Out of all the luxuries in the world, travel is probably one of the most rewarding to spend money on. There’s no doubt that taking the time off and saving up enough money is a challenge for many people, but it’s possible for most people to have the trip of the lifetime if they’re willing to discipline themselves in order to save money.
Even if you’re not making insane amounts of money, you can still find the means to travel. It might take a while and it won’t be easy, but you might be surprised in just how attainable an amazing trip is if you put in the work.
So, are you interested in saving up money for an incredible trip? If so, consider some of these methods to build up your travel fund.
Cut Out the Unnecessary Subscriptions
You probably don’t need to live the ascetic life of a monk when you’re saving up for a trip. However, it makes sense to cut out unnecessary luxuries that aren’t worth what you’re paying. The most obvious thing to consider eliminating is your cable bill. People are getting rid of their cable at historically high rates and instead opting for cheaper subscription services.
If you want to keep your cable, that’s completely fine. However, you can still save money simply by calling up your cable provider and asking for a discount. Sometimes a little skillful negotiation can go a long way.
For more savings, check with your mobile provider and see if there are any cheaper subscriptions available. Maybe you don’t need as much data as you’re paying for, or a new promotion offers better savings. Saving even $10 a month adds up nicely over time.
Finally, take a good look at your credit card bills and see if there are any recurring charges that you’re being hit with. Maybe an old magazine subscription is automatically recurring or some digital service you never use. Do a quick audit and cancel anything that you’re not using or you don’t remember signing up for.
Learn Some DIY
A lot of people tackle DIY projects just for the fun and challenge of it. If you’re not interested in that as a hobby, you can still learn some basic DIY skills in order to save money. The easiest of these to learn is how to change your car’s oil, which can save you $15 each time you do it. The whole process takes less than 10 minutes once you know what you’re doing.
It might not sound like much savings, but $15 can get you a night’s accommodation and an excellent meal or two in many parts of Southeast Asia. Everything you save adds up over time, too.
Some other projects that you can tackle on your own include interior painting, repairing your own computer and — if you’re looking for a challenge — basic plumbing. If you’re the outdoorsy type and you have the space for it, then looking into growing your own vegetables to eventually cut down your produce costs or expenses at the grocery store is also a great way to save money.
Set a Goal to Save Money to Travel
Saving money can sometimes be more mental than physical. In order to stay on track and ensure that you’re regularly making progress, set goals and milestones for yourself. The milestones, such as saving X amount of dollars a month or saving enough for the airfare, are there to make you feel good. Hitting each milestone helps push you forward to the next one.
The goal, which is how much you expect to need for the trip (plus some extra for unexpected costs), gives you something big to work towards.
Get a Rewards Card
You’re still going to need to spend money even when you’re trying to live a frugal life. It that case, it probably makes sense to do your research and get a good rewards credit card. Many companies offer travel rewards and let you erase the cost of previous purchases based on how many points you’ve earned.
Perhaps an even more important benefit of getting a credit card is the luxury of finding a good travel card. If you’re going abroad then you need a card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. These fees, often several percentage points on top of what you’re already paying, can really put a hurting on your budget. The best travel cards will save you money before you leave with their rewards and on the road without their fees.
Create a Travel Fund
When you’re saving lots of money, you’ll be more tempted to spend the excess funds on whatever catches your eye. To avoid that, set aside your money in separate banking account that can’t be accessed on a whim. This won’t necessarily grow your money, as interest rates are pitifully low these days. Still, they’ve very convenient when used in conjunction with automatic deposits from your main account.
What the separate account does is ensure that the money isn’t withdrawn until it’s time for the trip. If you put the money in your main account, it’ll be far too tempting to use it for something not travel related.
Saving for travel isn’t always easy, but it’s definitely worth the effort. Stay focused and don’t lose sight of the ultimate goal — an amazing trip to somewhere you’ve never been before.