25 Easy Ways to Save Money for Travel

The old idea that travel is an expensive hobby for the rich and famous is outdated. Many people ask us how we have been able to afford to travel to more than 60 countries in our twenties. This is where saving becomes a crucial step to traveling and financial success. Saving money is not a difficult task if you know where to start. It’s why we were able to save our dollars in one of the most expensive cities in the world and continue to do so today.

If you set a goal and put your mind to it, anything is possible. Start small, and eventually, you’ll be saving a portion of your income every month. From there, it’s only a matter of time before you have enough for that great trip you’ve always dreamed about. Remember, it all starts with the first dollar! Here are the basic ways we save money for travel and stay on the road longer for cheaper.


How to Start Saving Money for Travel


Reduce Your General Expenses

Natasha On Safari In Botswana

I know that your legs probably look killer in that new dress, ladies. And perhaps that new fancy shave gel does make your beard look better guys…however, do you need everything you’re buying? Chances are probably not. One of the main ways to cut expenses is to cut out all the crap that you don’t need to have a fulfilling life. How much can you cut out to live comfortably?

Just because you make and have the money does not mean you should spend it right away on every payday. You don’t need a new TV or a dozen pairs of shoes. This is the very first step in saving for travel—live below your means. You can also look at more creative ways to reduce expenses such as renegotiating contracts with service providers like phone service or internet. It’s often possible to threaten to switch providers that offer a lower rate to keep you as an existing customer.


Love To Cook

Cameron With Bread At Home
It’s shockingly cheap to bake your own bread and fun!

One of the easiest ways to save money on travel is to start cooking all your meals. That means breakfast, packed lunch, and dinner. Do not pick up a coffee and bagel on your way to work because that cost can quickly snowball. Restaurants are always more expensive than a home-cooked meal.

In the United States, a low-cost meal out with friends costs me at least $20-$30, and then, of course, we tip in America, so there is another $4-5 on top of that. The easy solution is to go to the grocery store, grab a cookbook, and whip up your dishes. You can even get cookbooks from the local library for free! Not only will it help save your paycheck, but it is much healthier.

If you absolutely must eat out, make your decisions wisely. When we began saving for travel, we went out once a week to our favorite sushi spot. The meal wasn’t cheap, at almost $100, but we were afforded the luxury because we cut out the bad takeout, chain restaurants, and delivery that can add up to a lot more in a week. No matter your finances, it never hurts to reassess your expenses, and it’s great to start with food purchases.


Cut Out the Bar

Chasing Rabbits Bar In Vail

I bet you knew where this was going. First, I took away clothes, then food, and now alcohol! Yep—it’s not rocket science. Alcohol and bars can be very costly. Why not host your friends over for wine night? Or invite everyone to your house with beer to watch the game instead of going to the sports bar? These choices are easy ones to make and can easily set you on your way to financial freedom.


Ditch Cable

Now that Netflix and the internet are available in almost every country in the world, there is really no excuse for having cable TV. If you love staying entertained with TV shows and movies, why not invest in a cheap streaming service and ditch the expensive cable premiums? We love Netflix and HBO!


Get Active Outside

Yoga Studio In Bali

I remember when we lived in NYC, gym memberships were through the roof! $150 a month to work out? Not everyone can afford that. There are many ways to stay active without signing your life away to a gym, like biking to work. Maybe learn how to play basketball, volleyball, or baseball? Or go for a run in a nice park nearby.

When I was in college, I would save money for travel by utilizing my school’s free gym. When that is not available, I watch YouTube workout videos in my living room or the park. There are all kinds of totally free ways to stay active outside. This is the one expense we give some wiggle room to. Staying in shape and keeping a hobby is a crucial element to a happy and healthy life. Just keep costs in moderation!


Take Advantage of Travel Credit Cards

The World Pursuit Credit Cards

I sign up whenever there is a new credit card offer with great travel incentives. I’ve spent 11 years building up my credit so that this is possible, but even great cards are offered for those with no credit. The real advantage comes with a rewards credit card that garners points for everyday purchases.

The best rewards cards offer enticing sign-up bonuses and points on every purchase that can lead to 2% cashback in your pocket. Those points can pay for flights, hotels, or even car rentals. Be responsible with any new credit card. Pay your bill on time, in full, and don’t spend what you don’t have. Here are some more tips for travel banking.


Diversify Your Income

Live In NYC Cheap

When I was in college, I scoured the internet for a job that would let me work only on weekends. I ended up working as a waitress every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and earning great tips. Years later, when Cam and I moved to NYC, he worked weekends for overtime pay, and I took on a second job.

It wasn’t ideal, but we knew we had the time and energy to do extra work. Whether it be online work, bartending, blogging, or dog walking, a second job will bring in additional income and most likely bring in new friends, too! It doesn’t have to be your standard job, either. You can also invest in yourself with classes or books that will further you in your career or as a person.

