Let’s face it. We have the freedom to travel when we are young, but we don’t always have the means. But that shouldn’t stop you! There are so many little ways we can save every day.
Here are some creative ways I have been able to save money for a trip (big or small) that I have found to be both realistic and effective:
Start a Side Business
I realize most of us work 9-5 (or 6 or 7), and it may seem intimidating to try and do something else on the side. My sister and I wanted to make a little extra money, but in a way that would allow us to control our schedule (i.e. if we are tired or busy, we wouldn’t have to work). We both love animals so we decided to start our own pet-sitting business, “Sister Sitters”. For just a couple bucks we printed a few hundred flyers promoting our services which we distributed to our entire apartment building and a Starbucks bulletin board. Our phones have been buzzing ever since! Pet-sitting (or babysitting) is an easy way to make tax-free money and have control over your own schedule. And that is just one idea—there are plenty of other ways to produce an income doing something you enjoy. (Blogging can be one of them!)
Pack Your Lunch
Ugh, I know. It is way more fun (and tasty) to eat out and escape the office in the middle of the day. But eating lunch out really adds up. I live in D.C. and can’t get away with buying lunch for any less than $10. Packing a lunch saves money and you can still get out and buy a coffee (though you should just drink the free coffee most offices provide, so go for a walk and daydream about the trip you’re saving for instead). A great tip to get away from having to pack a whole lunch every day is to cook extra food at dinner and pack leftovers. Saves time and money.
Set up Automatic Savings
Setting money aside automatically is a way to save without noticing you are saving. If you automatically set aside a portion of your paycheck to be deposited into a special travel or savings account, you won’t miss the money. Side note: you should probably already be doing this with your 401K account too. It’s responsible and will help you retire earlier to give you more time to travel!
Book Connecting Flights
Connecting flights can be a pain, but you pay for what you get. I am flying IcelandAir to Europe and stopping over in Iceland on my way there and back, and it is significantly cheaper than if I was flying to Europe directly. Sometimes you can get lucky though and find great deals on discount sites like SkyScanner, Momondo, and Kayak. Also, signing up for frequent flyer programs is a great way to score miles. Or you could always become a flight attendant and fly for free.
Ditch the Membership
Fitness classes are fun and a great way to stay motivated to actually work out, but working out doesn’t have to be expensive. Go swim, bike, or run. Do some jumping jacks or sit-ups on your floor. Take that money you spend on a membership every month and put it toward saving for your trip.
Use Your Tax Return
I know it isn’t tax return season anymore, but this can be something to keep in mind for when it rolls back around next year. I used my tax return money to purchase flights and it was such an easy way to book an international flight and not feel a huge impact to my account. It is also a fun way to reward yourself for all the hard work you put in for the year.
I hope this helps to spark some ideas in your mind for how you can save for your next trip. Don’t let money scare you from seeing new places, just plan ahead, get creative, and you can achieve your dream trip.