Written By : Bella Hanover
Most people would like to travel a little bit more. Whether you want to reach a particular destination you’ve always longed to see, you’re checking places off of a bigger travel bucket list, or you simply want to explore, chances are you engage in some hypothetical trip planning now and then. And yet, if you’re like most people you’ve probably been held back by the same basic issue: cost. Traveling can be expensive, and it’s easy to let this idea stop us from pursuing our interests.
Certainly there are some trips that are simply expensive with no way around it. If you want to stay in a luxury hotel in Monte-Carlo, you’re going to have to pay for it! Generally though, plenty of incredible vacations can be managed with some clever strategy and advance planning. For people who want to travel more, or who might be trying to save for the trip of a lifetime, we have some tips for how to go about just that kind of planning.
Plan Travel & Accommodations Meticulously
When looking at various ways to save money while exploring the country in the past, we made note of some helpful ideas. That specific article was largely about cross-country road and camping experiences, and so doesn’t apply to all “trip of a lifetime” concepts. And yet, some of the strategies — such as using an app to find the cheapest gas while you’re on the road, or researching to seek out free camping grounds — speak to broad ideas that can be helpful. In short, meticulous planning for everything from gas prices, to driving distances, to accommodations can be the most effective way to save for a big trip. Saving a little bit of money here or there adds up quickly, and can lead you toward a much more manageable travel budget.
Stop Some Subscriptions
This may sound like something of a gimmick tip). But it can actually go a fairly long way toward funding your dream vacation. According to some analyses estimating monthly subscription expenses, people often spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $80 to $115 each month — on music, video streaming, etc. So, for starters, that may be close to $100 you can spend just by suspending subscriptions for the month when you’re actually traveling. But if you can cut back for a few more months before and after as well, you can quickly get toward several hundred dollars more to put toward your trip.
Get Rid of Small Luxuries
This is a common savings tip, but one that can absolutely be applied to saving up for a big trip. The idea is simply to take small luxuries in your life — a flavored latte on the way to work, a pastry for a late afternoon snack, or even a nice dinner out on a Friday night — and put the same amount of money toward your trip instead. It’s more of a long-term strategy, but think of it this way: If you spent $6 on a sweet latte every day, and on just three days a week you cut back to a normal coffee for $3, you’re saving $9 a week without giving up a whole lot. This alone gets you over $100 in savings in just three months, without even focusing on other luxuries you can temporarily cut out of your routine. A dream vacation is well worth this effort!
Invest in Certificates of Deposit
This may sound like a fairly involved idea, but really a certificate of deposit is basically a different kind of savings account that’s meant to grow more over time. In a CD, you have to leave your investment put for a specific length of time. But when you withdraw it, you’ll have earned more interest than with a basic savings account. And if you really want to maximize savings — if you have more time to plan for your big trip — you can also explore the idea of building a CD ladder, which is basically a sequential stack of certificates of deposit. This is a tactic by which you can set up multiple accounts to mature, effectively creating a rolling set of returns. If you time it such that these returns come your way in the weeks or months before your trip, you’ll be offsetting a significant portion of costs.
Find Ways to Profit off of Your Travels
We don’t want to take this suggestion too far, because the idea is not to make yourself work while you’re on the trip of a lifetime! However, there are various ways to make money while traveling that can help you to offset expenses — effectively saving for your trip retroactively. You might do a little bit of freelance work in your spare time (such as on a plane or train ride or on a day with bad weather). But the best ways to retroactively save via trip-related earnings are to sell photography or write articles for travel blogs. All these tasks take is a little bit of outreach, and a willingness to share your experience. You can likely make a few hundred dollars during or after your trip with relatively little effort, and if you plan on this in advance that’s a few hundred dollars more you can spend toward making the trip as memorable as it can be!