Ahh, is there anything that evokes a bigger sense of wanderlust than a good old-fashioned grey, skint January? That’s where we come in! Step away from your Netflix, self-pity and scattered Quality Street wrappers, take a deep breath in, and repeat after us, “2019 will be My. Year.”
Your year of travel, of making a difference. Of new places, faces and experiences.
But whether you want to go on amazing holidays and discover new countries continuously throughout 2019 whilst working or studying, or aim to be on one big backpacking trip by the end of it, there’s always one big fat cloud that looms over you. The cost. Airfare, visas, spending money, insurance, accommodation… it mounts up to a point where you can’t envisage ever being able to afford it all.
But fear not – we’re the experts at making travel a reality, and making saving for it (sort of) fun. Hell, saving up for our next adventure is all we do. (Apart from actually going on adventures, obviously).
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There are a heap of ways you can think outside the box in order to save. And we’re not talking lengths as great as medical trials, couchsurfing for months on end to save on rent, or beans on toast for every meal. Just some. So, behold! Here’s our comprehensive guide on how to save enough money to travel.
Go through your last six months’ worth of bank statements. No, we won’t ask you to make a spreadsheet of ins and outs, with complicated formulas working out what areas of your life you spend the most on. Boring.
Just give it a once over, stare in horror at the amount of transactions that occurred on that night out back in November, and try to remember what on Earth it was you spent £64 on from Amazon. Add up just how much you could have saved in that six months from said unnecessaries. Cry. Vow to change your habits.
Create a dedicated savings account on your Monzo or banking app. Name it something along the lines of ’ESCAPE FUND’ or ’TOKYO 2019’.
If you get paid a monthly wage, calculate how much you can realistically move straight into this savings account at the start of each month and start moving it across as soon as it comes into your account. Once it’s been shoved in your savings, don’t touch it.
You’re only really ‘going’ and it only feels real, once you’ve booked your trip. Then the race is really on to save as much as possible. So, once you’re confident you’ll have enough to fund your travels if you keep saving for the next six months, lock your flights in with a £49 deposit. You’ll be able to pay the rest off ten weeks before you fly.
Here’s a trick to save even more. Throughout each month, every time you actively save money i.e. forgo something you’d usually splurge on, immediately pull out your phone and transfer the cost of it, that you would have spent, into your savings.
Those chocolate cake cravings, Uber rides and morning Starbucks really start to add up.
And if you keep what you would have spent in your current account, you’ll only spend that money on something else later on in the month… so make sure you put it in your savings!
Change your spending habits. Sound frightening? Don’t know were to start? We’ll break it down for you, week by week, month by month, to show you the grand total of what you could save in just a year… and the experiences it could buy you.
Your one-year travel savings plan
Your round trip to work via bus could cost as much as £5 per day. (Which, coincidentally, could be your entire daily expenditure on yummy street Thai street food. And beer).
So if you cycle instead, you’re saving £25 per week, which is £100 per month.
£100 x 12 = £1200 a year.
Trains, or the Underground in London, cost more – you’re looking at £6 per day.
So even if you only cut back on the public transport some days, you’d be saving yourself close to £1000.
Say you go to a gig, the cinema, bowling, or to crazy golf once a month. Your entrance ticket would be around £8-20. Popcorn and a drink or two, another £7.
Total: Approx £15 (more, if you’re a gig-obsessed muso).
£15 x 12 = £180
What £180 can buy you:
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We know that a cheeky Nandos, a Chinese on a raging hangover, a Sunday roast or Friday night curry are lifelines. And once a week, this habit seems well worth the £15/20 you’ll spend.
But! £20 x 4= £80
£80 x 12 = £960
£960 can get you…
Return flights to Japan and up to a week’s worth of accommodation in Tokyo. Oh, and two weeks’ worth of sushi that’s loads better than the stuff you’re used to from your local Japanese joint.
If you spend even more than £20 a week on eating out, say, £30 (get you, big shot), and you stop, you’ll save £1440.
£1440 would get you…
Pretty much the rest of your Round the World flights paid off after you put down the £49 deposit on them.
Or return flights to Japan, two weeks’ accommodation and your bullet trains from Tokyo to Kyoto.
Sorry Deliveroo, it’s me, not you…
Personal anecdote time. Not so long ago, I paid £8 a month for Deliveroo Premium, which eliminates delivery fees.
Soon, my lazy hungover orders amounted to one a week, meaning in total, including my membership (the shaaame) my monthly takeout expenditure was looking like this…
£15 x 4 = £60. Plus £8 membership = £68.
