As you may have noticed, I love to travel and fortunately get to go away quite a bit. In fact I am currently writing this article on the plane to Los Angeles! While some of my trips are for work and therefore sponsored by a company, a huge chunk of my travel is self-funded. How do I do it? The short answer is I’m a smart saver – I have been self-funding trips abroad since I was 15. This doesn’t necessarily mean I earn a lot of money (I am in currently in a weird part-time work/full-time small business owner situation) but I am good at prioritising and setting aside funds every week, no matter how small.
I’m passionate about exploring the world and encouraging others to do so too, so today I have shared 5 simple ways to reach your saving goals – soon you’ll be heading off on your dream trip!
1. Work out how much you will need for your trip and create a budget
I love Google Docs and am an obsessive spreadsheet creator for trips (you should see my eating lists I write for each destination!) If I am planning a trip, my first step is to break down each item, price it up, and see if I can actually afford to go away. For this America trip I researched and priced up my flights, travel insurance, accommodation, car rental and set an average per diem. Once I had a rough final total, I could then decide if this trip was feasible. If you’re heart is set on the destination but your bank balance isn’t looking too agreeable, why don’t you consider pushing it back 6 months to give you more time to save?
2. Set a realistic saving goal every week and stick to it
Once you have your total price budgeted, break it down into a realistic weekly savings goal. Even if you can only commit to $50/week, stick to it. Within a year you have enough for a fabulous trip to Bali! I find the easiest way is to set up a direct debit, so when you get paid the money goes straight into a separate savings account and you won’t even have the option to try and spend it on something else.
3. Save save save whenever you can
When booking my flights, I use Skyscanner to secure the cheapest price. For this trip I also used a chunk of Frequent Flyer points to knock some money off my airfare too.
I spend ages researching hotels and signed up to hotel sale mailing lists. If I am on a budget I usually stick to Airbnb, however I noticed prices were super high on the weekend I wanted to stay in San Francisco. Just as I was about to book an overpriced room in someone’s house, I noticed the most incredible 5 star hotel was having a huge sale and snagged 3 nights at 60% off. It pays to research!
4. Give up or reduce a daily luxury
Whilst I would never suggest depriving yourself of coffee, how about instead of buying those $4 cappuccinos, you make it yourself at home or in the office? I used to buy 2 coffees a day and now I limit myself to 1 purchased daily. Within 6 months that’s an extra $500 in the bank! I also like to do a huge cook on Sunday night and package it up for lunches during the week – saving money on bought lunches saves me loads. Or what about cutting down on boozy nights out with the girls – they can easily add up to hundreds just for 1 night. Instead buy a few bottles of cheap wine at the shop, ask your friends to each bring a dish and enjoy a cheap and fun night at home.
5. Look for extra money earners – Sell unwanted gifts and clothes on eBay, drive Uber or put your spare room on Airbnb
I am a bit of a shopaholic and a hoarder, which doesn’t mesh well with my saving skills. Every few months I go through my wardrobe and dig out anything I haven’t worn for 6 months. I also sort through household items – for this trip I sold a few dresses, a camera lens I no longer use and a blender and made a few extra hundred bucks. If you have a new car and your license, how about becoming an Uber driver after work or on the weekends? Got a spare bedroom? List it on Airbnb for some extra cash!
I hope these tips will help you reach your savings goal! If you get close but still need to top up your funds, check out Nimble for some last minute travel cash. They are a simple and stress-free way to get a small cash boost before you leave, or if something happens and you need cash fast whilst abroad.
This post is sponsored by Nimble, all thoughts and opinions are my own.