6 Basic Money Saving Tips for Travel Adventures in 2013

| January 9, 2013 | 68 Comments

2012 was an incredible year of travel adventures for us. We used our money saving tips for travel and visited 14 countries. We were quite honestly living the travel dream.

kayaking in Naples

Kayaking in Naples, Italy

While some may think we are loaded with money, they would be very wrong.

In reality, the way we manage to have so many travel adventures around the world is because we prioritise and follow achievable money saving tips for travel.

With a little organisation about how we live on a day to day basis, we are able to save more money to travel.

Set your travel goals first

Before you read on, set two goals; where you want to travel and how long for. There is no point saying you want to travel around the world for 12 months if you only are willing to save $1000.

While I am sure there must be a way to travel for 12 months on $1000 (let me know if you find out how), it is important to be realistic about your travel budget. If you stay in 5 star resorts then you obviously need to save a little more money, than if you stay in backpacker accommodation.

Vernazza Cinque Terre photos

Additionally, if you only want to go on a 2 week trip to the perfect vacation destination then you don’t have to save as much. If you want to enjoy an island paradise why not fly to Bali. You can enjoy island life, the amazing beaches and water sports all within your budget. Most people believe that beach front hotels are really expensive, but with little effort you can find great deals on ocean front Bali hotels.

If you don’t know which accommodation you would prefer, then check out our Hostels vs Hotels vs Apartments article.

6 Basic Money Saving Tips for Travel

With your travel goals set, you can use these 6 basic money saving tips to start travelling to help get you on the road to your own travel adventures in 2013.

Start Saving

Yup that’s right, start saving. You have to actually make a commitment to saving before you can even begin. There is no point going into this half-a$$ed if you are just going to give up in a few weeks.

Open a new bank account with a good interest rate and deposit your first $1. Ideally it would be more than that if you can afford it, but depositing the first $1 means that you have started!

Work out your necessary expenses budget

While it would be great if we could save every penny we make, there are some necessary expenses. You need to eat, put a roof over your head etc. Luckily you can quite easily figure out what your necessary expenses are.

Gözleme traditional Turkish Food

Cut your expenses so you can eat gozleme in Turkey.

And once you have those, you will know how much of your pay cheque you can afford to save. Anything extra should go straight into your bank account removing any temptation for you to make impulse purchases.

Use Cash and get a Piggy Bank

With your necessary expenses worked out you should know exactly how much cash you will need each week. By only getting out a set amount of cash each week you will limit how much you spend with the rest of your pay cheque going into savings.

Any coins from your wallet can also be thrown straight into your piggy bank (or jar). It is amazing how quickly loose change adds up. Within a few weeks you will have enough for another nights accommodation or a nice meal out.

The other benefit is that if you remove the coins then you are less likely to use those coins to buy small treats all the time too.

Change your spending habits

You will need to make sacrifices when you begin to save money for your own travel adventures in 2013. It is important to remember in the back of your mind that you are doing it for a reason…

Sunset Busabout Sail Turkey

Is this reason enough to save money for travel?

Take a look at what you spend your money on at the moment. Every time you buy a cup of coffee, round of beers, go out for lunch or drive to work, they all cost you savings. Money that you could have used while travelling.

By cutting out these small purchases, you will rapidly increase your savings in your new bank account.

Sell your unwanted stuff

Now that you have cut down on a bunch of expenses, you should have some extra money building up every time youe pay cheque comes in.

One trick to boosting your savings right before you leave, is to look at selling some of the things lying around the house. Depending on how long you are travelling for depends on what you can sell. If you are going for a year or more then look at your electronics first.

Realistically, in a years time some of the electronics you own might be getting out of date. While they might be worth money now, they probably won’t be in another years time.

Look at your old clothes, books and furniture. Anything you don’t need in your backpack for your travel adventure can probably be sold.

Chai Tea Istanbul Spice Market

Finally, treat yourself

Okay so this isn’t a money saving tip. But saving is damn hard work. You have to make sacrifices from your usual daily lifestyle to be able to save money for travel. That is why it is important to treat yourself every once in a while to stay sane.

Just don’t go crazy!

Limit yourself to grabbing a beer with your mates, go out for dinner with your loved one or just rent a movie to chill out. By treating yourself, only very rarely, you will be able to save for a lot longer.

