Hey you there, with the bucket list as long as your arm, is this going to be the year you hit the road? If you’re dreaming of travelling, but your bank account disagrees, we have good news. There are ways and means to make your travel dreams a reality. All it takes is a pinch of planning and a dash of discipline. Here are our top 10 tips to get your bum to your dream destination:
How To Save For Your Travels
1. Keep your travel stash separate
Open a separate account for your travel savings. Ideally, you want an high-interest bearing account that bars you from withdrawing money without prior notice. This will keep you from dipping into your savings without thinking about it properly. If this seems a little daunting, start smaller. Certain banks offer a ‘round-up’ feature. I.e. every time you pay by card, it rounds up to the nearest full Dollar/Euro/Pound/Yen etc. You can even choose to have it round up to the nearest 10 units of your currency. These extra dribs and drabs are then set aside in a small pocket savings account. Much like a coin jar! Once there is a substantial amount in there, you can then open your travel savings account with that money.
2. Tie your saving to a real-time purchase
If you battle to set money aside, try to tie your savings to a real-time purchase. Do you buy a take-away coffee every day? Or perhaps you purchase a ready-made meal for lunch at the office? Instead of doing so, bring your own from home. Then pay the amount you’ve saved over the course of the week into your travel savings account.
3. Stagger your savings over a longer period
Try the 52-week savings challenge! Essentially, you put away a certain amount of money each week. This increases incrementally over the 52 weeks. Before you know it, you have a big wad of cash! The key is to make it a challenge for yourself.
4. Look out for early bird deals & special offers
Keep your eyes open and your ear to the ground. If you’re travelling on a budget, early bird deals and last minute offers are your friend! These days, most travel agencies offer special deals on Black Friday as well. The key is to be aware of what you need (e.g. flights) and then keep your eyes open for those exclusive offers.
5. Spread the news
Share your travel plans with friends and family. You could request that they contribute to your travel fund in lieu of birthday- and holiday gifts. Or they could help in some other way. E.g. someone can take you to the airport and fetch you when you get back. Even small savings on things like transport add up.
6. Be nifty with your meals
Save money by eating like a pro. Opt for accommodation that provides breakfast included in your nightly rate. Ideally, you want somewhere with a buffet so you can really get a nice big meal in. If you’re lucky, this can fuel your adventure well into the afternoon. Another way to save is to enjoy meals from food stalls, rather than restaurants. Besides saving a lot of money, you’ll also be eating the food the locals eat. This is a great way to immerse yourself in any given culture.
7. Opt for included transport where possible
If you can find a tour where transport from one destination to the next is included in the overall price, do so! Trains, taxis and bus fares have a way of adding up, especially if you’re travelling big distances. Self-drive is an option as well. However, when you’re being driven in a coach, you can use the time in transit to enjoy the view and engage with your travel companions.
8. Steer clear of the obvious tourist traps
Tourism is a big industry around the world. You can’t blame the locals for trying to milk the trade. However, you can choose not to step in the more obvious traps. E.g. in big cities like Rome, steer clear of the eateries around the major attractions like the Colosseum of St Peter’s Basilica. Instead, move a few streets over and look out for a place where they locals hang out. They don’t want to pay tourist prices either!
9. Find cheap & free things to do
Get this – there are plenty of fun and free things to do in major world cities! From museums with free entry, to forays to the park or local library, community events and hiking excursions, there are plenty of ways to encounter a new place without spending a fortune. Be creative and ask around before you head out. You’ll be amazed at the opportunities you find.
10. Don’t feel the pressure to buy stuff
Souvenirs are great, but don’t feel pressured to buy a lot of things while you’re travelling. You may want to pick up something small to take back home for your loved ones, but don’t burden yourself with expensive gifts that are hard to transport to boot. Instead, Facetime them while you throw a penny into a wishing well in their name, or take a picture of their favourite landmark in the country you’re visiting. In the end, they want you to enjoy your travels. After all, you’re there to make memories!
These are just a few of the ways in which you can make travel more affordable for yourself. Start by following one or two of these guidelines and see how you go. Once you realise that your travel goals are attainable, everything will come together – you’ll see. Now go and make it happen! This could be your year to see a new part of this glorious world we share.