We’re not all made of money, but traveling doesn’t have to be difficult even on a budget! These easy ways to grow your travel fund will help you travel within your family’s financial means!
I won’t sit here and tell you to skip the morning coffee at Starbucks, ditch Netflix, or just “make more money”. Although these would help, you already know that, and if you haven’t done these things, there is definitely a reason why.
You can still live your regular lifestyle (or pretty close to it) and travel. You don’t need to uproot your entire life just to save some money- although if you did, you would certainly save money much faster!
If you change too many things in your day to day lifestyle, chances are it won’t last more than a week or two before you give up. Saving money for travel is a marathon, not a sprint, so the key is to find a few tips or changes that work for you!
In the meantime, check out these other budget travel tips:
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
How do I determine my vacation savings goal?
Some easy ways to grow your travel fund include determining how much money you will need to save. By looking at your budget and spending habits, you can evaluate a reasonable savings goal for your unique financial situation.
How much do you need, and by when?
Before starting your journey of saving money for traveling, you should, of course, determine how much you will need to save, and by when. How can you formulate a savings plan without knowing how much you need to save, and what your deadline is?!
To do this, you should consider a few things. First, when are you planning on traveling? You should start your savings plan 6 months to one year before traveling, but this can be altered depending on how much you need to save. You do not want to start too early, as it can get tempting to spend the money, and you don’t want to start too late because, well, of the obvious.
Second, consider how much you will need to save. Depending on the type of vacation you are taking, costs can wage widely. Think of a weekend trip vs a summer trip around the world. Research the typical costs of your destination, and estimate how much you will need each day. Always estimate higher than you think you will need!
Lastly, make your savings goal one that is reasonable for your budget. Don’t make it too high, where it would be impossible for you to reach- but don’t underestimate yourself! Make it a reasonable challenge.
Consider making a visual tracker, and hang it on your refrigerator, or somewhere you can see it often. Create dates that you hope to reach certain savings by, and watch it grow!
Review your budget, or create one
Another important step when creating a travel savings plan is to review your current budget or create one. This is important so you can see and evaluate where, exactly, all your money goes to.
Start with analyzing your non-negotiable payments. These are bills such as rent, mortgage, electric, phone bills, student loans, etc. (if you are feeling really ambitious, try getting some of these bills lowered!). Otherwise, add these amounts up, and see what money you are left with per month.
Next, take out an estimated amount per week for groceries, and any other monthly costs you have. Do not include entertainment or shopping costs here.
Once you have your final number, you will see how much you can potentially save per month. Consider cutting this number in half, as your monthly savings goal. Of course, this can be altered depending on every unique situation!
This will leave you with some extra money to play around with during the month, either for fun or for unexpected costs, all while still saving for your vacation!
Once you see where every dollar is going, you will feel more confident in your savings plan!
Use this free budget creator for help!
How much are you already saving?
Another way to determine your savings goal is to take a look at how much money you are already saving, or have already put aside. Seeing how much you currently save per month can give you a good idea of what is already reasonable for you. Try bumping this number up a bit for more of a challenge!
If you already have some money saved for vacation, good job! However, don’t give up and stop now! You must be doing something right already, so keep it up. If you will need more savings, consider some of the tips described in the remainder of this article.
Try to keep your savings in a separate account, so it is less tempting (and more difficult) to spend!
How to save money for traveling
Once you know how much money you need to save for a vacation, how do you go about doing it? There are many simple ways to save money, all while still allowing yourself to enjoy the simple pleasures in life!
Reduce unnecessary spending
I know I previously said I would not hammer this one home too much, but it is still important to address! It is just not reasonable to expect people not to spend on unnecessary things once in a while- that morning coffee, a new blouse, or buying lunch instead of making it a home. Everyone does it!
The most important take-home point here is to just be mindful of your spending. It is okay to get a drink with a friend, or buy a new pair of jeans- once in a while. Don’t overdo it, and remember to spend within your limits!
Don’t make life more difficult and boring by limiting yourself to the extreme- this will only make you give up on the savings plan entirely. If you truly want something, and it is a reasonable price and something that will make you happy- I say go for it.
Create a free entertainment list
Especially on the weekends and in the summertime, you will want to go out and have fun! But, how can you do this without spending too much money?