Cameron’s parent’s favorite hobby is flipping furniture they buy at flea markets and rehabbing it for a profit. On top of that, they own and manage several beach rentals on Airbnb. As we mature in life and find greater financial stability, we’ve taken up a financial advisor to help invest in safe long-term solutions to help our money grow.


No Smoking

I hope that you are not a smoker, but if you are, one of my main tips for saving money is to cut it out. Smoking is not only harmful to you but to others around. Okay, but I am not your mother, and you can do what you want. But I am 100% certain that not smoking will help you save money for travel. Just think about putting in an extra $10/week or day to your travel fund. That’s $520 or $3650 a year, or in other words, a plane ticket to Europe, Thailand, Ecuador, or maybe even a vacation in South Africa.


How to Save When Travel Planning


Plan to Travel in the Offseason

Natasha On Faviagna Island

Traveling during off-peak times can severely reduce your travel expenses. We’ve sometimes stayed in beautiful hotel rooms that are 70-80% their normal price simply because it is the shoulder period! Of course, each location’s offseason changes, but in general, traveling during spring or fall is a great time.

During the summer, many people are with their families on summer vacation, while in the winter, many people travel for the holiday season. I personally love traveling during the offseason as there are fewer crowds, and generally, the locals are friendlier.

When it comes to rewards travel, you can also save on redemption. Many airlines offer lower point redemption rates outside of peak dates. This extends to hotels like Marriott’s Bonvoy program, which recently released low season rates for point redemption. You can read more about traveling during the shoulder season here!


Travel Slow To Save Money

Cameron At An Airbnb In Scotland

Transport costs are by far the most expensive part of traveling. It’s part of why we stay in certain regions longer and generally try to get long-term apartment rentals. Not only do you get worn out by sitting on a train, plane, or car every other day, but this it is a sure way to eat up your travel funds.

Tip: Many Airbnb hosts will offer discounts if you message them directly and tell them you are staying long-term. We have done this in Belgrade, Namibia, Scotland, Greece, Thailand, Indonesia, and Cape Town, and it worked out great!  You can check out some tips and read more about Airbnb here


Travel to Cheap Destinations

Taj-Mahal-in-India

The United States, Australia, East Africa, and Northern Europe are all wonderful but expensive to travel. Traveling to cheaper regions of the world will help you travel longer. Of course, we all know that traveling around India, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines is affordable by Western standards. The other lesser-known cheap spots are the Balkans and Eastern Europe, South Africa, Greece, Nicaragua, Peru, Uraguay, and Costa Rica. See some of the most affordable destinations in the world here.


Get a Travel Buddy

Cameron And Natasha Of The World Pursuit In Galway Harbor

I recommend picking up a travel buddy to cut costs while traveling if you can. Two people will be handy if you share accommodation, split a rental car, or cook meals together. If you can’t find a partner to travel with you this time, that’s okay—staying in a hostel is a cheap way to sleep and is a fun environment for meeting other travelers.

Or, if you are comfortable, you can try Couchsurfing. Couchsurfing is a website connecting travelers and locals, offering a free couch for travelers to crash on. While I think it’s a great way to meet people and stay somewhere for free, it’s important to check reviews and use common sense with strangers. 

Tip: There are active Facebook groups with people always looking for travel buddies. Another good app to download is Meetup, which is great for finding people in cities to do things with. 


Keep Flexible Plans

Sunset Outside An Airplane Window

Flexibility is key to traveling on a budget. A flexible schedule will help you score cheap plane tickets and let you stay in one place for longer. A flexible attitude may also lead you to more affordable countries you may not have otherwise thought to go to, which is what travel is all about.

We set open dates and unknown destinations with Skyscanner to see where we can score a low-cost flight. Once we land in a new country, we travel overland by bus, car, or train to save on costs. We often travel for months so we don’t have to pay for the flight to go back and forth to North America.

We know this isn’t viable for everyone, but it is a good starting point to get the most bang for your money. If all you know is that you want to travel to a certain area of the world, research different flight routes and dates to get the best deal. Some of our favorite flight booking websites are Secret Flying and Skyscanner.


Pack & Come Prepared

safari backpack and luggage

This is mainly for my American readers. After traveling to over 60 countries, we have noticed one thing: the U.S. has the lowest prices on consumer goods I’ve ever seen. Pack your camera, laptop, suitcase, and, yes, even clothing and makeup before you fly abroad. I can almost guarantee it will be more expensive outside of the US (especially those electronics and makeup, ladies).


How to Save Money While Traveling


Stay cheap

It has probably taken a few lifestyle changes to save up some money for travel, so why change that when you travel?


Walk!

Chamonix Town Center Walking Pedestrians

One of our favorite things to do when we arrive at a new destination is to walk around and explore. Not only is walking essential to living a healthy lifestyle, but it’s also free! When we are in cities, we literally walk everywhere, even if it means taking an extra 30 minutes to an hour. Then, we can get a feel for and direction for the city without spending a penny.

