting the latest gadget or some 80€ jeans, ask for cash to put toward your trip ticket, travel credit, book a hostel or even a special place or tour to enjoy during your trip.
Read: When to Book Hostels? Tips for spontaneous souls & pre-planners.
1.4 Create a Blog
Whether you know something or nothing about creating a website, creating a blog is as easy as entering Hostelz.com website.
Just use a free provider, such as Blogger, Wordpress or Travelpod and start writing about your plans, ask for some tips about your itinerary and make sure you share it with your friends throughout social media websites.
The blog is something you should use before, during and after your trip as it can be a source of income – from advertising you can expose through Google adwords or even a sponsor, or just to have a place to show your writing skills and style to companies which could use a travel writer.
Share texts, photos, movies… everything (!), but don’t forget to be yourself in everything you post. Remember also that a blog shouldn’t be only about you, instead do it about what you think people will like to read – this is the success factor for any blog.
Ah also, don't forget to create a donations page... people you know and help along the way sometimes like to contribute, as well as family or friends... spread the word!
1.5 Apply for Sponsorship
Yeah, you’re not a sports star, so why would someone sponsor your big trip, right? Wrong! Don’t underestimate yourself, and don’t think of a sponsorship as a way of someone else paying for your entire trip.
Instead, think about your itinerary, the things you would like to try and think which companies are related to it. Be original and make a proposal.
If you’re going to have a car during part of your trip, that’s a good spot to advertise, just make sure you make some videos and photos where the car is present and share them over Facebook, Youtube etc and convince the company you will be adding value to them: visibility!
If you think you are going for the highest bungy jump in the world, contact an adrenaline brand and propose to make a video of the jump in your underwear with their logo somewhere – use your imagination. I mean, you have thousands of opportunities, just be creative, persistent and think of the right brands and contact the marketing team.
1.6 Adjust your Lifestyle
No matter how much your monthly budget is, there is always something you can reduce in your expenses.
Write down all your expenses per month and you will be amazed by some opportunities to save some extra money: at least one less coffee or one less beer during the week. Remember, everything is going toward your dream trip!
Look everywhere. The costs you usually have with your home and how you could save a bit more, look at what you spend on transportation and if there is some other way to spend less – is biking a possibility? Switch the car for your feet and see that you no longer need that gym membership.
And the most important of all: don’t eat out, cook at home! Yes, if you don’t want to spend fortunes on food during your trip, you will have to cook your own meals, so why not to start now… don’t be lazy, come on! If you are not a good cook, it is better to try to learn something now than suffering during the trip.
2. Save Money while Travelling - 8 Travel Tips
Time to go… set your sails!
But hang on a second, what about saving money while travelling?
During your trip make sure you remember:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain
Now that you are prepared, don’t get scared by the travel budget you have set yourself and how long it might last. Basically, there are cheaper ways to live while travelling without ending up stranded somewhere with an empty bank account (hopefully).
During your trip you will find three things that consume a lot of your budget:
- accommodation and
- moving from one place to another.
Here are some tips on how to save money in these three areas and how to raise some extra money during your trip.
2.1 Sleep & Work for Accommodation at a Hostel
Did you know that you can find all the best hostels in the world right here on Hostelz.com?
Hostels are the best: affordable, social and fun. It's the perfect way to save money and meet other like-minded travellers. We wouldn't suggest staying anywhere else on your travels.
There are also so many reasons to consider working in a hostel - we absolutely recommend it.
New to hostels? Here are some handy guides:
- Are Hostels Safe? 11 Safety Tips for Hostel Travel
In many countries, some hostels have a great option for the budget travel nuts: you can work two to four hours in the hostel – making beds, cleaning some parts of the hostel or cooking – in exchange for a bed and breakfast, and sometimes dinner can be also included.
Tip: Make sure you contact the hostel beforehand about opportunities. Not every hostel offers work for accommodation.
2.2 Go WWOOFing or Worldpacking (volunteer)
Ever heard of it? WWOOF stands for Willing Workers on Organic Farms. In many countries you can have a great time working with a local farm in exchange for food and accommodation.
Take the best of this experience, enjoying the countryside, learning how to milk a cow, pick fruit, but most of all, sharing a life experience with locals and other travellers.
Check the WWOOF official website to find everywhere in the world a farm that needs you. Get prepared to share amazing stories about this experience while keeping your costs really low, meeting other travellers and hanging out with the locals.
Worldpackers is also a great way to find hostel jobs, learn skills and many other types of volunteering in over 170 countries. There is a low yearly membership fee though. However, this membership is paid off by just one placement, so it's totally worth it.
Read our indepth review of Worldpackers (+ other contenders) here.
2.3 Transform Yourself into a Chef
Make sure you are able to cook basic but nutritional food before setting of on your big trip, remembering to use simple ingredients you can get anywhere in the world, and preferably, cheap!
You can save a lot by cooking your own food while travelling. Hostels usually always have shared kitchens (check before you book) where you can unleash your cooking potential, so use them... and why not cook for some of the other travellers you like?
Don’t be afraid to ask if they'd like you to cook a traditional dish from your country and share the costs of it. It’s an easy way to meet more people and save a few bucks.
Check out these guides to support your chef endeavour:
2.4 Getting Around on the Cheap
Moving to your next destination is also something essential, so make sure you evaluate more than one option for travel to the next destination. Bus and train are usually the most available and cheapest options, but means a lot more time travelling than airplanes, for example.
Anyway, keep in mind that the travel experience is usually much richer with public transport. The other important thing about moving to the next place is the pace; I bet you already know that the fastest you move to the next place, more money you will spend, and less you will enjoy each destination. So don’t move too fast… your big trip is all about discovering and enjoying!