To get to Naples in Italy think about going with Travel Republic.

So where are you going to go with all your money saved?

About the Author ()

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

Comments (68)

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  1. Cynthia says:

    Good ideas all. Especially the one about changing your spending habits. It really makes a difference!
    Cynthia recently posted..Kitesurfing In Volusia CountyMy Profile

  2. Good tips, Cole! I’m always amazed when I meet people who think they can’t afford to travel at all and then I look around their homes or their cars and see how much money they must have spent on all that stuff. You CAN afford to travel if you exercise discipline and are willing to set goals, as you said, and go without a few worldly possessions. Here’s to a great 2013 for you guys!
    The Time-Crunched Traveler (Ellen) recently posted..Where we’re headed in 2013My Profile

    • Well said Ellen! We still buy lots of stuff that I end up regretting and we are very tight with our money haha. I am always impressed by travellers with smaller backpacks than us, even though we only travel with carry on!

  3. Dami says:

    I’m going travelling in 4 months so ill be taking these tips into consideration

  4. Cailin says:

    Great tips Cole! I definitely need to learn how to budget better so I can go on more awesome trips! :)
    Cailin recently posted..2012 Travel Yourself Year in Review VideoMy Profile

  5. living the “travel dream” certainly does requires sacrifices which helps separate the dreamers from the doers out there on the road.
    Karen @ Trans-Americas Journey recently posted..Best of the Trans-Americas Journey 2012 – Best HotelsMy Profile

  6. Setting a budget is one of the most important things you can do – whether it’s for traveling or not. Many people waste money and spend a lot on things that aren’t even aware until they see it on paper. Save more, spend less, and watch what you spend your money on.

    The most important money saving tip? Don’t spend more than you have (no debt). Seems simple but many people can’t seem to obey this simple money saving principle.
    Jeremy Branham recently posted..2013 New Years resolutions, travel plans, and a look aheadMy Profile

    • Great advice Jeremy! It is why all our economies are in such trouble and yet people still continue to spend money that they clearly don’t have. Credit cards and loans are the biggest marketing scams in recent history!

  7. Sarah says:

    Great advice! It’s all about priorities. It’s amazing how much you can save when you realize how little you need! I’m saving up for a big trip later this year and I have done all of these! :)
    Sarah recently posted..Travel: A VerbMy Profile

  8. John says:

    The very first thing I did was work out the numbers. I was moving abroad so I wanted as much as possible. I calculated how many pay cheques I was getting before I left and how much I was determined to save from each pay. This told me basically how much I would save right from the start. I ended up saving $6000 in 6 months.
    John recently posted..5 Free Attractions in Las VegasMy Profile

  9. Lissie says:

    I always tell the story of a friend being genuinely envious that I could travel to South America for 6 months, while we sat on the leather furniture she had just bought – which probably cost as much as 1/2 of my trip budget!

    It’s all about prioritisation. Sure there’s a few tricks you learn along the way – I take great delight in not being charged bank fees to use my own cash overseas – but really the bottom line is – just work out a plan, save the money and get on the plane!
    Lissie recently posted..My Non-Boring Travel Money Guide Is FREEMy Profile

  10. I’m horrible with budgets and money and taking out cash weekly has been a life changer. I’m so much more aware of what I’m spending and have saved so much in the past 6 months since I started. Also, I clean out my purse/wallet once a week and put my coins in a jar and I’ve saved a few hundred dollars in 2 years.

    Great tips!
    Amanda @ Farsickness recently posted..13 Travel Blogs to Read in 2013My Profile

  11. Peggy Lilley says:

    Hi, I love your blog. We’re from Tauranga (I’m pretty sure you’re familiar with the sunny BOP) and we’re avid travellers. We take our 8 yr old son with us at every opportunity and also host people from overseas too. 2012 saw us in Japan and
    Australia, this year USA and Canada. 2014 will see us living in Spain and our son will most likely be home schooled there. We love travel and all our surplus funds go towards this, we live very simply usually.

