How to Save Money for Traveling – Start Small

Recently, I started posting photos to Instagram with various 2016 travel resolutions that I think people should try. Some of them are mine and some of them are what I’ve seen in the travel community. After briefly messaging a user back and forth (Thanks, Jenny!), I decided to make a blog post about how to save money for traveling.

Save $3.00 per day to use on travel. How to save money for traveling

Save $3.00 per day to use on travel. How to save money for traveling.

So, $3 a day, you might be thinking – ‘that doesn’t add up to much.‘ But, I’m telling you if you don’t travel for a full year, you’ll have saved $1,095.

Think of this as your flight to just about anywhere in the world.

First things first, you need to become aware of what you’re spending. And what you’re spending it on. I like to use Mint and PersonalCapital in order to see where my income is being spent. These two services organize your spending and allow you to set spending goals. If you go over in a certain category, they will also alert you. One setting I like with Mint is sending myself a weekly spending email on Friday.

Interested in some rough estimates of how much you can save by cutting back on stuff? Scroll further down to see a summary of what I talk about immediately below.

Buy Less. Travel More.

Buy Less. Travel More.

Let’s look at some examples of expenses that I’ve done and I know that you can cut out in order to save a few bucks a day.

  • Coffee – Let’s say you drink a Flat White or Cappuccino a few times a week. That adds up to nearly $600 a year in coffee. Just buy a Keurig or an Espresso machine at that point and make coffee before you head to work.
  • Eating Out or Going Out – Take the time to make food at home. Make lunches for the week on Sunday. Quit going out several times a week and spending $15+ or more on a meal and drinks. If you still want to socialize with friends, have them come over to your place for a dinner party or a couple drinks before you head out.
  • Gas/Transportation – Luckily, I live in a city where I can ride my bike to work. Not only does this help my overall fitness, but it saves me a good bit of money monthly. If you can’t bike to work, look at using public transportation, carpooling, or even working from home once a week to save some extra cash.
  • Rent/Mortgage – If you can find a way to negotiate a lower rent, give it a try. After living in my old apartment for nearly a year, I was able to show the landlord that if I left for a cheaper apartment, they would lose nearly 2 months of rent looking for another tenant. So, I was able to leverage them to give me a $50 per month discount for the new lease term – which amounted to $600 over the year!
  • Utilities – If you can’t find a cheaper place to live or negotiate with your landlord, turn your heat down, unplug unused electronics (they use electricity even if they’re off), and cut your cable.
    • If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, get a streaming stick for your tv (~$35) and then watch Netflix or get SlingTv. This can be a huge area for potential savings.
    • Replace all of your lightbulbs with energy efficient bulbs. This may seem like a lot of money upfront, but you can save a hundred bucks a year or so if you switch. There are also discounted bulbs depending on which state you live in due to subsidies.
  • Use Coupons – Now, this isn’t like the show Extreme Couponing. But, you can save a couple bucks with each grocery store trip. I also like to use Ibotta and Snap! by Groupon. Take whatever you save on groceries and transfer it into your travel account.
  • Get a Library Card – If you’re like me, you like to read hard copies of books and purchase them on Amazon. Even thought print-reading is on the rise for the first time in years in the USA, just go to your local library. I’ve had no problems getting the books that I’ve had on my list from the local library. The due date also motivates me to read the books.

Other ways to save or generate more money to travel with:

  • Open An Etsy Store – If you’re crafty and you can offer people services that are of value, you can easily make a couple hundred dollars per month to help save for travel.
  • Ask For A Raise – Similar to saving for retirement, you can save the extra percentage or two you receive for traveling with.
  • Get sponsorships – This one is something I have zero experience with, but looking to learn more about in the forthcoming year. You can reach out to various companies and organizations to see if they will support your adventures. If you’re volunteering with a nonprofit and ask friends & family help support you to further the nonprofit’s mission.
  • Find Odd Jobs – Say Etsy isn’t your forte, you could look into getting a second income in order to save that money for traveling. Uber, Lyft, Postmates, UTest, and other ‘set your schedule’ services are gaining huge amounts of popularity. You could also grab a seasonal job like shoveling snow, landscaping, or something like that.
  • Donate Plasma – If you’re not afraid of needles, you could donate plasma. I did this for about half a year while running my first small business. You can get around $50 per week.
  • Freelance – Similar to finding odd jobs, you could look into freelancing part time. I’ve personally done this on & off for the past couple years. Especially if I have a big trip coming up, I want to offset some adventures with a nice freelance web development paycheck.
  • Have any other tips/ideas? Leave a comment below!

Potential Savings
Item Cost Per Week Cost Per Year
Utilities$7.50 $390.00
Eating Out $20.00 (1x per weeK) $1,040.00
Weekly Automated Savings$21.00$1,092.00
Rent Savings $12.50 $650.00

I get that you have to live a little and don’t want to be shacked up inside of your apartment. I get it.

But, I encourage you to try to live life a little more frugally – especially if you want to travel for a longer duration. I bet that with a little work, you could find small ways that add up to a lot of money. I’ve seen some instances of people online that have gone so far as to move back in with their parents in order to save thousands of extra dollars a year.

Just try to live a month a little less extravagantly and you’ll be surprised at how much money you’ll save for traveling.


Life-Long Learner, Explorer, & Web Developer. Currently a Software Engineer at Jazz.

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