After paying for living expenses, car expenses, and all the expenses that life includes, it can be difficult to save up for traveling. The habits and tips below have helped me save up money for traveling and hopefully they can help you as well.
Making travel a priority
When you choose to prioritize traveling, you are going to think about it more day to day. It will sit in the back of your mind and influence the decisions you make. This really helps a lot when it comes to saving because you put more importance on your trip than spending money on things that you don’t need, which leads to my next tip.
Thinking wisely about every purchase
In my opinion, this is the most important thing to do. It can be super difficult at first, but once you get the habit down, it really minimizes your spending. Ask yourself if what you are buying is something that you really need, or just something that you want. Then, ask yourself, is buying this more important than your trip? If you have traveling as your priority, then the answer to that question is probably a no, it’s not as important as your trip.
The more you stop and think about each purchase, the more aware you become of your bad spending habits. I used to go to the coffee shop at my workplace and order a snack every work day. The snack might only be $3, but if you get it every day of the work week that’s $15 a week, and $60 a month. Woah, that’s a lot to be spending on a little snack!
We all have something like that in our lives that we could cut out. It might be a cookie, or chips, or a coffee. A way to fight this temptation is to always carry a snack on you, or if you are a coffee/tea drinker, make your own coffee in the morning and the savings will add up!
Knowing what is necessary and what is not
I don’t know if it’s just me, I used to always want to upgrade everything I have before going on a trip. I would want to buy new sunglasses, a new backpack, new clothes, new shoes, etc. But if you add the cost of all those new things to the cost of traveling, your goal budget is going to be a lot larger than it needs to be.
Is it really necessary to get that brand name backpack or a new pair of sunglasses when you already have a pair? If what you have is functioning and usable, there is no need to buy a new one. Your budget for traveling should focus on the cost of travel, lodging, food, and experiences you want to have while you are there. Besides that, it is unnecessary spending. The purpose of your trip is to experience a new place and have a good time, and having a brand name backpack vs your old backpack isn’t going to change that.
Taking advantage of opportunities
Are you going on a family trip soon? One of the best ways I have found to save money on traveling is by getting the most out of one trip. I have a lot of family in Japan, and sometimes my parents pitch in to help me get a ticket to visit. One trip to Japan from Seattle can cost an average of $1200-$1500 depending on the time of the year you go and when you buy tickets. The last few times I went, I took advantage of being in Japan by extending my trip and visiting other places as well.
Usually, the cost of the ticket will be within the same price range whether you stay for 5 days or 2 months. Adding cushion before or after visiting family can allow you to visit other places as well. For example, I knew that I would be visiting family in Hokkaido, and that we would go through Tokyo both on the way there and the way back. The tickets my parents usually get separate the international flight and the domestic flight so it’s not really in the conventional format of a connecting flight. I was able to add days between arriving in Tokyo from Hokkaido and leaving Tokyo for Seattle to take a side trip to Osaka to visit friends. Because my tickets were already paid for to visit family, the total cost of traveling to Osaka and staying for a week only cost me around $400 or so, and I was able to visit Kyoto, Nara, and Kobe on the way/during the stay.
That example is just the beginning of the possibilities. There are so many cool places to visit within Japan, but there are also places like Korea, the Philippines, and Thailand that you can visit from Tokyo for an affordable price. It doesn’t even have to be Japan, if you are visiting anywhere and part of your trip is being paid for, why not see if there are other opportunities to travel? It’s all about being aware of the opportunities and being creative!
Remember that it will be worth it in the end
Working hard every day and not being able to buy anything to treat yourself can be hard. When you feel conflicted about all the saving you are doing, remember why you are doing it. You might not be spending the money now, but you will be when you are traveling. Try to envision how happy you will be on your dream vacation and you’ll be reminded of why the hard work is going to pay off.
Hope these tips help!