A reader sent me an email one day day asking for some saving tips for world travel.
They are a couple who dream of traveling around the world together, but are unsure how they can make it happen with their finances. (They also should read my couples travel post.)
I am sure this is a problem many of us have. A lack of finances is what prevents people from beginning their travels in the first place.
Many people have often mistaken us for being very well off financially to have traveled the way we have. I wish – not true at all.
We just made smart decisions and stuck to some sensible saving tips for our world travel.
Here are a few of our strategies that you might be able to put into practice when planning and budgeting for your travels.
Ask Yourself the Right Financial Questions
- How can I create more money in my life?
- How can I cut back in order to save more money? (a dollar saved is a dollar earned.)
How Can I Create More Money in Order to Travel?
Start thinking about what skills you have and what extra jobs you can take on to earn and save more money for travel.
No, it is not easy. The last thing you want to do after a long, hard day at work is go to work again. But, how big is your dream? How much do you want it?
If you want it bad enough, you will do it.
I used to come home from a day of teaching, and instead of collapsing on the couch I would put my uniform on and head down to the local restaurant or bar and start my second shift, or I would gather my tutoring materials together to spend a couple of hours teaching privately.
Craig also gave up his weekends to work extra shifts. Do what you have to do!
Before we moved to the States, we had just come home from 5 months in Africa. Our bank balance was extremely low. We only had a few months to save several thousand dollars and it wasn’t looking good.
Our airfares were already covered – Craig’s with his round the world ticket, and my free flight was paid for by my company. But we needed moving and living expenses.
Time to find a job that would pay us extremely well and allow us to save.
My brother convinced us to go to Kuri Bay to pearl farm with him. We knew nothing about pearling and decided it was time to learn a new skill and go for it.
All our accommodation and food was paid for. We lived on camp, miles from civilization for up to 5 weeks at a time, for four months.
We did nothing but work. It was tough, but after a five-week shift we walked away with $10,000 in our bank account.
We did 3 five week swings. Pretty easy money after all.
Boarders / Rent
In 2002 before we left for our five-year honeymoon, we had our own 4 bedroom two story house. Instead of just the two of us trying to fill in the space we invited two people to come join us.
Not only did we get extra cash coming in to our savings account, but we had lots of fun times together.
Who can you bring in as a boarder? Or can you move somewhere cheaper and rent your place out? Maybe you might have to move back in with your parents for awhile.
Do what you have to do.
Sell Unused Possessions
Ebay and Craigslist are ready to be your new best friend.
Go through all your crap and sell what you don’t need or use. Even if you only make a couple of hundred bucks, that is money that will give you a few days in Asia or Africa. It is all worth it.
Trade your materialistic things for memories.
Make it a Working Holiday
This is one of our favorite strategies. If you plan to make your travels around the world long-term, and you haven’t saved up a bunch of cash beforehand, then one of the best ways to fund your travels is to work as you go.
We’ve had many jobs around the world that allowed us to live as an expat and explore the region.
This means you don’t have to save as much to begin with and once you are there you’ll be earning the local currency.
You also get to experience another culture deeply by being immersed in the day to day living.
You can hop from country to country on different working holiday visas, and if you are lucky enough you might land a work opportunity that provides you with free flights and accommodation.
This happened to us in Australia, Thailand, and the USA.
Save Your Tax Returns and Bonuses
This has given us huge lumps of money at times to travel with. Tax returns and bonuses are unexpected win falls.
Don’t ever use this money for anything other than paying off debts or saving for your dreams. Take that cash and put it straight into your savings account.
In 2005, we were getting ready to road trip south to Florida for the summer months and did not have anywhere near the amount of money we needed. From out of the blue, a friend I worked with in Dublin contacted me to let me know I had back pay due to me from when I taught in Dublin for 6 months.
After arranging how she could deposit in my bank account for me, I had $2,500 to go play with on our road trip.
How Do I Save Money for World Travel?
Get clear on what it is you want from life.
If you find you have a wardrobe full of clothes never worn, or a shed full of unused toys then you are not clear on what you want from life or your purpose.
The stuff is filling that void for you. Why are you here? What do you want your life to be represented by – stuff or memories?
When tempted to buy things you don’t really need you need, stop and ask yourself some serious questions:
- Is buying ____________ worth giving up travel for? (or any dream you want)?
- Could this ____________ be worth more to me than learning to dive on the Great Barrier Reef?
- Do I want this to be the representation of my life’s experiences?
- How will it enrich my life and bring me closer to my goals?
Luxury Verse Needs
Get back to basics.
You don’t really need a lot to survive, nor to have a great life really. You can get by with less. Your life will feel less cluttered, which will free up more energy in order to attract more money to you.
Ditch the labels, the expensive price tags, the brand new cars and other goods, the fancy restaurants, and top shelf drinks. Start living on a needs basis, not a want.
One thing we loved about living in big cities like London, Bangkok and Dublin was that we did not need a car. Cars are expensive.
Not only do you have to buy it, you have to insure it, maintain it, and fill it with expensive fuel.
Save your money, help the environment, and lose the car for public transport or better yet, your feet. This will help you get in shape for your travels physically as well as financially.
Eat at Home
This is probably the one we have most difficulty with and I blame travel for this. We are too used to going out to eat, especially in cheap countries like Asia and Africa.
The first place to cut is buying your work lunches. Take your own lunch to work, including drinks and yes… coffee...bye bye Starbucks (weep).
Reduce dinners out as much as you can and substitute them for picnics at the park or barbecues at home with your mates. Make eating at home fun by trying new recipes and drinking local beer and wine while you cook.
Live Off One Wage
This was one of our biggest strategies for saving a lot of money fast. If you don’t put this into practice before you know it you will have spent both your wages on stuff you don’t need.
Decide whose wage you can live off (after you have followed these saving tips for world travel) and then bank one whole complete wage into a savings account and live off the other.
If you don’t have the money for something, then you can’t do it.
Open a Travel Savings Account
Use a high-interest savings account for your travel fund. Automate it so that a certain amount goes in there each week, or month, depending on how often you get paid, and reduce your access to it to avoid temptation.
Research to find out which savings account is going to give you the best interest with low fees. In Australia we use the ING Savings Maximiser account as our travel fund of choice.
Work Out a Travel Plan
Take some time to plan your travel style
- How do you plan on getting around when you travel?
- What sort of places are you willing to stay, where will you eat?
In other words how low budget do you plan to go?
The lower your travel style, the lower your costs and the greater chance you have to get on the road earlier and for longer.
Choose your destinations wisely. My first trip abroad was 3 months in Indonesia, which was incredibly cheap.
I then moved straight to London where I lost two thirds of my money when I flew into Heathrow. Ouch!! Lucky I was moving there to work.
I was only there for about two weeks before I was working behind the bar in Liverpool St for the summer waiting for school to start again.
Now that English pounds were flowing into my pocket I could breathe again. Of course earning the pound meant that my money went extremely far when I traveled Europe for the summer in a campervan.
Working out a strategic travel plan will really assist you in saving money for your world travel. It will show you just how possible it is and how little money you really need.
I hope these saving tips for world travel have helped you see the light.
Keep believing in your dreams. If you want it bad enough, you will find a way.
What are your thoughts on saving for long-term travel?
Can you share any money saving tips?