How to Save Money for Travel: Top Money-Saving Tips (You Don’t Need To Be Rich!)

by Budget Travel, Travel & Adventure77 comments

I started reading about your amazing story to freedom and you’ve inspired me in NUMEROUS ways! I’ve read your guide and it was very helpful to me, I’m already drafting up a plan to make travel my lifestyle. But can you discuss in more detail how to save money for travel? Saving a travel fund has always been a struggle for me, so I’d really be thankful for your advice.
Kim from the Philippines

If you have read my ‘How to Travel the World‘ article, you will see that in step #4, I gave out some guidelines on how you can start saving up for your travel fund while you are still in your job. But indeed, I understand that there’s a need for a more detailed discussion; that’s why in this post, I will be sharing with you the money-saving tips that I do so that I could travel the world. (How to Save Money for Travel)

On the other hand, if you haven’t seen that article yet, I suggest that you check it out first before reading the rest of this post because in order for you to start a travel lifestyle, you first need to know how much you would need — a.k.a. your travel fund. Besides, in that article, I have written out in detail the things that you need to consider in order to arrive at a total sum that you would have to work for.

Of course, it’s important to mention that there are travelers who don’t save up or plan at all for a round-the-world trip; it’s the highest level of spontaneity! But I don’t recommend doing this especially if you don’t have savings, if you don’t know what you’re doing, or if you have no experience traveling before (you still and always need to at least be informed about the places you’re going to).

Besides, this predicament usually happens for those who live in a big continent wherein they can just cross borders, hitchhike, etc. because if you have to cross seas, you evidently would need a plane or boat ticket for that which can get quite costly. You should also be knowledgeable about available accommodations, working options, foreign exchange rates, cost of living, language barriers, and so on.

So once you have a travel fund in mind, set a firm mindset and make it your priority. To start off, here are the 4 things that you need to reevaluate. Obviously, each of these sections would appear as ‘common conceptsbut I have included detailed money-saving tips, ideas, or steps for every heading so that you could better achieve your saving goals!

NOTE: These how to save money for travel tips would also apply if you generally just want to save money not just for a short travel trip but for just about anything too!

How to Save Money for Travel

» Identify & Cut All Unnecessary Expenses

How to Save Money for Travel

Photo by: Shutterstock

I perfectly know that this is common advice and you’ve probably heard it over and over again, but you have to realize how effective it is and how HUGE the positive effects could be if you do this step earnestly while learning how to save money for travel.

Back when I was still working at a company, I said that “I earned just about enough to live by myself every month” and that’s true. However! Once I analyzed in detail my spending habits, it was INSANE when I realized how much money I would still have left if I really put in some serious discipline!

To help you get started in identifying and cutting the non-essential splurging that you’re doing, consider the following:

Transportation Costs

If you don’t have a company car (that your work pays for), consider using public transportation instead of using your personal car so you can conserve gas fees — with traffic and rush hour, you’re probably just wasting away a lot of your wage as you sit in your car for hours.

Another alternative is to do carpool; maybe you have co-workers or friends who are going through your same travel route to the office.

If you’re already using public transportation, try to avoid taxis at all costs! It may seem cheap at first but examine this: let’s say you pay $5 for every one-way trip to your office — it might not seem a lot, right? But if you multiply that by 20 working days plus 20 more instances (when you use a cab again to go back home), that would all total to $180+ in a month. So imagine saving that instead!

I had this dilemma before because, given my long-standing habit of sleeping and waking up late, I am often forced to take cabs to reach the office on time. This took a huge chunk off of my paycheck — and so, I changed my habits: I conditioned myself to sleep earlier (skipping on my late-night internet sprees) so that I can still take the early AM public transportation the next day without facing the rush hour.

– – –

Utility Costs

If you live separate from your parents like me (this might be a common thing overseas, but in Asia, not so) there are a lot of things that you could look into for learning how to save money for travel.

