How to Save Money to Travel the World

How to Save Money to Travel the WorldI wrote an article earlier this year about ways to travel cheap. I wanted to inspire people to travel. Make them understand that it’s really not as far-fetched as it seems. So while I named 25 ways to save while traveling, I didn’t mention how to get started. People always ask me how I can afford to travel. The answer is ridiculously simple: save money. Here’s how I’ve been able to travel to 10 different countries in the past 2 years:

1.  Have a goal. Have something to save towards. Pick a destination. Plan a trip. Figure out the costs. Then work towards it. When you have a realistic and viable plan, it’s easier to save money. Start with something small: A day trip to the local vineyard to go wine tasting. Figure out all the costs, plan with other people so you’re held accountable (and keep them accountable as well!) and then make it happen! Then, work up to something bigger – a weekend trip or backpacking through Europe!

How to Save Money to Travel the World2.  Think of the OPPORTUNITY COST. (Were you forced to take Economics like me?) When you go to purchase something, think of what the alternative could be. Should I get a massage for $90? → No, that’s half a flight to Japan, a night in a relatively nice hotel (or 3/4 nights in a hostel), six massages in Thailand, or food for a week while abroad. For every dollar you don’t spend now, that could be money you’re saving towards the next big adventure. Seriously, think about it with every purchase you make. Don’t get me wrong – always enjoy life and don’t starve yourself to save money, but think about the unnecessary things you can cut out. This mindset will change your life.

3.  Don’t blow money on the weekends. It’s so easy (and fun) to do, but you can still have fun on a budget. I’ve preached about pregaming a thousand times and I’m still very much PRO-predrinking, despite the fact that I’ve been out of college for almost 2 years now. One of my favorite parts about “pregames” is the social aspect – get your close friends together to hang out before going out. You save money, spend quality time with your friends without having to scream over the music in a strobe-light flashing club, and drink the alcohol you want. Having fun on the weekends doesn’t always have to equate to spending half your paycheck.


You can still do as Rebecca Black does and get down on Friday, Friday

4.  Have a piggy bank. Yes, like a porcelain, hollow, (preferably very colorful) adorable little pig you put money into, although a savings account works just as well. I’ve always had one and it’s nice to be able to literally count the money you’ve saved. If you’re a server, this works especially well since you get paid in dolla bills on a daily basis. In addition, have a separate savings account that isn’t attached to your current checking account. Deposit money into this account and shred the card. I sometimes have no self control so this helps suppress my urge to go on drunken shopping sprees. Yes, drunken shopping sprees. That’s completely normal, right? 

How to Save Money to Travel the World5.  Decide beforehand how much of your paycheck you’re going to save. Don’t just try and “save” what you have left at the end of the month. Put a fraction of it aside right when you’re paid. When I was a server, I decided to save $50 every shift. Sometimes this meant I had $100 extra to play with, sometimes it meant I had $10. When I started making a lot more money, I started keeping only $50 a day and then saving the rest. And twas the story of how I saved $9000 in 6 months before moving to Australia. While teaching abroad now, I immediately transfer half of my paycheck into my savings.

6.  DESTROY AND PAY OFF ALL CREDIT CARDS. These things are evil. Sure, they’re sometimes helpful but don’t let them tempt you! It’s good to have one or two credit cards open, solely just to build good credit, but don’t go overboard. I’m guilty of this, which is why any credit card I now have is shredded. If you DO have credit cards, get the ones with good rewards – flight points/miles, hotel nights, discounts, etc like the Southwest Chase card or American Express.

How to Save Money to Travel the World7.  Keep a record. Write down (or use an excel spreadsheet, which is what I prefer) how much you’ve saved each day/week/month to keep yourself motivated. Write down the costs of your upcoming trip. Write down how much extra excursions/activities will cost. Write down how much you’ve already spent on flights/hotels, etc. Write down how much you want to save each month and where that money will come from. Seeing it all written down together will help you calculate how much more you need to save, how awesome you’re doing at saving, and how easy it is to save – all while getting you pumped up for your trip! (This is one of my favorite things to do in preparation.)

I can't keep my room organized, but I sure as hell can make some killer efficient Excel spreadsheets.

I can’t keep my room organized, but I sure as hell can make some killer efficient Excel spreadsheets.

8.  Find all the best deals when you start spending money towards your trip. Which is where 25 Ways to Travel Cheap will come in handy 🙂 (how to save on flights/hotels/activities, how to minimize and sever ties at home before traveling, etc.)

How to Save Money to Travel the World9.  And then there are the obvious ways: don’t eat out every day, don’t buy designer clothes and shoes, save on bills by not using so much energy/water/gas, work on DIY projects rather than buying new things, skip the morning Starbucks run, pick up extra shifts at work (or pick up a side job). All of the little things put together make a difference. These little things are also good for the environment,  your health and of course, your piggy bank 🙂

10.  Lastly, write it down. Whether it be on your blog, in your diary, on Twitter or on Facebook. Hold yourself accountable. Show others (and mostly yourself) that you have a goal that you are working towards. It makes it more real, it makes it more exciting, and it makes you more likely to achieve your goal!

Happy saving 🙂


  1. This is great! The tips are fantastic. Little things add up! 🙂


  2. Great post! I agree that NOT buying all the extras makes such a huge difference to your savings. We saved so much money simply by brewing coffee at home, instead of buying at Starbucks.

