Tips For Saving For Travel

Tips For Saving For Travel Jazza Money

(NOTE- All amounts this article are in Australian Dollars)

When we talk to other fellow travellers about our current trip we always get asked the same questions. “How did you save the money to travel for that long? How long were you saving for? How were you so strict on yourself to save that much?”

Everyone saves differently. I would like to share with you some of my tips for saving that might help you achieve your travel dream, or something else that you have always wanted. I do understand the average wage for every person is different in the world so try to save the amount that will fit into your budget.

We came home from our first travels in 2010 in debt. $25,000 in debt to be precise. All on credit cards (yep we had a fun time). We both wanted to be on the road again and keep living our dream so we worked hard. I had two part time jobs, working as a sales assistant in a retail store and as a cashier/barista in a cafe. Jazza had a job in the construction industry. We worked hard, and we had a very simple life for the next 10 months, but it was worth it as we managed to pay off our debt AND save $20’000. Yes, the wages in Australia are higher than other countries, but the living expenses are higher also. I am not going to say you will earn this much in a year, but if you follow these simple tips for saving you will be well on your way to getting closer to achieving your dream.

Tips For Saving For Travel Bicycle Bagan
Jarryd riding his bike in Myanmar

Budget Budget Budget

It is important to sit down, work out a budget and STICK to it. It is hard the first month or so to keep to your budget, but if you really want something you will find a way achieve it. The budget that I set up for myself included the following items:

  • Rent
  • Food
  • Bills
  • Credit Card/Debt
  • Social
  • Savings

Sticking to a budget will help you save to get what you want. Of course some weeks you have events on and your social budget gets blown out, but this is easy to manage. I used to have a calendar and plan for events. If there was a birthday/wedding coming up, I would lay low for a couple of weeks on my social spending to make up for the week it went over. Being strict like this is hard but it works.

Tell Your Family And Friends What You Are Saving For

By telling others what your goals are they will understand why you sometimes say no to going out for drinks or dinner, and that you are not being anti-social. Most people usually people want to save for something, so by you saying no to that fancy restaurant and suggest a cheaper one, others will also appreciate it.

Shop Local

Tips For Saving For Travel Fruit Lady Vietnam
Local fruit markets look different everywhere. This one was in Ben Tre, Vietnam.

If you can buy at local markets, do it. We found this is where the best value and top quality fresh food was. Your local butcher is always great, with different specials for the week. I know there are some places where you don’t have the opportunity to have local markets, but there will probably be a grocery store. We got the local catalogues for our supermarkets and worked out where the specials are for the items we wanted. I know it is a little more hassle and a little more time, but you save from it. And I know sometimes you do not have options and you only have the one shop to choose from. Only take the amount you have budgeted for food for the week to the shops. This will make you remember that you don’t need that unnecessary item.

A plus side to shopping local is you are supporting small businesses in your neighbourhood instead of large corporations. Not only is this great for your wallet, you are helping create a sustainable business environment around your home. A win for everybody!

Buy In Bulk And Stock Up

Buying bulk saves you a lot in the long run. We used to buy bread, meat, fruits and vegetables in bulk and freeze them. Fruits and vegetables go off quickly so freezing them for smoothies or cooking is great. Stock up on your pantry items. They won’t go off and you can grab them when they come on sale.

Cook At Home, And Cut Down On Other Things You Don’t Need

Making your lunch everyday for work instead of buying it can save you between $50-$75 a week and $2,600 – $3,900 a year. Are you following me? Buying a coffee daily can cost $20 a week and $1,040 a year. That’s a lot of money when you think about it. Consider these points when you are buying these items. Do you really need them or do you just want them? I used to get up 20 minutes early in the mornings to make our lunch for the day, or cook extra food at dinner the night before, so we had lunch. We both had travel mugs and would make a coffee for the commute to work. We saved a lot of money from doing this.

Instead of going out for dinner, throw a dinner party at home. Get everyone to bring a different dish and share the costs and workload. Not only are these great ways to socialise with your friends, a lot of the time the host is left with all the leftovers! There is your lunch the next day!

When it comes to buying new clothes, don’t automatically reach for the most expensive and fashionable outfits. I used to shop at thrift stores for my clothing. You would not believe the bargains you can find! Some of the clothing still has their tags on and have never been worn.

Put Up Some Reminders

I used to put pictures everywhere of destinations I wanted to go. By putting little reminders all over the plce it will encourage you to not spend more than you have budgeted for, and to keep your goals in mind. Watching your savings go up and seeing your dreams get closer will be a very rewarding thing in the end. If you think that splashing out on a new dress or phone is worth the stepback, think about how much better drinking a cocktail on a Caribbean island would be!

Socialise At Home – Not At Bars And Restaurants

Tips For Saving For Travel Drinking At Home
Saving money by drinking at home. Good for the wallet, and good for the soul!

You do need a social life or you will end up going crazy. Instead of going out for an evening meal, throw a dinner party at home. Get everyone to bring a different dish, and share the costs and workload. Not only are these great ways to socialise with your friends, a lot of the time the host is left with all the leftovers! There is your lunch for the next day!

On Saturdays or Sundays every 2nd week, we used to have a barbecue at a local park, or someone’s place to catch up with all our friends. You save money by bringing your own food and drinks. This way you can eat a great meal, on a budget, with good company. A 6 pack of beer would be $18, and a BBQ meat pack costs $10. Enough food and beer for the both of us. Coming in at less than $15 each, we consider that to be a pretty good day. If we went out for dinner and drinks this might have cost us around $80 – and that’s a cheap night out in Australia!