  • Your Rent: Why not take a roommate to share the cost? Or change locations to somewhere closer to work? (This is so that you can slash off more from your public transportation costs). Or why not move back in to your parents house? (If you do this, all the other utility costs will be ommitted from your expenses, if not lessened).
  • Your Electricity: Recall all the energy-saving tips that you’ve learned over the years: turn off the lights when not in use, unplug unused devices, etc. etc. They really help!
  • Your Landline & Cable: Do you really need that landline subscription? I bet you already have your mobile phone and your internet connection, so why don’t you just cancel it? While you’re at it, take away your cable too. I don’t watch TV at all, but if you do watch TV from time to time, it’s possible that you’re not actually using your cable that much because you’re at work for most of the time.
    • To catch your favorite TV shows, think about watching them online on cheaper alternatives like Netflix (maybe you can share a subscription with a friend); otherwise, maybe your TV antenna can already get the basic channels that you want.
  • All Your Other Utility Bills: Pay them on time. Avoid the extra fees if you fail to pay before the deadline.

– – –

Shopping Costs

How to save money for travel? Minimize your shopping sprees!

In the past, I realized a ‘trend’ in my shopping habits wherein every Friday, I would go to the mall with friends. By the end of the night, I find myself with a bag of new clothes… that I eventually never wore. I restrained myself from doing that and I always end up saving at least $70~ every week!

Imagine, if you’re more of a shopaholic than me, I bet you’ll be able to save more than me if you take control of your expenditures! That’s why if you ever have the urge to buy, ask yourself these kinds of questions:

“Will I need these heels/shoes when I go backpacking around Asia?”
“Where can the value of this dress/suit take me if I rather put it in my travel fund?”

At the other end of the spectrum, if you’re a make-up addict, ask yourself the same questions. Besides, you really wouldn’t need your big make-up kit when you go traveling around the world; it will just be extra baggage.

Moreover, I’m pretty sure you can live with just one item for each type of cosmetics. Those would even stay good for long (6 months to a year) so you really don’t need to overhaul 10 different shades of lipsticks. If a life of travel really is a priority for you, it should be easy to sacrifice these; or better yet, sell them off so you can reach your travel fund goal even faster.

– – –

Social Spending

Do you like to party? In the past, my answer to that would always be a resounding YES. I was a party girl mainly because it was my way of celebrating the end of a (hell) week at work.

This habit was lavish so I decided to go for other options: I invited my friends over at my apartment to have a cocktail or drinking party (wherein everyone has to bring their own or contributed booze) …and guess what? It was still fun! Or actually, I had more fun because we didn’t have music blasting our ears apart nor sweaty drunk strangers around. But if you really can’t avoid partying, consider signing up for a guest list that will save you the entrance fee, let others buy drinks for you, or just don’t drink!

Do you like going to the cinema with friends? Minimize it or skip it altogether. Just wait and watch the movies online. To still bond with your friends, invite them over for a movie night so all of you could also avoid the ridiculously-priced snacks at the movie theatres! (Or you can also do a cooking night!)

– – –

Phone Plan Costs

I usually just have a postpaid plan because I never really use data that much especially since I just use my WiFi at home. But if you’re one of those people who have a huge bill ongoing every month due to phone postpaid plans, let me tell you this important word: re-evaluate.

Do you really need it? Maybe you can get by with a lower plan; downgrade if possible! And in case you need to contact people or use the internet, just use your computer/laptop/phone in the office. Besides, if you rather save up that yearly postpaid plan, you can rather use it to buy a round-trip ticket or a month’s worth of living expenses in another cheap country in Asia.

– – –


Do you really need that magazine subscription? Probably not.

Do you really need to keep that gym membership? I don’t think you do. I say this because you can still stay fit without spending that much on fees! How? By just taking your workout outdoors. Though, if you’re not the kind who loves running, opt to try home exercises!

I once had a gym membership, but after realizing that I barely have the time to make it to the gym before closing time after my work hours, I decided to cancel my ties with them and just do home exercises. The icing to the cake was that other than saving more of my cash, I lost more pounds than when I was signed up at the fitness center!