£68 x 12 = £816 a year.
And if you just wanted to cut back, still allowing yourself one cheeky Deliveroo a month… you’d still save £600 within a year.
A 10-day beach break in Sri Lanka, Thailand, or Malaysia. (We heard they do better curries over there, anyway).
A 6-day trek through Peru’s jungle and mountains, to Machu Picchu.
Make your own breakfast and lunch
Yeah yeah. The first tactic adopted by anyone looking to pinch pennies, for some, can be easier said than done.
But if you start batch cooking pasta, curry, lentil or rice dishes to take to work with you throughout the week, you’ll save around £5 per day.
£5 x 5 = £25.
£25 x 4 = £100 per month.
£100 x 12 = another £1200.
Looks like you might be able to latch on a month in Bali to the end of your trip across Southeast Asia, after all. Go! Raid Lidl and get batch cooking!
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If you work in a large town or city, the chances are, you stop to grab a coffee before you start uni or work, at least three times a week.
£2.50 x 3 = £7.50 per week.
£7.50 x 4 = £30 per month.
£30 x 12 = £360.
Or, think of it like this. Each coffee you abstain from here in the UK, is another delicious, Instagrammable one in the home of coffee, Melbourne.
If you still can’t resist the odd one, take your own keep-cup and have it poured in. You’ll save 50p, and a tiny bit more of the environment every time. Watching the pennies, and the plastic.
Anyway, £360 is…
Return flights to Thailand. Elephant-feeding, island-hopping, Full Moon-partying buzz > caffeine buzz.
We know you want to be beach ready for your trip, but even budget gym memberships can cost £30 a month, with the big guns costing £100+ a month.
Three months before you leave, end your gym membership and stay fit by running instead. Hellooo, heaps of extra spending money!
And if you need that added incentive to do it, book in a 10k or a half marathon a few weeks before you’re due to fly. It will spur you on and give you something to train for, and will mean that in the months running up to your race you won’t be spending as much on going out and eating out.
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Nobody wants you to be a hermit, so we’d never deny you of your right to party. Maybe just cut back by one night out a month for the duration of saving.
£40/50 for the average night of pub, club entry, drinks and a taxi home could get you:
- A week in a beach hut in the Philippines
- A hair-raising canyon plummet in New Zealand
- A day in a Thai Elephant sanctuary
- Entrance into Angkor Wat in Cambodia
- A £49 deposit on your dream flights.
Airbnb or sublet
Off on holiday for two weeks, or going away for the weekend?
Advertise for someone to stay in your room and you could make an extra £50-300 for the duration you’re away. Will straight up cover the cost of your accommodation abroad.
Sort of like a free(ish) holiday when you think about it!
We don’t have to go extreme here, but when you think about it…
- Ten old records flogged on eBay could get you return flights to Morocco.
- Second hand handbags and coats could be enough to pay for your Camel Safari there.
- Your car? Six months of zen, colour and beautiful chaos in India. It’s bloomin’ cheap there!
- Active on Instagram? Get on Depop and flog old clothes. There’s an another easy £100 straight into your savings!
Scrap fast fashion
Check your last year’s worth of bank statements for high street fashion brands and add it all up. Then try to remember exactly what in that cluttered wardrobe of yours, each transaction stood for. How much of it do you still wear regularly?
Some people’s ASOS, Topshop and Primark expenditure can amount to over £1000 a year.
You don’t need any of the things they make you think you do, and you definitely won’t when you’re barefoot on a beach in paradise.
So stop following fashion accounts on Instagram, and start following awesome travel accounts like ours for some real life inspiration!
Other ways to save money
- Dog sit
- Baby sit
- If you’re a student or under 31, buy an ISIC or IYTC card long before you go travelling. There are thousands of savings to be had on clothes, burger joint and more.
- Use your skills to pay the bills and freelance – People per Hour is a great place to start.
- Scour the internet for free trials of everything from grocery boxes, to contact lens subscriptions, in order to get a week, or month’s worth for free. Cheeky.
- Take online marketing surveys and partake in focus groups
- Trade in costly nights out for pub quizzes. Take your cleverest friends and you might actually win a few quid. (We always look for the ones with a Geography round).
- If you live anywhere near your parents still, move back home for a few months to save on rent altogether.
- Going travelling with your bestie? If you’re both renting separate rooms, why not consider moving in together, into one room with two beds for the last month or two before you fly? You’ll get to split your rent, meaning even more spends.
Got any other random/excellent techniques on how to save enough dosh to travel? Share them here so you can empower more young travellers to break out and go see the world!