    • Of course I am familiar with Tauranga Peggy! I grew up there :D Born and raised in Otumoetai! You sound like you are living the travel dream as well. Very envious of your trip to Japan and maybe we will cross paths on our travels one day soon :)

  12. Vera says:

    Very good – travel-related or not, improving your financial situation is always a beneficient thing to do! But boy, it’s much easier KNOWING all these things than to actually put them into practice and start forming new habits *sigh*… But as Jeremy said: debt is a no-go, and I avoid spending too much money by opp-shopping a lot. That’s not for everyone, though (but there are also upper class second-hand shops that are pretty much like regular stores, it has to be said). I like it how you include the little treat – because one still has to live, right? Otherwise you fall off the wagon quicker than I can eat a cookie when on a diet. Speaking obviously for myself here:)…
    Vera recently posted..The end, the beginning, and a listMy Profile

    • You nailed it Vera! Even about the cookie and diet part :) I will even confess that a lot of the time I fall out of my own habits that I am trying to preach about! But if you can stick to them “most” of the time, then you are on a winner and closer to realising your travel dreams.

  13. Getting into a position where you are debt-free is a great start. As is getting ready of all your stuff.

    The big kicker for me was after I left the U.S. and going from needing a truck for my construction company, to not needing a vehicle. The truck alone was costing me $1,500+ a month in fuel costs + maintenance/insurance/etc., so that right there allowed me to put 1500 a month back into my savings.

    Then, dropping my cost of living from $2,500 to $3,000 a month to a mere $600 to $800 a month while living in Sofia, Bulgaria; Bogota, Colombia; and Cancun, Mexico…well, that’s allowed me to put another 2k+ a month back into my savings.

    I haven’t spent more than $800 a month in over 5 years on my costs…that’s total entertainment + rent + food. But I’m also not flying around the world all the time; I live long-term in places and explore locally with friends until I’ve fully uncovered a destination.

    Just by making a location change, I was able to start putting 3k+ a month back into my savings. I’m turning 33 in a week, and for all intents and purposes I’ve been “retired” since I became debt-free in 2009, and that was after selling off everything I had in the U.S. and leaving it behind in 2008.

    Now, as Marginal Boundaries grows, it’s leading to more and more opportunities.

    Good post with some good basic tips.
    T.W. Anderson @ Marginal Boundaries recently posted..Comment on Coffee, Capoeira, The Amazon and Beyond by MatheusMy Profile

    • You are living the dream it seems! Being able to live and work remotely makes a huge difference to how much you can save. Unfortunately not all people have those opportunities, largely to them not pursuing their own dreams! Hope Marginal Boundaries continues to grow for you and we would love to be involved if you make it over to Bulgaria for the next retreat :D

  14. Excellent advice. It is shocking how many people complain they don’t have money to travel, then go out and buy tons of new appliances and clothes! Keep on spreading the word. :)
    Lillie – @WorldLillie recently posted..Day 1 in New Delhi: The Rumors About India Are True!My Profile

  15. Jennifer says:

    Good tips, Cole! These days Tim and I find ourselves truly considering if we need something when we purchase it. “Do I really want that? Because that is the cost of X when traveling!” It’s all about making travel a priority in your life.
    Jennifer recently posted..Goðafoss: Waterfall of the GodsMy Profile

  16. Cheryl says:

    Timely tips for move as I recently moved home to Toronto to save again for a future of more travelling. It’s going to be tough as you said, but I need to focus on the end game and make travel a long-term priority in my life. :)

  17. I’ve begun to save for a 30 day holiday in August. Not really decided where I want to travel (from India) – but I know that I want to be on the road for 30 days. Travel and do nothing else. When I started putting money away for this holiday is when I actually knew that I will make this happen – before that, it was just an idea/dream. Great tips, Cole! Keep them coming.

    • Well done Arjun! Good luck for your saving. Sometimes not having a plan for travel is the best plan in my opinion. Just go wherever you feel like it each day as long as it is somewhere new :)

  18. We set aside a certain percentage of our weekly wage in a travel savings account… unforuntatly we still make stupid impulse purchases on the credit card :S
    Jade – OurOyster.com recently posted..Australia – North Stradbroke IslandMy Profile

    • Are you using a Credit Card that at least gives you cashback or Airmiles? And as long as you pay it off each month then I think using credit cards is a great idea. But stay away from the impulse buys :P

  19. Lady says:

    Nice tips. Those really are handy for a travellover like me. Thanks!:)
    Lady recently posted..Chillin’ at Chillout Ice LoungeMy Profile

  20. Kristy says:

    This year I also planning to save a bigger amount of money for my travel trip to Switzerland with my boyfriend and I already started cutting the usage of my electricity and water. I also set the amount of cash that I will spend for a week so that I can monitor how my expenses.

