Last week my neighbor told me he wouldn’t be able to travel like I do. When I asked why, he told me he doesn’t have the money. After kind of agressivley telling him that he certainly could, I decided to write a post about how I save for travel. Because believe it or not, I have to work really hard to be able to travel. And if I can do it, you can do it too! (Almost) Everyone can travel if they set their mind to it.
(diclaimer: I do realize that I’m privileged to have grown up where I have and to have the freedom I have.)
Read on if you’d like to know how I get to places this:
What do I do?
I am a fulltime student. Currently I’m taking on double the workload so I’ll have some spare time in February. To be able to actually go away in February I also work two jobs. I save every single penny I earn. In the past 4 months I haven’t bought any clothing (which is an accomplishment for me) or spent money on eating out. I pay my rent from my student loan and I’m lucky enough that my parents pay my tuition.
How do I save money?
It is all about priorities. I’ll just tell you right now.It really isn’t that much fun not having any money to spend. Some determination will be required. Researching and planning my trip helps me to continue saving. I started by making a list of everything I can do to save some money. Here are some of the things I do now to save money:
- Sell old stuff. I rented a stand at a flee market in Amsterdam with some friends. I’m also selling some stuff online.
- I work in a Lunchroom and a restaurant
- I sell photos on stock photo websites
- Cancel subscriptions like Netflix
- Stop buying coffee
- Cook at home
These are just some of the things I do. The best advice I could give you is to calculate how much money you need for your trip. Then you make another list calculating how much money you can save by working, selling things and cutting back on some stuff. For some it may take longer then for others, but everyone can cut down on something! If you need more ideas:
More Tips to save money
- Downgrade your phone
- Cancel cable tv and watch everything online
- Get rid of your car (if you can take public transport)
- Buy a reusable water bottle, metal ones are best.
- Change your lightbulbs (save on electricity!)
- Rent out your home while your gone. I’m doing a 2 month trip and I get an extra €800 just from renting out my studio.
There’s no right way to live. Some people have other priorities and that is completely fine. I choose to live as free from obligations as I can. I’m not planning on buying a car, a house or a pet anytime soon. These are all very conscious choices. Think about what’s important to you. Whatever it is, you can make it work. Just be prepared to make some sacrifices.
Travel on a budget
Last but not least. Travel doesn’t have to be expensive. I think doing a lot of research saves me the most money. I’ve gotten return flights Amsterdam-NY for €360 and Amsterdam-Johannesburg for €390. For return flights within Europe I’ve paid as little as €20. Travel off season, check different airports/days and you’ll surely find a good deal eventually.
I almost always stay in dorms. If you’d like to save even more money you can also try couch surfing. Travel can even be cheaper than living at home if you want it to be. Even in a place like this: