8 Tips to Save Money to Travel

Before we embarked on our yearlong trip around the world, my husband and I saved more than $75,000.  We scrimped, we saved, we sold all our stuff.  

You don't need to go to the same extremes to save to travel.  Most people just want enough to take a nice vacation each year.  

Whether it's $500 or $5,000, here are some ways you can save for your own trip:

1.  Set a goal.  

Don't just "start saving some money every month."  Decide where you want to go, check out flights to get there and put an exact figure on how much you'll need.  Whether it's wine tasting in Tuscany or road tripping to the Grand Canyon, research costs for accommodations and estimate how much you'd need to get there.  

2. Write it down.

I know it sounds hokey, but write down the amount.  Share it with your spouse, a close friend, hell post about it on Facebook.  The more accountability you have in saving, the better.  I wrote down my goal on a sticky note and put it up in my office where I could see it everyday.

3.  Pay yourself first.

When pay day comes, it's tempting to start by paying your bills.  By the time rent, utilities and your credit card bills clear your account, you're scraping the barrel to get to the next pay check.  

If you're in a place financially where you can save every month (even if it's $50), pay yourself first on pay day.  Move that money into a separate savings account and don't touch it even later in the month when you feel like you might want to.

4.  Separate your travel savings.

When I first started saving to travel, I decided to put $100 away each month.  I went to my bank and opened a separate savings account just for travel.  It feels silly to go to all the trouble to separate accounts, but it helped me mentally not to think of that money as general savings.

5. Automate your savings.

As much as possible, set your accounts up to transfer the amount you want to save automatically into your travel savings account.  I set up an automatic transfer on my pay days (being sure to pay myself first), so I didn't even have to remember to move the money over.

6.  Make your savings difficult to access.

When I set up my separate travel savings account, the bank representative started to set up my online banking access.  I stopped her.  She was confused, but I explained that I didn't want to be able to access the funds online.  If I could sign in and make transfers with a click of a mouse, I knew I wouldn't leave the savings alone.  I hate going into the bank, so I set it up in a way that I HAD to physically go there to transfer funds.  This kept me from doing it, and my savings quietly grew.

7.  Find ways to make saving fun.

I know this sounds insane. For me, making permanent cuts everyday was hard, so Nate and I created challenges to liven up our saving strategies.  We dedicated an entire month to living on less, called it "No Spend September," and treated it like a game.  We didn't eat out, drink at bars, or buy any luxury items like new clothes or electronics.  We celebrated "Zero Dollar Days" when we didn't pull out our wallets at all.  

At times the game was challenging, but we also knew it wasn't permanent, which made it easier to stick to.  Think of it like a craze diet, but when you're done, be sure not to celebrate by going on a spending spree.  Find something else fun you can do to celebrate without dipping into your newfound savings.

8.  Plan and get excited.

Staying related to your goal will make it much easier for you to make the sacrifices you'll need to make.  Print photos of your intended destination and post them around at home and work.  Change your desktop image to the beach you want to visit. Start a pinterest board and pin photos that inspire you about your travel plans.  Set aside time each week to research fun things to do on your trip and start getting excited!


What did I miss, guys?  What tips do you have for saving money to travel?