On September 14, 2017, I stepped onto a one-way flight to Paris for what would become the trip of a lifetime.
I spent the next 10 months backpacking around the world, traveling to incredible destinations across Europe, South America and Southeast Asia. One of the most common questions I get about my trip is: How did you save enough money to travel the world?
>> Curious about how much my trip cost? I break it all down for you here.
How to save money for travel is one of my favorite topics! I love sharing all the ways I learned to raise money for a trip and boost my own travel savings fund.
To be completely honest, saving enough money to make my around the world trip happen was the biggest obstacle when it came to trip planning. It took me two years to reach my travel savings goal before I could finally step on that first flight.
The good news is that during those two years I discovered dozens of ways to save and raise money for a trip.
>> Curious about my around the world trip itinerary? Check it out here.
Let’s dive in: Here are 25 ideas to help you save and raise money for your own travel adventures.
15 ways To Boost Your Travel Savings
From getting a roommate to starting a side hustle, you’ll notice that many of these tips require quite a bit of personal life adjustments. Yet if you’re someone who’s dreaming of traveling the world, you probably already know that certain sacrifices are necessary to make that dream come true.
What I can tell you as someone who’s been there, done that is that every single sacrifice is worth it in the end.
Let’s start with the very first thing you should do if travel is a priority in your life: Start a travel savings fund.
Open a Travel Savings Account
So — how should you begin building up your travel savings fund? First, set up a dedicated savings account for travel at your bank. You’re less likely to touch your travel money if you’re keeping it in a separate account. You’ll also be able to physically see it grow over time, which will help boost your morale as you get closer and closer to your financial goal.
Set Up Automatic Transfers To Your Travel Savings Account
Now that you’ve set up an account to hold your travel fund, you want to make sure you’re transferring money into the account on a consistent basis. The easiest way to do this is to set up automatic transfers at your bank. That way a portion of your income is always automatically transferred into your travel account before you can spend any of it.
Open a High-Yield Online Savings Account
If you’re looking at a long-term travel savings strategy, you may benefit from opening a high-yield savings account. These are savings accounts with higher interest rates than the standard options at your bank, meaning they’ll help grow your money faster.
Open a Travel Credit Card
A travel credit card lets you quickly rack up points for travel expenses, such as flights and hotels. Airline credit cards also help you achieve status faster than you would otherwise. I personally love the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which offers a $300 annual travel credit as well as Priority Pass membership, among other perks. (Some have killer fees, though. See what travel credit card is best for you here.)
Get a Roommate
Rent is typically the largest expense for young working professionals. Reevaluating your living situation can save you thousands of dollars each month. Getting a roommate or moving in with your significant other is a great way to save extra money. My boyfriend Guil and I were only dating for a few months before we decided to move in together to save for our big trip around the world.
(Hint: Throw all the money you’ll be saving on rent into your new travel savings fund.)
Decrease Your Utility Bills
Are your utility bills super high? A few ways to fix that are buying energy-efficient appliances, using ceiling fans instead of AC and air-drying your clothes.
Stop Dining Out
If you’re as big a restaurant fan as I am, this can be a tough one! But dining out often can be quite expensive. Cooking most of your meals at home can save you a considerable amount of money.
Skip The Fancy Coffee
Yes, limiting your dining habits also includes expensive coffee. You’ll be amazed at how much money you can save by ditching the fancy coffee shop and making your own at home instead.
Say No To Nightlife
Nightlife is another expensive social activity that can be reduced to save money. If you don’t want to cut out bar-hopping with friends completely, perhaps consider bringing a flask to the bar. It sounds silly but drinks are pricey! Order a $2 soda instead, and top it off with your own spirit of choice.
Use Budgeting Apps
A great way to keep expenses low is by creating a monthly budget for yourself. Apps like Mint can help with this. Mint allows you to keep track of and categorize your expenses, as well as set maximum spending limits for yourself.
Reevaluate Your Fixed Expenses
Do you have a gym membership? Perhaps you can cancel it and exercise outside instead. Is your phone bill the most cost-effective option out there? Give your cellphone company a call and see if a cheaper plan may be right for you. Still paying for cable TV? Invest in a Netflix account instead. Reevaluating your current fixed expenses can help you save a couple hundred bucks each month.
