Have you been infected by the travel bug? If so, there’s only one cure – hitting the road! Of course, depending on your financial situation, travel budgeting for the trip of a lifetime may be easier said than done. Everyday expenses like rent, car payments and groceries can make it tough to save up for a big trip; and if there’s an emergency or a sudden, unexpected expense, travel savings are often the first fund you dip into.
But don’t be discouraged! There are plenty of tips and tricks to help you save money for travel and enjoy the trip of a lifetime.
Bring in part-time income
Of course, you work hard every day, but in order to really get your travel budgeting efforts off the ground, find just one more source of income to bring in a bit more money every month. It could be selling good-condition clothing to a local consignment store; doing gardening, cooking or cleaning work for a neighbor; or simply picking up an extra shift at your job once a month. If you’ve already got a hobby like photography or art, ask around and see if anyone is willing to pay for what you’re doing anyway in your free time.
Sell your car
While it’s not always the right time to give up a vehicle, selling your car can add some serious bucks to your travel fund. If you’re not able to sell, you could simply reduce how many days per week you drive your car; in order to save on gas money and parking. Plus, an added bonus of ditching your auto and using public transportation instead is that you’re not just saving money for travel – you’re actually preparing to travel around cities just like the locals do when you head abroad.
Stop eating out
You’ll have plenty of opportunities to eat out when you’re on the trip of a lifetime – but for now, try cooking at home and saving money for travel. Avoiding restaurants can amount to hundreds of dollars saved every month, especially if you’re vigilant about packing lunches and snacks as well. If you really want to amp up the travel budgeting, buy in bulk and make meals ahead of time so that you won’t be tempted to stray away from your homemade meal savings plan.
Write out a budget
Saving money for travel doesn’t magically happen – you must take an active hand in helping the fund along! Sit down and work out a monthly savings plan; tracking money that comes in, like your salary and other income, and money that goes out, for all your bills and spending. Don't forget to also plan for unexpected expenses. What’s left over? Where can you trim from money going out, and where can you increase money coming in? After this travel budgeting exercise, decide on an achievable amount that you can put aside each month toward your trip.
Saving money for travel isn’t nearly as fun as spending it, but you can motivate your travel budgeting by thinking about all the fun you’re going to have on your trip! Print out pictures of where you want to go, read guidebooks and start writing an itinerary, and talk to people who’ve been there themselves to get ideas on all the undiscovered places you won’t want to miss. Then, when you’re tempted to spend on something that takes away money from your travel fund, you’ll have plenty of reason to step back and save it instead.