– – –

Food/Grocery Costs

You can stash away a LOT of money if you choose to cook your own meals at home as an alternative to getting your meals from restaurants or fast food places. With this, you can eat healthier too!

You don’t know how to cook? Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a skilled chef to come up with a decent meal in your kitchen. There is a wide range of resources online that can teach you to cook fast, simple, and healthy meals.

TIP: Plan out your meals before you go grocery shopping so you can avoid making unnecessary purchases. It also helps to buy in bulk especially for items that you usually use around your house such as toilet paper, etc.

What’s more to this is that: are you a coffee-lover? Bear in mind that for every cup you steer clear of, the closer you get to reaching the amount on your travel fund! But if you really need a cup of jo, avoid the big brands like Starbucks because you’re mostly paying for the name. I bet that there are a lot of cafes in your area that are cheaper but with the same or better quality. (Or just pack and make your own cup! At least then, you can control how much sugar or cream you’d like.)

– – –

Vanity Costs

Nails done, hair done… now look at the total charge. Yep, you could have avoided spending that much money if you opted to do it yourself.

I guess cutting your hair can’t be avoided especially if you don’t trust your hair-cutting skills, but for coloring? This is something that you can do without the help of professionals (surely it takes some care especially if you’re going to do bleaching, but it can always be learned and you can always ask a friend to help you out).

– – –

Other Costs

This section is up to you since you probably have other kinds of expenses that I missed — so please, do yourself a favor and scrutinize every single payment you regularly make because every coin that you can keep, COUNTS!

If I can add more tips, if you’re the kind of person who happens to get involved in a lot of events: birthdays, weddings, etc. then look into the possibility of making a DIY gift instead of buying stuff from the store. It’s a lot more thoughtful and the sender will know how much effort you put into it.

As for habits, do you occasionally smoke? Reward yourself by giving it up. I know that it can be hard but if you muster some strength and discipline, the end result is that you’ll be healthier, if not ‘wealthier’ too.

» Budget & Save

Money Saving Tips for Travellers

Photo by: Shutterstock

After you identify the expenses you can cut back on and figure out the minimum amount that you need to live with, you’ll have a better idea of the amount of cash you’ll have left after every monthly paycheck.

I suggest that the bigger percentage of it should be contributed to your travel fund, whereas the remaining percentage should be kept for emergencies (your ‘safety net fund’).

You can use mobile applications like MoneyLover, Expensify, or Dollarbird (or just use good ol’ Excel so you have better control of what you want to take note of) to stay on track of your spending habits.

Plus, in order to stay focused on your saving routine and have more ideas on how you can get more cash, I suggest setting up the following things…

– – –

‘Travel Fund’ Savings Account

Establish a savings account for your travel fund and make a promise NOT to touch nor use it until you actually start your travel lifestyle. But before opening a new savings account, I suggest that you take note of these things:

  • Better to have a savings account that can be accessed online and wchih can be used for international transactions
  • If you’re not a U.S. citizen and dollar is not your country’s main currency, get a dollar savings account

– – –

Savings Buddy

Some of us need the added motivation or an additional ‘watchful eye‘ to make sure that we stay focused on our savings routine. I didn’t need this before since I can already be pretty brutal in disciplining myself, but some of my friends have set up a ‘savings buddy’ to help them out, and it proved very helpful.

Basically, you can choose to:

  • Have a trusted friend/family member who keeps your card to ensure that you don’t touch it, and to also ensure that you continue putting money in it; or,
  • Have a savings buddy who will join you on your journey. Each of you will keep tabs on one another, making sure that the both of you are actually working towards your travel fund

– – –


‘Moonlight’ means having a second job which is in addition to your regular employment. After all, you’ll be needing more cash if you want to reach your traveling goals faster — if not to escape your 9-to-5 job.

You can do what I did, which is to establish myself as a digital nomad in which I offer my services online (like graphic + web design, marketing SEO, etc.), or you can try to work sideline jobs like being a part-timer at a restaurant or cafe on the weekends.

