30 Ways I Save Money for Travel

Time for hot water + lemon

I’ve never met anyone who didn’t enjoy traveling.

It seems to be quite the ideal life for me, and I’ve seen many successful travel bloggers combine fashion + travel blogging + lifestyle in a beautiful way. Since I love all these things myself as a global twenty-something, I thought I’d start writing about my own travel experiences and lifestyle/ fashion decisions.

Regardless, having money to travel isn’t for everyone. While a few people are lucky to have a money tree already, others have to save and save and wait until the time is right. I, personally, fall somewhere in the middle. I’ve always been financially secure, thanks to my wonderful parents, but I’ve paid my own way most of the time. My own travels have taught me that going around the world can easily get quite expensive.

Below, my top 30 tips on how to save money for travel:

1) Don’t spend money on packaged drinks.  I really like L’Croix soda when I want to buy something to drink at a store, because it doesn’t have artificial sweeteners in it and it’s always less than $1. Unless you’re really needing it, packaged drinks are overpriced for the amount you get inside the bottle.

2) I stopped buying new clothes. I’ve found from my travels that lighter really is better, and I never used more than a few changes of clothing. I buy my clothes at thrift stores, online, or at heavily discounted prices. Plus, you can’t take a lot of clothes with you. For my own travels, I’ve kept it to no more than a rolling suitcase.

3) Whatever luggage limit the airline asks for, I never go over that. In fact, I once went to Germany with nothing more than a shoulder bag stuffed with clothes (that was before the fashionable backpacks became popular). It was the easiest thing because I never had anything to weigh me down.

4) Avoid behaving like a tourist. Unless you want to, of course, but I’ve found that acting like a local leads to being charged local prices in super-touristy areas, and you can avoid getting sucked into a lot of impulse buys that way.

5) I donate my clothes at Goodwill and find new ones mostly from thrift stores. I like to change things up all the time. It’s easy to do that when everything costs less than $5.

6) Rent an apartment instead of staying in hotels. Or book on Airbnb. If you’re going to stay for a few weeks, live in an apartment instead of hotel/hostel. It’s much more cost-effective.

7) I sold my car and walked/biked everywhere for two years. While I did buy another car after that so I could go on road trips, I’ve found, since I live in a small town, I really don’t even need it.

8) Make dinner instead of eating out. It’s really fun, and plus, it’s a lot more interesting if you have friends who are also good cooks.

9) Drink water at the bar. Since I love to stay active, I’ve found I feel better without drinking, so I’ve rarely drank for the past 4 years. Besides, I tend to get into strange situations when I do…so it’s better to skip the overpriced drinks anyway and observe the fun. Plus, my mind is more alert that way.

10) Skip the takeout/frozen section and eat a healthy diet. I’ve learned that frozen/processed foods cost a LOT more than making them from scratch, so I stick to pasta, rice, steamed vegetables, baked vegetables, and fish for the most part. I’m not a meat-eater, unless it’s a rare celebration.

11) I sold my old clothes to thrift stores and walked away with a little bit of money — usually about $20-30 dollars every time.

12) Downgraded my phone plan. I have a basic phone that accepts calls and texts. Besides simplifying my life by not having a data plan — and spending an increasingly large amount of my time looking at the internet on it — I feel a lot more free without having a smartphone. I still use my Smartphone when it’s connected to WiFi, not but as intensively as before.

13) I gave up my gym membership and started exercising in the great outdoors. I really like being outside, and I really don’t miss being in a gym.

14) I stay with my parents when I’m not traveling. Some people give me funny looks when they hear this, because I graduated from college on a scholarship and am an intelligent person — but the thing is, they’re super cool people who are a lot of fun to be around, and I like having the freedom of being able to take off on a whim without being stuck with roommates and rent. Besides, I love where they live.

15) I stopped buying magazines and go to the library to check things out if I want it. It’s great that I have a super-cool library with lots of free resources, like these giant desktop Macs outfitted with every program you could desire and free music recording studios…

16) When I did live out of home, I’d cook things in bulk and live off that until it was finished.

17) I even tried growing some of my own vegetables, but unfortunately, the friendly deer ate them all up…

18) I would borrow movies from the library to watch on my computer, watch movies online, go to the free showings at the local cinema.

I Found New Ways To Make Money.

19) I started writing as a content writer for a writing agency for about a year and got paid per article.

20) I worked part-time jobs in retail and food because modeling is a part-time occupation for me, since I don’t live in a big city. I worked as a waitress for 6 weeks in a hotel and while the tips were nice, it wasn’t for me. Okay, everyone in the entertainment industry does this now and then, but I did it and learned I don’t want to do it ever again, so I’m learning about new ways to make money with my brain instead of physical labor.

21) I started writing as a freelance journalist for various publications, and for a brief stint, I wrote calculus solutions for Chegg, Inc. textbooks. That was random.

I Learned To Value Money.

22) I’ve had life pretty easy so far. My scholarship money paid me extra to go to college, so I don’t have any student debt. For the last few years, I’ve been able to live comfortably on savings and working part-time, with a lot of free time to write, get better at making music, and live a wonderful bohemian artist life. But I’ve also learned that it’s easier to spend money than to make it. So, I learned to budget by putting receipts into separate envelopes for a month, and figuring out how much I really spent on everything. That was an interesting experiment!

23) I stopped paying premiums for anything. When I was 18, I had no problem paying $700 for a week long round-trip flight to Miami. Now, that’s unthinkable for me. While it’s less luxurious, I’ve learned to take the low-cost air carriers to connect from big cities to smaller ones and avoid traveling when prices are sky-high last-minute. ITA Flight Matrix is my favorite site for finding the most cost-effective day to fly.

24) I started using shared rides on Uber. When I was in LA, I did this a lot, because I discovered a shared ride was much cheaper than paying for it without, and the people I met were often very interesting.

25) I take advantage of free stuff. Like going to free music shows, free art galleries, and experiencing life without paying money for it.

26) I learned it’s not bad to sit in the cheap seats at shows. I paid 7 Euros for a last-minute ticket to see the Swan Lake ballet in Munich earlier this year, more out of necessity than anything else, but I loved being part of the crowd and I enjoyed the performance a lot anyway.

27) I watch my savings account. I seem to prefer spending money than making it, and have found that it’s really, really easy to spend thousands of dollars traveling around in Europe and expensive cities, so I’m starting to learn how to use flight deals, travel to lesser-expensive cities, and overall, learn how to stretch the value of money farther.

28) Say no to premiums for flight changes. Once upon a time, I would have paid a lot of money to extend my flight, but those times are past. I’ve learned life goes in one direction, and it’s really more fun to enjoy the moment and not try to make it last past its due. So, when my travel date comes to an end, I don’t try to extend it with ghastly airline fees anymore.

29) I’ve learned that expensive doesn’t always mean better. Business majors all know price doesn’t equate to value, and I’ve been learning that quality doesn’t have a single price point.

30) Overall, I’ve started learning to be more aggressive in pursuing what I want. While it used to easily fall into my lap, I’ve found that being blessed with a dream life comes much easier when I actively pursue making my dreams into a reality. People are always so willing to help. And I’ve got an infinite hunger for life and adventure.

Until next time! Keep on exploring.All in all — having the internal satisfaction of a satisfying life is far more important than struggling to keep up with any trend! Go do it. Follow your own dreams. It’ll be worth every perceived sacrifice.

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