5 Realistic Ways To Save For Travel

The media is literally bombarding us with all the gorgeous dream destinations, perfect beaches and so on. All you can think is ‘how can I possibly do the same, how do I save for travel?!’

You go research crazy, but some tips and tricks might seem slightly unrealistic, others include things such as the airline mileage credit cards.. but you might live in a country that doesn’t make it so super easy and simple. Plus, let’s face it, not many of us can afford to have an Amex.

– If You Are In a Rush (or simply cannot be bothered
Feel Free to skip straight to Number 1 –

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elitravelbug cinque terre


“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
– Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist –

After finishing my degree in London, I decided to rent a flat with my friends. Quickly realising the rent was eating most of my earnings and I could barely afford anything else, let alone save for travel..

That’s when I had to decide – do I want to carry on living like this or turn the other way and make major adjustments.

A week later I moved back to my parents house, that way I would pay much less for rent. It also meant commuting two hours one way for work. But it needed to be done.

Now, I completely understand that not everyone is fortunate enough to just get up and leave or move back to their parents.

However, I do believe that when we really put our mind to something, MOST of us can in fact, make life arrangements that will allow us to pursue the dream.

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Most likely you will need to work your ar*e off to save the pennies.
But it’s definitely doable and I hope this guide will give you some ideas.

Many people worry about working full time – this is actually an advantage. It will help you get steady funds towards your goal and allow you to decide whether quitting or an extended holiday is what you want.

In many occasions, I found that most employers will understand if you want to make a change in your life. I even managed to get two months off before deciding to quit in order to fulfil my dream. I am still on good terms with them.



5 REALISTIC Ways To Save For Travel


1) Consider Changing Your Living Arrangements

This is not a must but of course, if you have the possibility of moving back to your parents house – this will drop your spendings drastically.

It’s not always the easiest thing to do due to different circumstances, for myself (as mentioned before) moving back meant commuting 2 hours each way for my new job, resulting in spending approx 4 hours on public transport every single day. But this was much cheaper than getting a place close by.

So, if you can – it’s worth it.

If however, you don’t have that opportunity, because you have a mortgage or are renting a flat..

Consider renting out a spare room


I understand this might not be ideal, but hey you got to do what you got to do.

Look at websites such as www.spareroom.com or www.airbnb.com to advertise. It’s a great way to make some extra cash, plus it can be long or short term, on a weekday or weekend basis – whatever floats your boat.

My friend chose to do this in order to save for travel and go on her dream trip – renting out on a weekday basis meant she had the house to herself at the weekends. A few years later she wrote two books on the adventures she managed to go on.

elitravelbug monument valley

2) Open Up A Savings Account

As soon as you decide to get serious about saving, make your way to the bank ASAP to open a savings account. I find that if I don’t use mine, I will not save anywhere near to what I originally planned.

This means that as soon as you get paid, you will be able to transfer the desired amount somewhere out of sight.

If however, you can’t trust yourself, ask your bank to set a direct debit to automatically transfer the money on a specific day and lock it. That way, you won’t be tempted to get that cheeky brand new iphone or mac makeup.


Maynmar elitravelbug

3) Set Your Goal

Next step is to calculate how much you can realistically put away from your pay check and how much you need for your adventure.

Now you gotta be tough on yourself here, this is your dream that we are talking about.

Remember this: whether it’s the newest Playstation game or the trendiest dress worth £60 – this money could potentially cover your hostel or a hotel for nearly two weeks in SE Asia OR half of your travel insurance.

Personally, I decided to put away £700 a month.

I wanted to go away as quickly as possible. As soon as the payday arrived, right away I transferred the exact amount to my savings account.

That money would never be touched, ever (until the big day). This left me with £200 of spending money after paying for my travelcard and rent.

Ok sorry – I did in fact, touch that money to buy my plane tickets and insurance in advance.

elitravelbug seminyak

How I calculated my goal

I was saving for two different trips. First was North America – where I’ve chosen to go on an organised trek.
Second, was a Eurotrip that wasn’t organised by anyone else but me and my travel partner.