The possibilities are endless if you really want to learn how to save money for travel! But certainly, I know that it will be tiring. Yet again, the keyword to all of this: sacrifice.

40 Websites to Make Money Online & Work from Home
Examples of Online Jobs

– – –

Do ‘The Switch’

If you want to know how to save money for travel, consider ‘The Switch’. It basically entails switching from expensive brands to cheaper brands. It can be for your groceries, your meals, and many more.

Ultimately, you go frugal; you choose to be thrifty with all of your consumption. Even that simple switch of picking a generic brand for your toilet tissues can make a difference!

– – –


I haven’t done this myself, but there are people who are successful in doing so and there are two main ways to do it:

    Other than putting up your own website wherein you ask people to donate to your travel goals, let’s talk about crowdfunding. If you haven’t heard of this term before, it’s a new concept in which people post their project or venture online — in return, strangers of the internet will help fund it if they’re interested in supporting you. There are several websites that you can try to set up your fundraising cause, however it’s important to note that this mostly works if you have a very good reason, a good story, or a selfless cause.
    Got a birthday coming up? Or maybe you’re going to get married soon? If so, why not set up a ‘wishlist’ wherein you request for contributions to your travel plans? Otherwise, for a more direct approach, share your goal and pitch it to your friends and family.

» Sell & Rent

Sell or Rent Possessions

Photo by: Shutterstock


If you’re going to start traveling the world, you definitely don’t need those 10 pairs of high heels.

So let’s also talk about your clothes: there’s a chance that you’ll keep a bunch of them stored in your apartment or your parents’ house, and I advise that you don’t do that. If they are items that you won’t be bringing with you once you travel and items that you haven’t used for months, SELL them off.

This does not only apply to clothing and shoes, because if you have appliances that you won’t be needing later on, then those are stuff that can go.

Furthermore, if you’re really serious about developing a lifelong traveling lifestyle, you can do what other travelers have done: they sold their house/apartment and their car!

– – –


If you can’t see yourself selling your house or apartment just yet, then rent or sublease it! Other than sharing your property listing with real estate agents or companies in your locale, try putting it up on the famous AirBnB rental website too.

Naturally, you can also rent your car to family, friends, or strangers. In the USA, there are websites like Turo (you can also just list it on the Facebook Marketplace).

» BONUS Tips: Before, During & After Travel

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

Photo by: Shutterstock

I like the concept of ‘following through‘, so even after attaining your travel fund, you need to continue thinking of ways to save and earn while overseas.

  • Find work that you can do abroad. This might not matter if you’re one of those travelers who have a lot of money; but for those who have just about enough, there should always be that lingering question of “How can I continue doing a life of travel?” For my case, I’ve managed to mix career and travel by rendering services online that I am interested and in love with: entrepreneurship, graphic design, and blogging. For ideas on other jobs that you can do while on the road…
  • Go to cheaper countries and cities first. These can be countries in Asia, South America, and Eastern Europe — and when you do get to pick a country, the next step you should do is to stay away from cities for as much as possible — go to the smaller towns since those would be cheaper.
  • Travel slow. It will save you lots of cash! Stay in a place longer and you’ll have a fuller experience too. Besides, there’s no rush right?
  • Set alerts for flight deals. Sign up to the travel newsletter of local and international airlines so that you’re always updated of any huge sales! This will help lower the amount you’ll have to pay for your plane tickets if you’re planning to go somewhere very far or even near (especially if you don’t want to travel by land).
    • Book tickets during low season. Other than the fact that it’s usually less crowded during low season, accommodation costs are usually lower too.
  • If you can, always go for land travel. Because it’s cheaper than doing every country hop by air, of course — but it still depends because Europe, for example, tends to have cheaper flight costs compared to train tickets.
    • TIP: Check if a round trip train/bus ticket is cheaper than a one-way one (because most of the time, it is!)
  • Walk more. Wanna know how to save money for travel even more? When you’re in a new country, try to walk more! Refrain from jumping into a taxi, train, tram or bus the moment you see one. You’ll get to see and experience more things this way without spending your money too much.
  • Never exchange money at airport kiosks. They usually have higher rates because they have little competition (it’s an airport after all!). So if you want to secure a better deal, it’s better to go and look around for other places that can give you a better quote. You can also order currencies online in advance through your bank or you can just withdraw money from an ATM (but check the fees first).
  • Haggle like a pro. Recognize the huge power of negotiations because it can work wonders!
    • In lieu with this, research about typical travel scams as well as typical prices in the place you are visiting. After all, locals know that you’re a tourist and they will try to overcharge you. As such, it’s best to be informed beforehand so you don’t spend too much than what you should actually pay.
  • Try to aim for FREE accommodations. You can get FREE stays through a lot of options: couchsurfing, home stay, volunteering, etc. (If you’re a travel blogger like me, ask if a hotel/hostel will be interested in taking you in exchange for exposure online). Otherwise, if you have a friend or relative in the place you’re going to, ask if you could stay with them for a while.

