Saving for travel

Saving money to travel can be hard.  And saving can easily add more stress to your life if you are already on a strict budget, trying to pay back your student loans, or barely making ends meet off of a few part-time jobs.

Truthfully I’m always saving towards vacation. I have a vacation fund and although it’s usually pretty low due to my student status, it’s always on the horizon. When I need to kick things into gear to afford a specific vacation, I resort to some of my favorite money saving tips.


When traveling is a priority of yours saving money isn’t really as painful as pulling teeth. For me, the stress that comes with having to count every nickel and dime has a certain amount of satisfaction because I can envision myself eating pastries in Paris or sipping beers in Panama. Obviously to save, save, save you need to prioritize not only your goals but your spending.


Shop Less

I’m not a big shopper. In fact I never really set out to ‘shop’ anymore. Blame my younger years full of frivolous spending or the fact that I’d rather spend less on material things so I can afford more experience based things, but either way I stay away from the mall. For me (and many foodies) shopping less also applies to the grocery store, the location where I spend the most money and time. Visiting the grocery store less means less impulse buys and we all know what that means.

The Urge To Purge

There’s nothing like spring cleaning with the intention of making money. Every so often I go through my things and evaluate whether or not I need certain things, and then decide if they are sellable. I don’t scrap book anymore and I have enough Coach bags to wear a new one each day of the week sitting in my closet. Clearly I have some money to make.

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A Second Job

I’m the queen of second jobs. In fact all of my jobs would register as such to the ordinary working person, but for me acquiring a second job really just means stepping up my hours here, or volunteering to work more there. And that means more money in my pocket even if I’m sacrificing a bit more of my free time.

Cut Corners

One of my biggest expenses as a student is parking. Iowa City is a great walking and bike riding community, but Matt and I simply live too far away (plus it’s winter!) for me to commute to class on foot or bike. Instead of racking up my parking stubs, I work around Matt’s schedule so he is able to drop me off or pick me up. And I occasionally take a bus or bum a ride. Of course it’s more time effective for me to drive myself, but I’m saving tons of money by cutting this little corner each week.

Experience Based Living

Over the past few years I’ve begun to value experience based living like I never have before. No longer do I feel compelled to spend money just as a way to celebrate friendships or nights out. Of course spending money here and there is expected and even fun, but there are other ways to unite with friends or enjoy life that are cost effective and even free.

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Think Outside the Box

Thinking outside the box can be a fabulous idea when it comes to pulling money together for a trip. Selling scarves, offering a skill of yours up for a certain price, and even donating plasma are all decent ways to round a bit of green before you take off to your destination.

What money saving tips do you swear by when you are trying to save bucks for an upcoming trip?

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9 responses to “Saving for travel

  1. What we would do sometimes, is only keep bare minimum in checking and send all we can to savings. Can’t spend it if you don’t have it! (Of course pretending that what’s in savings isn’t there!)

    Also, cooking more instead of eating out was a big one for us.

    And limiting grocery trips…another biggie because I could shop at the grocery store every day.

  2. Sometimes I travel for work, and if I get reimbursed for anything (i.e. gas, meal, room etc.) that money goes into savings for a personal trip. I also save change in a 5 gallon Red Wing crock (it helps if you have something cool to save it in). Before I go on a trip, the change gets turned in.

  3. I love this post, Kate. I’ve never had a travel fund for myself but that seems like something I really need to set up so that I can plan a trip soon. I haven’t traveled in AGES.

  4. LindsayH

    I like to let people (those close to me, not just every random person) know that I’m trying to earn/save some extra cash. Volunteer to do little things for people to earn a few bucks – my step-mom used to pay me to clean her house, $40 for a couple hours of work. My dad still gives me a few bucks for gas money if I run some errands for him like going to his PO Box. Cooking, cleaning, running errands, pet sitting, dog walking, house sitting, etc. Even if people don’t pay you cash – my friends always give me a gift card to a restaurant when I check on their cats for them while they are away, which helps me save money in the food area that I can put into savings!

  5. I wish that I could afford to travel more and more often. There are so many places I want to explore. Plane ticket costs are the number one deterrent to traveling for me. I’m pretty good at living frugally day to day, and I can plan a cheap vacation that’s just as fun as an expensive one…it’s just the plane ticket that gets me!

  6. I love this post!! I am constantly saving for a trip! My next goal is to go out of the country – I don’t even care where lol. Seriously LOVED these awesome tips 🙂

  7. This is a really helpful post! I often *think* about these things, but seeing them all listed out makes it really concrete. I need to start saving for a vacay asap.
    I love your attitude about spending money on experiences rather than Things.

  8. myblogject

    Hey, I like this post. Very summarised and a concise place to make a mental check list about the saving part for travel! I’m a huge fan of budget travel (as I have to be) and am a very determined budgeter, so I really like this as a little nudge and reminder!

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