These are the things I considered in order to save for travel:

Flights –  Make sure to check the correct dates as prices can vary drastically. It’s usually cheaper to travel out of season – so check different times.

Accommodation – Will you be staying in hostels or hotels? This will differ your costs a lot. Consider Couchsurfing and Airbnb (get £25 off here), which are both great ways to save money on the road while staying with a local or in a really nice apartment.

Tour Price (if applicable) – In my situation, this covered transport, hotels, camping and tour leader (only for the USA tour part).

Transport – Will you be driving, taking a bus or maybe flying? It’s impossible to know exactly how much will be needed but try to write down the rough journeys. If like me – you will be renting a car for a part of your trip, check how much it will be, don’t forget about petrol and extra tolls etc.

Activities – Have a look at what you will get up to and round it all up in order to leave you extra cash for any unplanned activities. Or ones you had no idea even existed.

Food & Tipping – Snacks are the worst, especially when roadtripping across America. Not many of us seem to take it into consideration and it seriously adds up.

Also, even if you come from a country where tipping etiquette is not a thing (including myself) – it is still something you should do in countries where it’s completely normal. YES, you should. So, prepare to spend extra 5-20% a meal, taxi, tour guides etc.

Extra Daily Allowance – Give yourself a few extra pennies to cover things that you forgot to consider, better to be safe than sorry.

Then try to add it all up, at least roughly. I always round it up quite a bit to have some extra cash. Or try to anyway.

elitravelbug airbnb



4) Prioritise Every Single Spending

After leaving myself with £200 a month, I was forced to prioritise everything.

Starting with my travelcard – I could either spend about £40 a week and take the trains or £21 and take the buses, adding an hour to my commute daily.

I went for the buses, saving me £80 a month.

Spending so much time on public transport meant I only had the weekends to do something non-work related. However, even then I tried not to go out for meals or drinks everytime my friends did, I also took pack lunches to work and stopped going for ‘after work drinks’.

Remember that often the money you spend on a cocktail will get you a lot more in many countries you may potentially travel to.

Get ready for some of your friends or colleagues to get slightly annoyed. They will be asking what happened to you and why would you not want to go for that super enjoyable pint after work or a delicious (and expensive) meal – there is always someone.

But trust me, in the end they will all be surprised, impressed, shocked and even maybe slightly jealous with how do you manage to travel the world for a few months.


5) Find A Good Deal And Go

You can either book your flights as soon as you save enough, or keep your eye out for the best deals possible. (Post on how to find the cheapest flights coming sooooon!)

Start following travel blogs and sign up for emails in order to receive travel deals, you will honestly be surprised by some of them!

When you are starting to reach your goal – get preparing.

Now, here is when you can (if you absolutely must) touch some of your savings in order to buy any (and only) travel related stuff, that would come out of that budget eventually anyway.

When you have finally reached the goal (CONGRATS) – Go!

Don’t get scared by any second thoughts – this is what you want to do and you are finally making YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE.

Good luck!

PS. Coming Soon – 10 Ways to Cut Your Spendings & Save for Travel.


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[…] Click How I Saved £7,00 in 10 Months : […]

6 years ago

Great post! Really well written some real-world examples of how YOU actually saved money. I always just buy the travelcard out of convenience but the buses might be a good shout!


[…] After travelling quite a bit already but always with someone, my wanderlust has kicked in – and it kicked in good. I knew travelling is something that I love and my priority when it comes to saving money. Click here to find out how I manage to do that. […]

7 years ago

This honestly is a great guide. I never thought about the weekday room renting. I must say i am very impressed with your saving skills.

Zoe Cano
7 years ago

Eliza is one of those generous hearted free spirits who wants to simply share. This is a wonderful and unique source of information for anyone of any age to ‘live their dream’ however small! With her fantastic ability to provide easy to read tips on what the traveller needs this will become an essential blog to obtain the latest news for the curious and hungry traveller. Great. Congratulations!