Saving money, in general, is difficult. But, saving for travel is a whole different ball game. The amount you save directly affects how comfortable your trip can be, how far away you can go, and which restaurants you can visit during your stay. Since all of these things are important, I’m going to help you save for travel in the simplest ways possible.
A note for the weary: the blog post that follows isn’t going to tell you to stop eating take out and start eating Top Ramen. I won’t tell you to drink less coffee as a means of saving money because that isn’t something I would ever actually implement in my own life. My goal is to provide you with realistic ways you can save money for travel while also maintaining contentment and joy in your day-to-day life. I don’t believe the two have to be mutually exclusive. We’ll call it saving without sacrifice. Well, there might be a little sacrifice, but it won’t be too bad - I promise.
Please note: Passion Planner is not sponsored by any of the companies or apps listed in this blog. These are just genuine ways I save money for travel!
1. MAKE A BUDGET
If you don’t already have a budget, now is the time to create one. Budgets are incredible tools to help you hold yourself more accountable. Consider downloading the Mint app to help you budget. I’m all about safety and security, so if you’re anything like me, rest assured knowing that Mint was created by the developers of Turbo Tax and security is top of mind for them, as well.
Mint automatically tracks how you are spending your money on any credit cards or bank accounts that you link to the app, so it makes budgeting easy. The app analyzes your spending and automatically suggests budget amounts for you based on spending category (groceries, bills, etc.) Think of it this way: Mint takes the difficulty out of budget planning and simply helps you stay on track with your spending. You can still buy those $5 coffees, but Mint will generate a budget so that you don’t buy too many each month. If you prefer, you can create a budget the old fashioned way with pen and paper.
TIP: If you use a Passion Planner already, we have a free finance tracker that you can print out and add to your planner to track your weekly spending
2. PLAN YOUR TRIP EARLY
If you’re financially able to plan and book your flights early, you’ll have the opportunity to save a lot of money! According to Skyscanner, the best time to book your flight is at 6am ET on Sunday. To choose the right Sunday to set your alarm, keep in mind that booking flights 30 days in advance for domestic trips and 4 months in advance for international trips is recommended by Skyscanner, based on historical data pulled from their airline booking system.
3. SET UP AN AUTO-TRANSFER TO YOUR SAVINGS ACCOUNT
If your work offers direct deposit for your paychecks, you can usually specify that you would like a certain amount or percentage of your paycheck to automatically go to your savings account. Start sending 10% of your paycheck to your savings every pay period and you’ll quickly save up for your trip without even realizing it! This works great for me because once the money is in my savings account, I don’t touch it. This mentality requires me to be extra frugal when my checking account isn’t as padded as it normally is on payday.
4. PICK UP A SIDE HUSTLE
Have a yard sale & sell things you don’t need
If you’re anything like me, you have a closet full of things you don’t use all that often. Now, I’m not saying you should sell everything you own. However, I am encouraging you to consider selling the guitar you haven’t tuned in 2 years.
Consider asking your parents or your roommates if they have anything they’d like to sell, also. If they don’t have the time to run a yard sale with you or list their things on Craigslist, you can offer to sell their items for a small fee. For example, agree on a 10% cut for every sale you make. This means if you sell their old guitar for $50, you’d make $5 off the sale. Plus, your friends and family will probably be happy to help you work towards your goal of traveling while getting rid of stuff that’s taking up room in their garage. Everybody wins!
Drive or bike for Uber!
2019 is the year of the gig economy. According to Forbes, “40% of companies expect that gig workers will become an increasing part of their workforce.” This means that picking up a side hustle driving for Uber will continue to be a consistent means for saving for travel in years to come. Want to find out if you meet the requirements to become an Uber driver? Here you go. Or, if you’re not really a people person or you don’t own a car, you could always consider dropping off food deliveries for Uber Eats via bicycle.
5. CONSIDER USING A TRAVEL REWARDS CREDIT CARD TO BOOK YOUR TRAVEL (but pay it off right away!)
Credit cards are notoriously bad news - but with a bit of research and discipline, they don’t have to be! If you’re an avid traveler, using a credit card with travel rewards can help you out enormously.
There are a lot of different strategies you can take in choosing the right card for you. Often times, bank-specific cards like the Bank of America Travel Rewards card offers a points reward system. This means that as you spend money, you accrue points on your credit card that can be used for booking travel.
As an alternative, you could use an airline specific credit card, like the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card. The methodology here is that if you generally fly one specific airline and you travel often, you can accrue miles and specific benefits on your flights such as a special companion fare rate for someone who travels with you. Generally, if you book your airline travel on the specified card, you receive more points than you would for general shopping. Therefore, you’re rewarded for booking travel.
TIP: Pay your credit card off whenever you use it. I pay my credit card off every 2 weeks to make sure that I’m never accruing interest. This way, I’m only spending money that I actually have, and my credit score benefits because my bills are always paid on time. Schedule your bill pay dates into your Passion Planner so that you never miss a due date!
I hope these tips help you board your next flight quicker than you could have ever dreamed of. Keeping track of your side hustle or your trip plans can be tough, so be sure to check out the Passion Planner to keep your life organized. We’ll be releasing our 2020 planner soon - so be on the lookout so that you can start planning next year’s travel as soon as possible.