Saving Tips for Your Budding Travel Funds

 In Travel Tips

A new year has come and with it resolutions to do more, eat less, and hopefully travel a little (or a lot!) I’ve highlighted my top ways to save your travel funds so you can hit the road, but I knew there had to be more ideas out there I had missed. I asked a few traveling friends to chime in with one tip to maximize your money before and while you are on the road.

Michelle from Wandermom: Plan ahead! If you choose to visit a destination months in advance, you have time to research prices for flights, hotels and other travel services. You will quickly get a sense for typical prices at that destination and that can be powerful information because it allows you to determine whether any deals or special offers you find are really good value or not.

Linda from Travels with Kids: Start collecting smashed pennies as your family’s souvenirs. They only cost 51 cents, and take up no space in your suitcase.

Allison from Tips for Family Trips: We have a jar that reminds us what we are saving for. In addition to putting some money away in a savings account every month, we add all of the change we find on the dresser, in the couch and in the laundry to the jar.

Jenna from This is My Happiness: We cut out one monthly expense. Nowadays with the evolution of technology, it’s easy to find ways to cut down or cut out cable bills, phone bills, subscriptions, etc. If we find a couple of those monthly bills to cut out every month, the savings really add up!

Another idea…we have 2 dogs and used to have to pay someone to housesit (or pay a lot to kennel them, which we didn’t like). Even though we paid a young woman just a little every day, it really added up! We decided that we’ll never do that again, so we started asking around and very quickly found someone to housesit for free, wanted a quiet place to stay a while.

Another way to save is to add stops onto flights so you get 2 trips out of one set of airplane tickets.

A final one is to rent out your house when you are gone. We have cousins who rent out their house on Airbnb every time and even if it doesn’t get rented the whole time, they make some money. They live in a much cooler location than I do, though.

Talon from 1 Dad, 1 Kid, 1 Crazy Adventure: Before you make a purchase or spend money compare that to how many days of travel, lodging, plates of food, etc., you could get instead. For instance, do you really need to spend $40 on a brand new pair of pants when that $40 could get you 2 nights lodging or pay for 20 meals while traveling (depending where you’re going).

Leah from Leah Travels: I’m a big believer of out of sight, out of mind. This theory holds true with excess money in my banking account. I have six different accounts, but one is strictly used for travel. I pour as much money into that one as possible.

Amy from Atlanta with Kid: Look at your big expense and choose one area to cut just so it’s easier to stick to it first. For us, it’s eating out so we focus on that area. Once we master the budget on that we move on to the next big expense that we can cut. It’s like a step by step for budget-phobia.

Bethany from Flashpacker Family: Host Airbnb guests in your spare room. It’s virtually no extra work other than making up a bed and supplying a few towels but brings a welcome injection of cash into your PayPal account which you can either take out or use to pay for Airbnb on your own travels! It’s also nice to see your hometown through the eyes of a traveler.

Colleen from Travel Mamas: Do a home exchange! You get lots of room to spread out, potentially separate rooms for each family member (allowing for better sleep), and the conveniences of home (like a fully equipped kitchen) all for no (or almost no) money. Plus, if you exchange with a family with children, your kids will be treated to a slew of toys to play with during your stay. Exchange with faraway friends, family members and acquaintances, or pay a minimal fee to join a site like or to trade with other travelers hailing from locations around the globe.

Daniel from The World of Deej: When possible, I pick up gift cards while doing my grocery shopping. Most stores now have gift cards for Expedia, Orbitz, and Disney, so I just add one to the grocery bill and toss it in a drawer until we need it. You can also buy Visa gift cards that can be used anywhere, but those often come with a fee which sort of defeats the purpose of saving…”

Aleah from Solitary Wanderer: I maintain separate bank accounts: one I use for my daily expenses, one for travel, and one to forget (to be remembered only in cases of medical emergency).