Buy Secondhand Clothing
When saving money for a trip it also makes sense to cut down your shopping habits. Buying clothes from a secondhand store like Goodwill is better not only for the environment but also for your wallet.
Purchase Groceries & Household Items in Bulk
Since you’ll be cooking more of your own food at home, buying groceries in bulk can help you save a few extra dollars. Household items like toilet paper, paper towels and laundry detergent can be a lot cheaper when purchased in bulk, too.
Rent Books From a Library or Borrow From a Friend
Instead of spending $16 on that new book you really want, why not rent one from the library or borrow a copy from a friend, instead?
When saving for a big trip it’s probably best to put all other travel plans on hold. Spending money on a quick weekend getaway can set you back on your original travel savings plan. Instead, why not play tourist in your own hometown? Seek out hidden gems, walk through a new neighborhood or research what hikes may be nearby.
10 Ways To Raise Money For a Trip
Now let’s talk making money. In addition to saving as much as you can, making extra money to supplement your paycheck will help you reach your financial goals sooner.
Sell Your Stuff
Take a look at all the extra stuff lying around your house or apartment. Can anything be sold? Is there anything you have no use for anymore? Clothes can be sold to thrift stores or via online markets like Poshmark. Old technology, furniture and home decor can be sold on eBay, Facebook or selling apps like OfferUp.
Sell Your Car
If you live in a walkable city like New York, San Francisco or Boston, selling your car is a great way to give your travel savings fund a big boost. You’ll also eliminate big expenses like gas and insurance payments. If you lease a car, consider downgrading to a more affordable deal. Public transportation, biking or walking are great alternatives to owning a car.
Start a Side Hustle
See my Instagram? I started it as a side hustle while working my regular 9-to-5 job a year or so before my big trip. Fast forward to today and a good chunk of my income comes from Instagram alone. Starting a side hustle is a great way to earn money outside of your day job. Plus, if it’s something like a blog or Instagram, you can bring your side hustle on the road with you and make money while you travel. A double win!
Freelancing is another great way to earn extra money to supplement your income. Do you have any freelanceable skills? As a writer, I can offer my copywriting and editing services online. Many companies hire freelancers for their graphic design, marketing, social media and photography services.
Look For a Higher Paying Job
As soon as I began planning for my trip, I knew that my $25,000 salary wasn’t going to cut it. It was my first job out of college and after eight months with the company, I began looking for a higher paying alternative. Fortunately I was able to nearly double my salary in a similar role at a different company. A higher salary coupled with lower rent can help you raise money for a trip a lot faster than you might think.
Pick Up Extra Shifts at Work
If you’re a nurse or work in the restaurant industry, you have the ability to pick up extra shifts. This is an easy way to make extra money to boost your travel fund (and one that people with traditional 9-to-5 jobs don’t have access to).
Work Odd Jobs or Brand Ambassador Gigs
Working as a brand ambassador is one of the main ways I raised money to travel. As a brand ambassador you’re hired by an events company or PR agency to staff events. You can land some pretty high-paying gigs, depending on the event. For example, I’ve been paid $250 to $350 per day to work the Miami Open Tennis Tournament.
Want to make even more money? Use your paid vacation days to work high-paying events. That way you’ll be getting paid from your regular job while also making money at the event. Of course, this only makes sense if you’re planning to quit your job to travel so you won’t need those vacation days anyway.
Offer Private Lessons
Do you play an instrument? Speak another language? If so, you may be able to monetize your skills by offering private lessons. Let your friends and family know and announce your lessons on Facebook — you never know who may be a potential client.
Sell Your Photos
Are you a photographer? You may consider selling your photos as prints or stock photos online.
Create an Airbnb Experience in Your City
If you live in a widely visited city like New York, creating an Airbnb Experience could be an option. I’ve seen influencers and photographers create Instagram photo walks in New York as a way to make extra income on the weekends. Other experiences include walking tours and private photoshoots.
Lastly, Think About Your Trip Every Day!
I know, it can be difficult to give up your social life and spend every waking moment working toward saving for a big trip. But thinking about that trip every day helps! Visualize yourself on the day of departure. Let yourself feel the excitement. If you’re simply planning and saving for an epic vacation, visualize the moment you arrive at your destination. It’ll all be worth it in the end!