Hitchhiking vs. Sharing Travel Costs
Everybody knows that hitchhiking has some risks, so I wouldn’t see it as the first option for travelling inside a country. Although, there are some countries where the risks can be really minimized if you are not travelling alone, like New Zealand or some central European countries, for instance.
However, you don’t always need to stand on the road with your thumb out until someone stops to offer a lift. Nowadays, many hostels have a board where you can find people travelling the same direction as you. But the best way to do it, is get to know other travellers.
Usually they won’t stay in the same place forever, so find out where they are going, how they are going and when. Try to figure out if it makes sense for you to join them and if they would like to have you with them. Some people may offer you a ride – and this is actually hitchhiking – but it's always nice to offer to share some costs for petrol or snacks.
If no one has a car, see if it makes sense to gather some people, rent a car or a campervan and share costs, making your trip more flexible than taking a direct bus or train, and possibly saving something in accommodation if you take the campervan.
2.5 Write Reviews about Hostels on your Blog
This is a great way to keep your blog alive on your travels! Stay at an awesome hostel, write about it, and then share it with said hostel encouraging them to share a link on social media. It's an effective way to gain readers, too.
Some hostels advertise for bloggers to come and review them, in return for a free stay. That means more money in the travel fund! Always check official hostel websites for opportunities like this.
Did you know? You can also submit a new hostel on Hostelz.com - join our community and let everyone know if you find an excellent hostel that isn't yet listed on our site.
2.6 Try your Hand at Travel Writing
Each year, more and more companies are looking for travel articles to feed their blogs, their Facebook pages and commercial websites, having the most up to date information about some destinations or simply to follow someone during their big trip.
Other websites may ask you for some specific subjects and deadlines, and will probably ask you to show them your writing style, so share your blog with them… show them what you are worth!
Keep checking for opportunities during your big trip and ask other travellers for ideas. If you think nobody is looking for a travel writer, get creative and make some proposals. Videos and photos are also valuable assets when it comes to producing travel articles.
2.7 Get a Local Job
In this case, if you find a city, town or just a hostel you've fallen in love with (it happens), why not hang out there for a bit longer than initially planned? Earn money on the go and add to you savings account!
Find a part-time job in a bar, do some volunteer work, help out at the hostel, teach English or get lucky and train to be a local tour guide. You'll be amazed at the possibilities.
In some countries you will have to be aware of laboring laws, so check it in advance. For example in Australia, people from some listed countries can apply for a Working Holiday Visa, that allow you to travel and work up to 1-2 years. It's the same for New Zealand and other central European countries.
Again, Worldpackers and Woofing is a great way to find local jobs.
2.8 Try your Hand at Housesitting
Seriously, if you've never tried this, you've been missing out! When you're on a long-term adventure, it's easy to get sick of hostels and begin to desperately need some space to yourself.
Enter Trusted House Sitters. For a reasonable yearly subscription, you can apply to house and pet sit for people around the world. Essentially, you get to enjoy free accommodation, plenty of furry cuddles and meet lovely people in the process.
Housesits can last anywhere between 1 day to 6 months, and possibly longer!
BONUS: Make Money after your Travels
Everything comes to an end…
Hopefully when you have to go back home, you will be overflowing with perspectives and experiences, but you will also likely feel confused. What now? My suggestion is to remember these simple words:
"Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future." - Steve Jobs
When the end of your big trip arrives, you won’t be ready for it… trust me! Anyway, getting back to “real life” can be quite hard, so...
- resist the temptation to start work straight away,
- spend time with friends and family, and
- get used to 'normal' and simple stuff you missed during your travels
If you are running short of money, don’t forget you can still use some of the incomes you had during your trip and keep feeding that blog. There are other things you can look to…
Use everything you have from your trip
Ok, you arrived, so many stories, so many photos and movies, so many people coming to visit you… ok, make use of all those things!
Use your blog to create an idea for a book, something that would bring value to other fellow travellers, contact editors with your idea and give them some excerpts from your blog including photos. If you don’t get any positive answer, search for online editors.
If you have many followers of your blog, take advantage of that and redefine a strategy for it, keeping some revenues from advertising. Use some websites like Fiverr to sell some of your photos from specific countries you visited.
If you were able to raise some money during your trip, you shouldn’t be afraid of doing it now… get creative and think how you can use your new expertise about different places, your photos and movies, your stories and new friends from all over the world.
How to save money for travel as a student?
Ah, the student life. Alongside your studies look for a part-time job. Perhaps there's work at the college or university campus? Also, we know you're young, but go easier on the drink - it's costly!
How to save money for travel as a teenager?
Get out there and find some local jobs. Try delivering the newspaper, and asking neighbours if you can help out by mowing their lawn or doing some gardening.
What are some apps to save money for travel?
Trail Wallet is great for budget traveller - set a daily budget and manage expenses. Consider it a save money for travel calculator.
What are some good jobs to save money for travelling?
Everything from bar work and waitressing in a cafe, to becoming a life model in your spare time! See what's available in your local area and go from there.
Should I travel or save money?
Errr, TRAVEL! You have your entire adult life to do the serious stuff.
What are the best tips to save money when travelling?
That's what this entire article is about so if you skipped straight here, go back to the beginning!
Summary: Save Money for Travel
So there you have it; saving money tips to help you save money to travel in no time.
Remember: money is not what stops you from making this big trip… it is your will. How to save money for a trip? Make saving money to travel a priority if you really want to do it!
Don’t say you're incapable of saving for a trip; it's all about priorities. Anyone can do it if they work hard and focus. Spend money wisely and enjoy responsible travel.
We hope by now your mind is now telling you: Damn, I think I can do this! and your don't worry, be happy” mindset is now in tune with your dream! Good luck!
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