    When we were traveling RTW, we used this free website: and it was totally easy and awesome for tracking dollars spent. It does all the charts and averages and categories FOR you… 🙂


    1. Awesome! Thanks for the link, Shelley! It’s crazy how little things really do add up – and then you get into these money-saving habits that are good for life! Thanks for reading 🙂


  3. It seems as if you just took a bunch of pictures of money haha but very good advice. I’ve actually begun saving for my first trip! Probably to Mardi Gras though!


  4. […] How to Save Money to Travel the World ( […]


  5. This is so great, hun. Too many of my friends from back home wondered how I could afford to travel. I’m gonna redirect them to this next time I ask. 😉


  6. Reblogged this on Postcard and commented:
    This is exactly what I’m trying to do at the moment, even while I plan on being in school for the next 5 years, I know I’m going to travel the world on a low budget to get the full experience as soon as I have the money.


  7. My husband was a university professor. We took advantage of every opportunity to take students abroad in classes the university offered in foreign countries. His room and flight were covered by the program. The fact that I shared the room was not mentioned. My work covered mine and our children’s room and airfare. We were traveling with three children. We learned to stay places where breakfast was included in the room price and bought most lunches from the grocery. Diner was usually in a very nice restaurant.


    1. Food is probably what people spend the most on! Smart of you to save on breakfast and lunch and then splurge on dinner – while it’s good to save money, you should definitely try the foreign cuisine as well!


  8. Phoebe Yglesias · · Reply

    Wow!!! Did I raise you right! I am so proud of you! Miss you and love you VERY MUCH!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great tips! I saved money every month while I was teaching. Some of my friends really struggled and asked me how I was able to save money. All I did was send a million won home as soon as I got paid, rather than waiting for what was left at the end of the month. I also had to pay for my flight upfront so I just saved what I was given back as flight allowance for travel while I was in Korea. Worked well for me!


  10. “No, that’s half a flight to Japan” I’ve used that sentence a lot!!
    I always start the 7, but fail in the first week.


  11. This post was an instant win for me when I saw the Rebecca Black GIF. She. Is. EVERYTHING.

    Also, great tips! I made sure to pay off all my evil credit cards before travelling – it meant that I didn’t have to worry about making payments each month that I was on the road, and the money I was using came without a sense of guilt attached to it.

    Although I have to admit, that spreadsheet looks waaaay too complicated for me…yet something I should probably do.


  12. I agree the Rebecca Black gift made this post for me! Haha really solid advice! We always get asked from people back home how we do what we do and although these are much more practical tips, I always just say it’s about intention, which is what all of these things boil down to. We have friends and family that “dream of leaving” but all of their purchases and life decisions speak of a different story. Those things have to line up!


  13. Great tips! I am a big fan of the ‘opportunity cost’ method of saving (International Business student!). It really helps put things in perspective when you’re saving towards a goal.

    I was also amazed by how much going out adds up. I stopped going out on the weekends for a spell and saved hundreds of dollars. Sheesh!

    Awesome spreadsheet 😉


  14. This one is going up on my wall. Really need to get more in gear about saving. I’ve made some of the moves that you mention, like not eating out and such. Excel is the next step for me. Tough to stick with.


  15. #2 is so key for me and I am always thinking about. Much of the time, I don’t even realize I’m thinking of a purchase in relation to my future travels. Keeping future travel as a continuous perspective whenever I’m spending ensures that I don’t unnecessarily spend on things I don’t need.

    Good, simple tips that can easily be forgotten. Thanks for the reminders!


  16. These are great tips! My biggest expense that I TRY to skip when traveling is coffee! Coffee around certain parts is pretty expensive and I’m used to having at least 2 cups a day. It’s hard to nix but definitely saves me a few bucks!


  17. All great tips. My word of advice to most is to turn saving into the thing you want the most. Here’s my post on the topic!


  18. Great tips! Thank you very much. I’m planning a trip to Australia next year and I really need to start saving. I’m trying to follow some of your tips 🙂


  19. I have major spreadsheet envy! Haha have you posted an example spreadsheet somewhere for your readers to use? If so, please let me know!


    1. I don’t, but that’s a brilliant idea, Dylan! I will get working ASAP! haha


  20. Thank you so much for this!! This will help me out a lot! I’m loving the spreadsheet idea, and writing things down has helped me with a lot. I keep thinking no way I’ll be able to travel anywhere, especially before kids/mortgage and all that.

    P.S. Where’s #4? 😉


    1. Holy crap how are you the FIRST person to ever point that out?! I posted this almost a year ago so I don’t even remember if it was accidentally edited out or if I just temporarily forgot how to count. I feel like I’ve been lying to everybody 😦 haha thanks for pointing that out!


    2. Have no fear, I’ve found #4 – thank God for WordPress saving all 31904812 revisions I do to every single post haha!


  21. Reblogged this on melanintov and commented:
    Im am planning to travel to Thailand and I absolutely love these tips.


  22. tamarasw · · Reply

    I love your practical ideas for saving money on trip expenses and also setting goals for upcoming trip expenses. I’m also a frugal traveler, and I shared some of my ideas for saving up/earning money for a trip on my blog at


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