  21. Caro says:

    Discipline is key, amen! We saved all of our money in 10 months. Instead of saving and one day hoping for the best, we set a departure date and THEN made sure we’d save enough by that date. Great tips!

  22. Changing my spending habits was a huge part of saving for my initial trip too. Sold my car and bought a bicycle and a bus pass in Miami, stopped going to bars & clubs, and made my own meals. Saved a ton of money, felt great, and got more work done. Great tips guys. :)
    Matthew Karsten recently posted..Travel Inspiration: 21 Great YouTube Channels to FollowMy Profile

  23. Steve says:

    It’s amazing how many people ask how we afford to travel perpetually. As you say – spend wisely, save money. If travel is a real priority, you’ll find a way somewhow.
    Steve recently posted..Sometimes I just don’t get along with whole towns – Songpan, SichuanMy Profile

  24. Useful tips. I think a big part of saving for travel is a matter of priorities. As someone mentioned above, I too know several people who say they’d like to travel more but can’t afford it –yet they eat out and go out drinking at least twice a week. It’s important for them (and a LOT of people!) to enjoy each week as much as they can, and if this means going out to eat and drink with their friends, so be it. it is their right to spend their money that way, and then to have less discretionary funds to spend on travel. Different priorities for different people.
    Jennifer Miner recently posted..50,000 Starwood Starpoints GiveawayMy Profile

    • Very true Jennifer. While we do enjoy the occasional drink with our mates, we also know that having drinks at home beforehand will save us lots of money! Some people are quite happy to fritter away money though which we just don’t get ;)

  25. Fantastic tips. and if you get the whole family involved, it’s much easier. :)
    wanderingeducators recently posted..Calling Global Gourmets! Food Tours to Norway and TurkeyMy Profile

    • Definitely! Start with the kids and they are the ones that end up saving lots. Especially if they know that they will get treats instead while travelling. I would much rather say no to an ice cream now, IF I know I will get one somewhere awesome on our journey :D

  26. Larissa says:

    Good, common sense advice, Cole. Living within our means is what enabled us to take a 14-month RTW. Now that we’re finished that particular trip we also realize we can live much more simply, making it easier to have money for travel. In fact, as long as we have enough to travel, we’ll keep living on the road. . . loving the nomadic life! :)
    Larissa recently posted..Strolling the mosaic sidewalks of Lisbon in search of pastel de nataMy Profile

    • You can definitely bring a lot of travel tips back home with you which is what we enjoy the most. Travel allows you to see how other people get by with very little and it changes the way we do things too :D

  27. After two years on the road, I’m heading back home to the real world for a year or two to save for the next lot of adventures. I’ll be back to using this common-sense advice to build up the bank balance again! Thanks guys.
    Sammy McIntyre recently posted..Hunting the Northern Lights – Part 1My Profile

  28. Adam says:

    Good tips! Definitely the most stressful part about travel planning is money-saving…

  29. Micki says:

    Great tips! I’m always amazed how much money we can raise buy just selling some of our extra stuff (of course, it’s depressing to consider how much we spend on our stuff in the first place, but still…).

    We’re Canadian, and from British Columbia, one of the most expensive provinces for housing, so we find that we save a lot of money by traveling to places where housing and food cost us a lot less.
    Micki recently posted..Wandering through Merida’s Colonial Centro: A Photo EssayMy Profile

  30. Great money saving tips! I especially need to get on the one about selling stuff. I’m still paying for a storage unit full of stuff from my non-traveling life – Ugh!
    Mary @ Green Global Travel recently posted..TBGB: Preventing Gender-Based Violence & Empowering Youth In TanzaniaMy Profile

  31. Agree with coins saving! You won’t know how much you have saved until you deposit the coins at your bank! Haha …

    Anyway, thanks for the tips! :-)

  32. Gracey spurek says:

    Great tips. Traveling is really very adventurous but the main issue is of budget. Many people fail to stay in their budget and go over budget. I think the best way to save money on your travel is by reducing your transportation and accommodation cost.

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