If your destination is too far to walk, opt for public transport instead of a taxi cab. I promise it’s more fun! Tip: We use the Google Maps app to get around in a new city and always love its accuracy. Maps.me is also great if you are driving and don’t have access to WiFi. 


Stay on Budget

I always find it helpful to set a daily budget for yourself and track it. We aim to spend less than $50 per day when traveling, and that will include anything from our coffee to our hotel room. Of course, that’s easier for Cameron and I since we are usually together and can split many costs. If you decide to partake in activity and go over your budget one day that’s okay, just try to stay under your budget the next day. A good budget-tracking tool I like to use is the Mint app.


Work While You Travel

Cooking With Our Work Away Family In Morrocco
Early In Our Travel Days We Did A Workaway In Morocco

If your goal is to travel for as long as possible, consider picking up a job on the road. There are plenty of jobs that allow you to stay abroad, including teaching English, becoming a virtual assistant, translating, and working on a yacht. Another great option is to volunteer.

Given the many jobs these days, working remotely is also possible. If it’s a good fit, consider putting in a request with your management to work while abroad. It won’t feel like you are on vacation the entire time, but you can still enjoy life in a new city like Rome, Cape Town, or Kyoto.

While you probably won’t get paid, many volunteer programs will provide food and accommodation for a few work hours each day. I’ve done this a few times in Croatia and Morocco. Websites that connect volunteers with business owners are Workaway, HelpX, and wwoofing.


Know the Rules

Beaches in Tanzania

Ensure you read the fine print on train tickets, airline tickets, hotel rooms, and apartment rentals to avoid extra charges. This is especially true when booking a flight and knowing each airline’s baggage policy. A few hotel rooms and many Airbnbs will also charge cleaning and booking fees, so it’s important to read up on everything so you aren’t surprised by extra charges.


Manage Finances

COIN Invest - Travel Sustainable

Have you read our travel banking guide? It’s a comprehensive guide that will teach you how to manage your finances on the road. Opt for a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees on every purchase abroad. Then, pick up a debit card with no ATM fees so that you aren’t charged a fee every time you pull out cash.

Always try your best to avoid using money changers and airport exchange booths at all times as they usually charge a high fee and find a way to rip you off. You can learn more about how we access our cash abroad here.


Eat in and Do Your Research

Cameron Cooking In Campervan Rental
Cooking In Our Campervan Rental

One of the easiest ways to go over budget is dining at restaurants every night. Go to the grocery store cook a meal whenever possible, and ask the locals for affordable lunch and dinner spots to try out. Stay away from the tourist areas when looking for places to eat, as the food will cost twice as much and taste half as good. As a last resort, we always go to TripAdvisor and find out where we can get a great meal at an affordable price.


Join Free Walking Tours

Cost To Backpack Europe: Edinburgh

Many big cities around the globe offer free walking tours. I love going on these not only because they are free, but also because I can learn about a new city while learning my way around, and it’s also a great way to make new friends! Just make sure to tip your guide!


Travel Insurance

Get travel insurance to avoid surprises and expensive trips to the hospital abroad. I know that it may seem unnecessary, even though I hesitated to buy travel insurance before my first trip abroad. However, it’s important to buy a policy for those just-in-case scenarios.

We like to use HeyMondo. Their policies not only give you medical coverage abroad, but they also give you trip protection coverage, i.e., missed flights, lost baggage, and theft. If you’ll travel for a full year like us, check out IMG Global for long-term plans.


Stay Connected

Don't forget your phone while traveling

Don’t land in a new country and turn on your cell phone only to get hit with roaming charges. Any text, call, or Facebook message will most likely cost you an arm and a leg with your cell phone provider back home. Instead, go pick up a local sim card so that you have a working phone while abroad – it’s always nice to be connected! In many countries, data and minutes are incredibly affordable.

It’s also worth noting that in this day and age, we can find WiFi at almost any hotel, coffee shop, or restaurant (it’s true—I even found it in rural Africa). Not to mention, it’s a lot safer to have a phone line for emergencies.


What do you think? Can you save money for travel by implementing a few of these tips? I guarantee that reducing needless items will help your wallet out in no time.


More on Travel Finances


About Cameron Seagle

Cameron Seagle is one of the principal writers and photographers for The World Pursuit. He is a travel expert that has been traveling the world for the past decade. During this time, he established a passion for conservation and environmental sustainability. When not traveling, he's obsessed with finding the best gear and travel products. In his free time, you can find him hiking, mountain biking, mountaineering, and snowboarding. His favorite countries are Scotland, Indonesia, Mozambique, Peru, Italy, and Japan.

You can learn more about Cameron on The World Pursuit About Us Page.

1 thought on “25 Easy Ways to Save Money for Travel”

Leave a Comment