As travel lovers, we all wish we could travel more. Instead of saving up for our once-a-year vacations, we dream of being able to spontaneously book a flight to Amsterdam one month and plan a getaway to Puerto Rico the next. But the problem, of course, is that travel costs money.
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t afford to travel more. With a few adjustments to your lifestyle, it’s incredibly easy to save money for travel. And you can do it without sacrificing every pleasure and indulgence in your life.
To show you how to save money for travel, we’ve teamed up with our friends at ButcherBox, the popular high-quality meat delivery service, to give you our top tips for saving money for your next vacation.
Determine your travel style
The first step to creating your budget is to decide what kind of trip you want to take. Will you be backpacking your way across Europe or pampering yourself at a beachfront resort in Cancun? Are you more of the budget traveling type or are you strictly a luxury traveler? Decide what you want your trip to look like and then determine how much you anticipate spending on airfare, accommodation, excursions. This will give you a real number to shoot for in your savings.
Eliminate unnecessary expenses
The next part of budgeting is a bit more complicated. You need to analyze your monthly fixed expenses and eliminate what you can. We went into more detail on this in our post about creating a travel budget worksheet, but we’ll do a quick overview here.
Your fixed monthly expenses are the expenses that stay the same every month. Examples can include things like student loans, gym memberships, subscriptions like Netflix or Spotify, health insurance, cell phone payments, etc. The goal is to eliminate any expenses that you can live without. This requires being honest and even a bit hard on yourself. Can you replace that gym membership with home workouts and jogging? Could you downgrade your cell phone plan for a cheaper option? Maybe you have a friend or family member who will let you use their Netflix log-in. Every dollar counts.
Cook meals at home that you’ll actually enjoy
The idea of cooking at home and meal prepping for the week isn’t exactly groundbreaking. Most of us already know that eating at home is much cheaper than eating out. But, despite knowing it’s a great way to save money, most people still refuse to do it. This is probably because cooking and home and meal prepping often conjures up images of depressing Tupperware filled with tough, bland meats and soggy vegetables. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With a little effort, it’s possible to make food at home that tastes great and saves your money. We personally recommend ButcherBox for this.
We love this service for a few reasons. For one, it’s super convenient. Your box is delivered right to your doorstep and shipping is always free. So there’s no need to worry about running to the grocery store. ButcherBox is also great for cutting down on your grocery bill without sacrificing quality. With their custom box options, you can spend less than $5 per meal and receive high-quality, humanely raised meats, like grass-fed beef, free-range organic chicken, heritage breed pork, and wild-caught seafood that put those grocery store mystery cuts to shame.
ButcherBox also makes meal prep quick and easy, so there's no excuse for ordering takeout. Their site is filled with easy to follow recipes like one-pot cheeseburger pasta and ground pork fried rice that make meal prepping enjoyable. If you’re short on time, they even have products like their grass-fed burgers and wild-caught salmon burgers that you can cook from frozen and have a meal in minutes.
Sell your unwanted stuff
You don’t have to go full digital nomad and sell all of your belongings before moving abroad. But if you take a look around your home, you’re bound to find plenty of things that may look like junk but could actually earn you a good chunk of money.
Now that you stream and download everything, do you have a collection of old video games or movies just collecting dust? Could you live without some of the clothes that are taking up room in your closet? If you’re not in school, do you have any of those criminally expensive textbooks still lying around? Selling these things is a great way to make some extra cash and there are plenty of people out there who would love to take these things off of your hands.
There are a ton of places where you can unload your unwanted things for cash. For mobile apps, OfferUp and Letgo are the most popular options. Other popular places to sell your stuff are Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, eBay, and even your city’s local Facebook Group.
Get a side hustle
You may be able to ask for more hours at work but that’s not possible with some jobs. If you can’t pull any extra shifts or overtime at your current job, consider looking for a side hustle. Making just a little bit of extra money in your spare time can go a long way toward paying for your travels.
There are plenty of different ways to find a side hustle. You can find a food service job waiting tables or barbacking a few nights a week. Or maybe you can find a retail store that could use an extra set of hands during the weekend.
Another option is to find a side hustle that you can do online. Upwork and Fiverr are popular sites for those looking for remote work or digital nomad jobs. So if you have any skills – could be writing, designing, photography, finances – you can offer your services to businesses who need them without having to make a long term commitment.
Book the flight (or just pretend you did)
If you’re serious about saving money for travel, it could help to raise the stakes a bit.
Next time a killer cheap flight deal to an awesome destination lands in your inbox, jump on it. Knowing that you have a trip to look forward to will make it easier to skip that $5 latte or impulse online shopping purchase. Just make sure your trip is far enough that you still give yourself enough time to save money.
Don't worry if you’re not ready to commit. You can still give yourself something to look forward to without spending money. Try hanging up a picture of your dream travel destination at work or make it the background on your phone and computer. These little reminders throughout the day will keep you motivated and remind you why you started saving in the first place.
Start saving money for your next vacation
Saving money for travel doesn’t have to be hard. All it takes is some self-control and a few small changes.
Just remember to stick to the budget even when it’s inconvenient. Keep track of your spending so that you know where your money is going every month. Sell your junk and put that extra money towards your next plane ticket. And of course, skip the expensive take out and make delicious food at home using a service like ButcherBox.
Ready to try ButcherBox? Click here and you’ll receive a 10-14 lb, free-range, all-natural turkey for FREE in your first order!
BY: ZACH ANDERSON, CONTENT MARKETING & FLIGHT EXPERT
Zach is a digital marketer, copywriter, and flight deal expert at Dollar Flight Club where he helps 1 million people travel more. As a digital nomad, he is deeply passionate about location independence, Thai food, and helping others see the world affordably.