Let's face it, we all want to see the world. We all want to eat gelato by the Trevi Fountain or swim with the elephants in Indonesia. Every day we see amazing destinations on social media and every day our wanderlust grows stronger. That is just the world we live in right now! We are the restless, adventure-hungry, travel seeking generation. So how do we fund this lifestyle?
If you are anything like me and have an endless list of places you want to go, you have probably spent some time scrolling through Pinterest looking at all the pictures from travel bloggers while thinking to yourself, there is no way you'll ever get to go to any of them. WRONG! If you really want to save up and be able to travel, a negative mindset is your first mistake. Get that thought out of your brain right now. Saving money for traveling is hard, trust me I get it! But it's not impossible. There are so many little tricks that I have picked up that will get you to that next destination I promise! These may not be every trick in the book but these are the exact steps I followed to save up for my early travels!
Here are my secrets to saving money for traveling:
1. Dial back your social life:
We all love going out with friends and having a good time. But that money that you are spending at the bars during a night out or the extra money flying out the door at the movies is money you could be saving. If you really want to go on a trip, cut out those extra activities for a little while. It may put a dent in your social life but it will add up fast and it will be worth it when you are sitting on the plane to Iceland!
2. Shop for groceries in bulk:
Okay, this one I learned during my college days when I was desperate to rack up some money to get me to the Dominican Republic for my girls trip! I had booked everything on a credit card and there was no way out... I HAD to pay it off! So I learned to only shop for necessities and only shop once a week! I would meal plan for the week and buy nothing else! Yes, that meant that some days all I had to eat was cereal or ramen noodles but hey, I wasn't complaining when I saved up enough to sip wine on the Amalfi Coast!
3. Plan out your budget:
I am a crazy planner when it comes to my life!! I mean I am just a queen of lists, it's a little insane sometimes. But when it comes to saving money it is a huuuuge help! I would sit down and write out how much money I needed for rent, my car, and any other steady expenses that were non-negotiable. Once I figured out how many shifts I needed to cover those costs I could kind of gauge out how many extra shifts I needed for a certain trip. It sounds basic but this was a really big help when it came to saving up for some trips!
4. Skip Starbucks:
This was probably the hardest thing for me to cut out during college. Starbucks was my study spot and I was there so often I was on a first name basis with most of the baristas haha! But when I was really trying to save I switched over to cold brew coffee and bought the giant jugs they sell at the grocery store! 5 bucks and I had coffee all week! A little low quality coffee will be worth it when you are able to grab funky coffee in Los Angeles!
5. Work work work work!!
I kid you not when I say I would work back to back doubles for weeks at a time when I had trips planned. It got to the point where I would get denied by my manager when trying to pick up a shift because I was going into overtime too often. At the time I worked at a lovely restaurant… okay not really lovely, it was Hooters… and I would easily work 13 hour days just trying to get as much money as I possibly could! I literally committed all my time to work but it always paid off when I was able to wake up to a new view across the globe!
6. Find extra sources of income:
If you are really serious about saving up, selling some old belongings is a great way to bring in some extra cash! I actually had this little side hustle where I would buy my Hooters uniform at my employee rate and then sell it on Poshmark during Halloween season for triple! Sometimes a little extra hustle is all it takes to get you where you want to go.
7. Be realistic about your trip budget:
Traveling when you have endless finances is easy. I mean you could book any flight anywhere and not think twice about it. Well, that's not realistic when you are traveling on a budget! You are going to have to spend a few hours researching destinations, flights, accommodations, food costs, and so on… until you find a trip that is both fun and realistic! It can be done I promise! Personally, I love all-inclusive trips in the Caribbean! Such a great way to travel without having to break your piggy bank.
If traveling was easy, everyone would do it! If I'm being honest with you, saving up for a trip is not easy. You do have to make sacrifices and decide what you care about more. For me, I was always happy pushing my personal and social life aside for a few months if it meant I could finance a one month trip around Europe. Or go on back to back adventures in the Caribbean. It all comes down to your priorities and how badly you want this!