Lillie from Around the World L: Get rid of your car!  (Read point #1)

Jeremy from Living the Dream: I put all of my spare money I get out of an ATM in a secret jar in our apartment such that I never have cash in my wallet other than what I need it for. After a few months I’ll end up having $300-$400 in the jar that I otherwise would have spent on useless junk and vending machines at work.

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Showing 14 comments
  • TipsonRoadTripping

    We use several of these tips that are mentioned especially the Money Jar.. Since we roadtrip alot we got a hotel chain credit card that has a great reward program. We use that CC for almost all our expenses and pay it off at the end of the month and before you know it, the points for free rooms pile up. Since we use the credit card on items that we are going to buy anyway its a win win situation

  • Laurel

    I’m with Talon! We look at all extraneous spending in terms of travel. That $80 toy is …% of a plane ticket to…! Changes your perspective real quick. Would you rather have that Lego set or travel to …?

  • Tiffany Fite

    Soon we’ll be selling our home to save even more money for longer term travel, but in the meantime we’ve had a home that is well within our means allowing a big portion of our budget to go to travel.

    This summer, while we were in Yellowstone, my 9 year old son was engaging in conversation with a woman while in line. She was asking where we were from and what we were doing. A few minutes later, I overheard my son say “Yeah, we live in a small house so we can do lots of traveling. It’s pretty cool.” My heart fluttered!

  • Bethaney - Flashpacker Family

    These are all fantastic tips. I’m on the same page as Talon too. I think about everything I spend in terms of how many days of travel I could buy for that. Roughly every $100 I don’t spend at home becomes one more day of travel. It’s great motivation not to buy crap!

  • Julia

    I’m with Talon – money means something entirely different when it is calculated in plane tickets and nights spent in another country! Makes my savings goals much easier to conceptualize, personally.

  • Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista

    Great list of tips! I think getting people to actually think about a budget instead of just spending spontaneously is difficult but necessary. I’m trying to get my daughter to do just this. I’m going to look into renting a room on airbnb and housesitting!

  • Cassie

    This is a great list of tips! We do a few of these though I’m inspired to set up a separate travel savings account and be more diligent about travel-directed savings.

    One other thing I do is participate in lots of local swap events and meetups that have started in our area. I’ve pretty much eliminated clothing as expense and go to a swap every time I want something new (well, new-to-me!) I also swap books, cds, and DVDs online using and unused makeup/personal care products at

  • I don’t work full-time but any money I do make from occasional jobs goes into a travel account. We also have a travel jar where we save all of the change we find around the house. When the kids were younger (but not too young) we’d cash in the travel jar and divide it among the three of them and it would be their spending money on our trip. Since we’ve never really gone over board buying souvenirs, they would often return home with most of the money they left with but they did enjoy having their own funds just in case. 🙂

  • Jen

    Great collection of tips. We use many of them to save for our own trips. My favorite is the separate bank account. We have one account that we just move money over whenever we can spare. We aren’t allowed to use it even in emergencies. It is amazing how quickly a dollar here or there adds up.

  • Lisa Wood

    Lots of great hints n tips on how to save money while travelling. We have a huge Money tin that we add our change to – its amazing how much little bits of coin can add up to money that we can spend on experiences 🙂

  • Alyson

    We just squirrel away any money we can. It’s been adding up quickly $15000 in 6 months. The best tip I can give, is stop buying stuff. All stuff. You’re going away, you won’t be needing it, just make do with what you’ve got. Saving is actually really gratifying once you start watching it mount up!

  • Suzanne in VA

    How timely, i just cashed my coin jar in at the bank last weekend so I could book my Catamaran sail day trip in St. Thomas next month. Was almost the exact amount i needed to the dime. Fate!

  • lissie

    Ask, always ask for discounts – it’s surprising how often you can get one. I have been a member of Hostelling International for many years. We took the train across the Nullarbor from Perth to Adelaide in Australia – it’s several days and very expensive – but with a hostel card we saved hundreds on the berth price!

  • Jade -

    We put aside a certain amount of our weekly wage and really stick to it – which means some weeks we have to go without some things to make up for past weeks expenses… but at least we can easily track our savings

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