How to save money For a trip: 3 Stage savings booster plan

How to save money for a trip? The problem is the same for everyone. Cutting back to save money for travel, faster, means giving up things you like.

But, what if the saving process could be maximised, without feeling like you have to become a hermit and miss out on life.

We personally (Tommo & Megsy – about link) saved over $30,000 USD (more than 50% of our combined income) in 9 months in order to travel for 2 years. During those 9 months we didn’t give up on life.

What we did was prioritise, maximise and streamline.

And yes, the Acronym for this is PMS – sorry! So, if you want to save like crazy while still maintaining decent quality of life, you need PMS… I can see this could get confusing.

Either way, the more you can save, the longer or better you can travel. The quicker you can save money for travel, the sooner you can hit the road! That is likely the goal for everyone reading this, so lets get into it.

How to Save Money For a trip – The 3 Stage Process

Save money to travel PART 1: Prioritise

1. How to save money for a trip: Make travel your priority

How to save money for a trip like this!

You could be getting experiences like this.

A mindset shift is numero uno on the importance scale. If you have other priorities above how to save money for a trip, you will always be one step behind. There are always distractions and things to potentially waste money on.

But, what do you really need? What is essential and what is just frivolous? You decide. Focus on just how awesome your trip is going to be. It’ll be more awesome than going to the expensive coffee shop, I promise. So just make coffee at home.

Every time you think about spending anything, just think “Would I rather be on my adventure sooner, or waste money today?”

2. How to save money for a trip: Finally Quit something…

What vice costs you money every day? Ivana & Gianni quit smoking in order to save the money to travel. Whether it be coffee, alcohol, gambling or many other possible vices, what could you quit that would have a serious impact on your monthly outgoings?

If travel is more important than smoking, aside from the health benefits, quitting may pay for much of your trip.

A cheap pack of cigarettes may cost $6 – Thats over $2,000 a year if you smoke 1 pack a day. In many developed countries like Australia and the UK the prices are much higher. For the UK an average price around £8 ($12) means an annual spend of about £3,000. For Australia? It’s closer to $20 ($16USD) or over AUD$7,000 per year!

Could quitting something make a big difference to saving money to travel?

Save money to travel PART 2: Maximise

3. How to save money for a trip: Get a savings account

Believe me, trying to save money in your regular account is a disaster.

Firstly, a savings account should have at least some rate of interest (if your current one doesn’t, look at opening one that has a promo rate for opening it). Interest is free money, so don’t skip it just because opening a new account is annoying.

Secondly, keeping savings separate stops you from spending them. Its all about tracking. Track what goes in. With each pay check, put in more than you can afford to and compete with yourself each month to take out less and less.

Watching the money grow is also an incentive bringing you closer to day one on the road!

4. How to save money for a trip: Get an extra income

Don’t just save money for travel, make more money for travel. Holding down a second job may be too much for you. There are other ways to make money though.

Here is one idea for a start.

AirBnB – rent out your spare room or floor space. You’ll be surprised how many travelers just need the cheapest price and are happy to sleep on a mat on the floor if it means they can get to visit somewhere. If you offer a friendly welcome, you have a better chance of getting more guests.

Obviously, the better the conditions of the accommodation you offer, the more you can make. But, pretty much anyone can earn some money (Make sure it is within your rental contract, and local law to do so).

You may not get guests all the time, or want to have them. But for a few days a month and doing a bit of extra laundry for towels and sheets, you could make…

$20 per night (after fees and expenses) x 5 nights a month x 12 months = $1,200 per year.

If you have a nice space to offer, you could be making a lot more.

Get started with AirBnB now and also get a $25 (£16/22E) discount to use on your backpacking trip only with this link.

Some other options:

5. How to save money for a trip: Make Multiple small savings to maximise your savings

Saving money for a trip, is really just about Math. Do the math and you’ll realise why we found it so easy to save money for travel without massively changing our lifestyle

As with the example of quitting smoking above, it’s easy to see how small changes add up very quickly over time. The big picture is all about how the small changes, that you barely notice, work together to great effect.

I’m going to give you an example of a few common ones. They may not apply specifically to you but hopefully it will illustrate how simple this could be to fit to your own circumstance.


Buying Lunch $5 per work day = $25 per week = $325 per quarter


Making Lunch $1.50 per work day = $7.50 per week = $97.50 per quarter

Total Saving per year = $910


One person per car is not only costing you money but it’s not great for the environment.

Solo commute: $2 per day x 250 trips = $500

Shared Commute: $2 per day x 125 work days = $250

Savings per year = $250

Even more savings if you can car pool with more than one person or if you have a much longer commute with high fuel bills.

Work out at home

How’s that gym membership you bought in January going? You can work out at home for free. There are loads of programs on Youtube. Even get a buddy to join you if you miss having people around for your workout.

Gym membership: $40 per month x 12 = $480

Home exercise: chin up bar $20, Exercise bands $15, own body weight $free = $35 total

Savings per year = $445

Each of these are only costing $1 to $4 per day. It feels like chump change. But add them up for a 12 month saving period and these 3 changes alone could save you $1,605 in the next 12 months.

Can you find 30 other small changes that save just $1 per day each? that’s $11,000 per year. You’ll be traveling in no time!

Here are 90 other ideas to get you started.

Save money to travel Part 3: Streamline

6. How to save money for a trip: Balance your budget

Knowing where you are spending money is key to figuring out how to change those expenditures. I used a spreadsheet to figure out our spending. How much of dent is your rent causing? How much are you spending on transport? On shopping? Food? Going out?

Once you know where the money goes, decide which things you are willing to change and which are too important to you to think about giving up. Could you live in a smaller apartment? Or a cheaper part of town? Can you go out less and have more parties with friends at home?

7. How to save money for a trip: Get back to zero

Debt is bad. We all know that. Companies make it easy for us to get into debt. Debt means the bank owns you. Working to keep the repo man from your door. Some people love the consumer life. Others don’t. Either way, getting out of debt means more freedom and more money for travel.

If you own anything on finance, seriously consider returning it. Cut your losses and quit debt. Pay off all your debts before you leave. Having those hanging over your head while you are on the road or when you get home is no fun.

You may just find you love travel so much, you don’t want to go home. That’s what happened to us. Having a debt waiting for you will likely mean you have no choice but to go back to work.

You also pay interest on all your debts. More unnecessary outgoings. Get back to zero as quickly as you can and then focus on positive savings.


Save money for travel – now!

Are you ready to PMS your savings? Put the above 7 tips into action.

  • Make travel your priority
  • Quit a vice
  • Open a savings account and start putting in regular payments
  • Find an additional income source that won’t turn you into a work slave
  • Make multiple small savings that won’t impact your lifestyle as much as big changes would
  • Make up a spreadsheet of your outgoings and decide if any big changes are realistic
  • Pay off your debts first and stop spending on interest

What are your best saving tips? Help other travelers by leaving suggestions below.

About The Author


Tommo is a world nomad, pizza addict and travel pro. A bus ticket and a backpack are all he needs to get by. From kissing a crocodile in Thailand to dancing on tables in Greece, Tommo is living the dream and then writing about it.

Leave us a comment

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field