Be The Designated Driver

When Jazza and I were saving we did go out now and then for special occasions (birthdays, weddings, concerts, etc). We always took turns in being the designated driver, although to be honest it was usually me driving and Jazza drinking. It saved us so much on taxi fares. A taxi in Australia is not cheap. An 8km cab might cost you $35 depending on traffic. That is only one-way too. Sometimes I would pick up other friends and they were often generous and paid for the parking fee (if there was one). Non-alcoholic drinks are also cheaper usually, and better for you.

Use Public Transport Or Cycle/Walk

We only had 1 car between us but we hated using it just to go to work. Most of the time we would use public transport or ride bicycles. If you end up driving to work parking fees can add up to nearly $70 – $100 per week – up to $5,200 yearly! It depends where you work as to how much the cost of the parking fee will be. If you catch public transport in Australia it may cost you $3 per way and about $36 a week, which is way better than $70 – $100. Not to mention paying for fuel, which is getting more and more expensive every year! If you are able to walk or ride a bicycle, you have free transport! You are saving and exercising at the same time.

And The Opposite Of Tips For Saving – Reward Yourself!

Ok, I’ll admit that saving isn’t easy, and you need to reward yourself every now and then. Whether you crack and buy some (secondhand) clothes, go to the movies, or go to a concert, as long as you don’t splurge too much this will help keep you sane. These rewards are not weekly. I would say monthly as a small reward to keep your eye on the prize. Take a mini-getaway when you reach the halfway point of your savings. Don’t over indulge in this though. You are working hard to save a certain amount every month! Don’t spend half of it on clothes. I used to treat myself with a chocolate or a coffee weekly. But when you are on that holiday you have always wanted to go on, that will be the greatest reward.

Tips For Saving For Travel Great Ocean Road
A little reward for ourselves – A road trip to the Great Ocean Road
Picture of Alesha Bradford

Alesha Bradford

As one half (some would say the better) of NOMADasaurus, Alesha has been travelling extensively since 2004. Her backpacking missions have seen her take on most of North America, Central America and parts of the UK. Now she is in South East Asia, backpacking overland to South Africa without taking any air transport. With an insatiable appetite for adventure and happiness, she aims to inspire others to realise their dreams by sharing her experiences through photography and travel advice. You can follow her journey on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram

Hi, We’re Alesha and Jarryd!

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14 thoughts on “Tips For Saving For Travel”

  1. Hi guys!! I’ve just found your blog and I can’t believe all the places you’ve been!! When was it that you were in South America? I’m asking since I live in Patagonia (not the nice part of Patagonia but still)! Hope you are still around!
    Hugs from down here,

    • Hi Carina, How are you? We are in Bahai Blanca heading down to Ushuaia as we speak. What area do you live? We arrived in Argentina on the 12th. Loving it. 🙂

  2. waste of time you dont have to have a degree to know that preparing your lunch is cheaper than buying it everyday or drinking at home and not in a pub lol

    • Thanks for your awesome comment and feedback there Marcin! 🙂

  3. You dont need to skimp on your socialising, i was just more creative. i was living in london (not well known for being a cheap city) and registered with a site that gives you free screenings to shows. go to the cinema on cheap xxx day and make sure its not central london. there are loads of free museums and exhibitions or just look for free stuff in time out online, its a little extra work but its good practice for travelling on a budget. travel gear can be quite expensive so work out what you need and buy it over time in the sales. i got everything i have with me reduced except my backpack. I did cycle everywhere and saved a lot of money and its a great way to see the city, not so great on wet days but still fun.

    • We definitely agree with you there, Zoe. Being creative is a great way to keep up the socialising part of life. Those free cinema screenings sound awesome! Some great tips you threw in there as well. Thanks for reading! 😀

  4. these are good tips. I’ve always been horrible at saving but I do try to make a rewards system. Back in the states when I was saving money I would set limits- I’d only buy one coffee a week so then it was something I’d look forward too.

    • That’s the perfect way to do it! You look forward to that coffee so much and you do need rewards when saving. Otherwise you’re more likely to go, “Stuff it”, and go spend it all on a new car or something.

  5. Gooooood tips! Saving is hard, I can’t believe you saved that much money! We love to go out to eat and find that is where the bulk of our money goes! When really serious about saving, I know that habit needs to be stopped!

    • Definitely is hard to limit your socialising, but if you have a big goal in mind it can make things just that little bit easier. We always think that we’d rather be eating out in a foreign country than the same restaurant we always go to. Thanks for reading, Katie 😀

  6. I actually left home in NY and moved to Melbourne to save for travel. That’s not to say my living expenses will be cheaper. In fact, they’ll probably be more because I didn’t pay for rent in NY. But, I figure, if I’m going to be working so I can travel more, I might as well do it in another location. So it’s sort of like traveling…

    • We agree Melissa! When we had to buckle down to save for our current trip, we chose Margaret River in the Southwest of Australia to be our base. Not the cheapest place, but it is beautiful and continually inspired us to keep moving forward to achieving our dream. To us everyday was an adventure which was beneficial for our sanity, instead of moving back to a place we had originally left from. Thanks for reading, and enjoy Melbourne!

    • Hi,

      I just wanted to say how much I’m enjoying your blog! There’s so much interesting information, lots of valuable tips, but best of all, the writing and pictures are great which make it so much fun to read. Thanks so much for sharing your adventures with the world! I was extra excited when I saw that you’d been in Myanmar. We’re off to Yangon next week and are super excited. Thanks for the great tips!


      • Thanks very much Kina. We appreciate your kind words. Have fun in Myanmar! It is such a wonderful country. Happy travels.

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