• • •

How to Save Money for Travel: Top Money-Saving Tips


It all boils down to three things: sacrifice, prioritization, and discipline.

Once you get into these habits or routines, being frugal can easily become ‘second nature’ to you, and achieving your dreams of travel will become very obtainable!

But remember not to sacrifice too much that you end up sickly and unhappy — strive to always find the perfect balance, which I hope you will because I still found happiness despite living simpler!

All in all, I hope these tips on how to save money for travel have helped you.

• • •

Have you seen my latest vlog?

How I Afford to Travel the World (Vlog)

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Hey there! I am Aileen Adalid.
At 21, I quit my corporate job in the Philippines to pursue my dreams. Today, I am a successful digital nomad (online entrepreneur, travel writer, & vlogger) living a sustainable travel lifestyle.

My mission? To show you how it is absolutely possible to create a life of travel no matter the odds — and I will help you achieve that through my detailed travel hacks, guides, resources, tips, and MORE!

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  1. Ace Paragoyo

    This is good and thanks for sharing.

    Such a good written that explained very well, How I wish I can save money for my travel because of my bills to pay, I always want to travel in two countries a year but it did not happen because of my financial issues. We can make it if you believe and you manage everything. :)

    • Aileen

      I’m sorry to hear Ace, but I hope you get to manage your finances! I wish all the best for you; and I’m glad to hear that you found this article helpful!

  2. papaleng

    A very detailed travel info here. I’ll bookmark this one . Whi knows I can be a travel Nomad like you.

    • Aileen

      Glad that you found this helpful; pretty sure you can be a travel nomad too!

  3. Raymond

    I’m quite satisfied I’ve been doing some of these things. This gave me affirmations right now, that I’ve been doing the right thing. I’ve traveled every year to different places, and it’s amazing I’ve kept track with my finances, financial commitments and even savings and investment. Thanks for these. :-)

    • Aileen

      That’s great to hear Raymond! :) Keep it going!

  4. Michelle B

    I am impressed at how detailed this post is! I have one dumb question though. If I get a dollar savings account, can I still use it in the Philippines? Pardon my innocence. It can get confusing especially when you’re new in the adult world.

    • Aileen

      Thanks Michelle! And yes, you can definitely use a dollar savings account in the Philippines; it just gives you the liberty to transact in another currency :) No worries, I’m glad to be of help!

  5. Lorane

    First off I’m blown away at how well written and detailed this post is. I’ve found that paying my Bills on time makes a huge difference , some companies will even take a few bucks off if they are paid before the end of the month. I’ve started cooking my own meals since January and was able to save $50,000 Jamaican Dollars | 500 USD and My Travel Fund is looking good. I would love to go to Europe at the end of the year :-)

    • Aileen

      Hey Lorane! Thank you so much! I’m glad that you found this article helpful :)
      Indeed, when I was living alone, I saved a lot when I paid my bills on time and when I got rid of stuff that I didn’t need. Anyhow that’s great to hear! Hope the travel fund goes well and let me know if you reach Europe :D I’ll be here in Belgium for a while.

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