When I talk to people about where I have traveled most people say one of two things, “Wow you are so lucky that you can afford to travel so much!” or “I don’t think I could ever afford to travel as much as you do!” It’s not luck; its hard work.
Firstly, if you travel the budget friendly way (staying in hostels/Couchsurfing, cooking most of your own food, finding affordable daytime activities, taking public transportation, and not drinking away your budget) you could visit a country for 10 days easily on $1000 USD or less (including flights). After you do it once, you will see that it slowly becomes easier and easier to spend less money when you travel.
If you don’t have $1000 right now, here are 16 ways to save money to travel the world:
- Get a job that covers the costs for your housing, utilities, and health insurance
- Don’t pay extra for cable TV
- Cook and pack your own lunch for yourself every day of the week. Sure if your school wants to subsidize your lunches so they cost less than a dollar per meal (like China) or if they are completely free, I would take advantage of that, if not, learn to like your own food!
- Only go out to eat 3-5 times a month
- Don’t buy alcoholic beverages when you go out
- Have a really cheap cell phone plan (mine is only about $5USD a month in Venezuela)
- Don’t go shopping for new clothes unless nothing fits or it is full of holes (I usually take my things to the local seamstress who fixes each item for about $1US before I buy anything new)
- Don’t get caught up trying to be like everyone else. I have had many friends who LOVE to go shopping and drinking every weekend. I just tell myself that the extra shopping trip or night out could finance one extra day on a tropical beach somewhere.
- Get Netflix, or AmazonPrime and project your movies/TV shows onto a wall instead of going to the movie theater. Considering that the nearest movie theater is an hour away, I LOVE MY POCKET PROJECTOR!!! I have seen people project movies while camping too…but it kinda takes away from the “wilderness” feel of it for me.
- Make your own coffee. I definitely have a coffee habit. I am really lucky to live in a country with great coffee beans so I can brew it at home, add a little homemade vanilla extract and a shake of cinnamon and call it good.
- When you do go shopping for clothes, shop at thrift stores or consignment shops and only buy stuff that you will actually wear and that actually fits your body- not the body you want to have. This gives me something to look forward to every summer!
- Buy food in bulk and save it in the pantry or freezer. This is more of a requirement in Venezuela with all of the shortages I experience in Ciudad Ojeda, but I did the same thing while living in Portland and it makes a difference! If you see a good deal on nonperishable goods that you know you will use (rice, boxed milk, beans, wine, coffee, shampoo, soap, cleaning products, etc.) buy enough for a while at the lower rate.
- Use up all of your makeup before you buy new stuff. I know I have to buy three Bare Escentuals foundations to last me for the year and I will buy those over the summer (hey Sephora, please open a store in the Caracas airport!), but I make myself use up all of my eyeliner, blush, lipstick, and eye shadow before I buy new products.
- Shop at the local markets instead of the big name brand store. If I got to the little vegetable stand around the corner from my house I might have to wash the produce a little longer, but it might be half the cost.
- The hardest thing I do is only buying what is on my grocery list. This is especially important in the US where we have access to everything we could want (for a price!). It is nearly impossible where I live because I usually get a lot of substitutes for things that are not on the shelves.
- I have used SmartyPig.com to save for specific goals and make a budget for the past few years. I know that a year from now I want to be going to Europe for four weeks. I looked at costs for lodging, flights, trains; average food cost per city, museum costs, and created a budget. Then I allowed SmartyPig to automatically deduct a certain amount from my checking account every month to reach that goal. (If you are interested in signing up with SmartyPig please send me your email so that when you sign up I can earn an extra $10 toward my Europe trip!)
What are your favorite ways for saving for the next big trip? Please comment below.
There are some affiliate links in this post that will cost you absolutely nothing to click on, but that might help add a few cents to my next savings goal for my future travels.