Spend some time creating your own free entertainment list, that you can consult anytime you are looking for something to do. This will help avoid any last-minute decisions that will only end up costing you money!
Here are some ideas of free things you can do:
- Pack a picnic, and head to your local park. Bring your pup, a frisbee, and enjoy time in nature!
- Have a beach day! Don’t forget your beach day essentials!
- Hang out in your pool (or a friend’s, or the local pool) for the day. Bonus if there is a hot tub!
- Find a new trail or park, and go for a hike- or take your bike!
- Pitch a tent in your backyard and have a bonfire. Or, camp out in your living room!
- View this list of other staycation ideas!
This is one tip we have personally found helpful when saving money for travel (or just saving money in general)- but might not work for some people. Taking money out of your bank account, and putting it somewhere safe, makes it less tempting to spend. When taking money out, consider it gone- it is saved, and untouchable.
Every time you get cash put it in your savings fund. Additionally, any time you go grocery shopping, take out an additional amount- even just $20 to put in your savings fund!
We have a travel savings shadow box bank, which is a great place to store your cash, while also looking cute on a shelf in your home!
Keep your eye on the prize
An important reminder in maintaining your travel budget is to keep your eye on the prize- the prize being your vacation! It can be difficult to stay motivated to save money, especially when there’s that concert you want to go to or a friend’s party you want to attend.
Try to keep your end goal in mind. Post visual reminders of your goal throughout your home, or put together a vision board of images of your destination. Post it on the refrigerator, your bathroom mirror, or by your bedside. Keeping your goal visible will help keep you on track towards your saving goals.
You might be tempted with something that conflicts with your saving goals, such as getting just one more drink or attending a concert. Try thinking to yourself, ‘do I want to spend this money on a drink here, or a drink on the beach in Thailand instead?’ Chances are, you will choose the latter!
Keep your goal alive, and your actions and thoughts will support it!
A fun easy way to grow your travel fund is to reward yourself for your difficult efforts! Saving money is no easy feat, and you should recognize your successes, no matter how small!
Set milestones that you want to achieve, for example, saving $100, then $300, then $500, etc., and reward yourself at each step!
If you have been trying hard not to go out, or have been avoiding the shopping mall to refrain from spending, you might eventually cave in if you don’t cater to those needs. Make these special occasions part of your savings plan! Select certain outings or rewards for each goal, and try not to break the plan!
For example, I might treat myself to that cute dress I’ve been eyeing for weeks now, but only after I have gotten to that $300 saved mark. If you completely cut out all the things you enjoy, your savings plan will probably fail!
Another way to reward yourself is to save money for not going out or buying that dress. If you want to go out for drinks, but choose not to, great job! Consider treating yourself to drinks, but at home with a bottle of cheap wine.
Additionally, any time you say no to spending money, consider putting the money you would have spent aside. For example, if you would have spent $40 going out for drinks (but didn’t- good job!), but this $40 aside in your savings fund! It will feel better knowing that money is going somewhere more practical.
Don't drastically change your lifestyle
By now, I’m sure you have read ways to save money that seem very unreasonable- selling your home, eating only Ramen noodles for months, selling your car, and riding your bike everywhere. While these can be good ideas for some people, they are very drastic and a huge change in your lifestyle!
The key to sticking to a realistic travel savings plan is to adapt the plan to your current lifestyle. Unless you are spending $100 on iced coffees a week, you should be okay with just some minor changes.
If you try to change too much about your life, chances are, you won’t stick to your plan! Think about what is most important to you, and make sure you include these in your plan- even if you have to cut back.
For example, if you love shopping for new clothes, maybe limit yourself to only 1 item instead of 2-3 on your next shopping trip. If you love going out for drinks with friends, maybe get one less drink than usual, or suggest meeting at your home for drinks instead. Maybe you love your iced coffee in the morning from the drive-through (me too, by the way!)- instead, maybe treat yourself on Fridays only, or try making them at home!
You don’t have to give up everything you love to save money. Keep an open mind, be flexible, and don’t deprive yourself of life’s pleasures.
Thank you for reading easy ways to grow your travel fund. For more ways to save, read our guide on budget travel tips to save you hundreds! If you have anything to add to our list, please leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you!