The decision’s finally been made. You’ve told pretty much everyone who you’ve ever shared an interaction with – your friends, family, coworkers, and even the cashier at 7-Eleven. Perhaps an inspirational status update or a wanderlust-soaked Instagram post are in order, but whichever way you look at it, there’s not a shadow of doubt in your mind that it’s happening, it’s really happening.
Six-months later and the sun-kissed dream is slipping away. You’re panic-saving and living off instant noodles, trying to pick up extra shifts when you can, but unashamedly blowing your savings once every couple of weeks to deal with the stresses of a financially restricted lifestyle. The picture you set as your phone background of footsteps in the sand and the app you downloaded to count you down to your big trip are now just cruel reminders of your hopeless inability to save money. If this sounds all too familiar then you’re doing the right thing – researching easy ways to save money so you can start getting that passport stamped! Turn those long hours trawling through Pinterest, looking at pics of palm trees and turquoise waters into a reality with our tips on how to save for the trip of a lifetime.
1) Time to break up with your daily treats
It’s a significantly bitter pill to swallow, seeing as your usual double-super-flat-white-Venti-latte-with-extra-caramel-drizzle each morning might have been the only thing getting you through the long, weary months of saving ahead. But it’s time to suck it up. Besides, no-one should be ordering coffees that take you longer than two seconds to ask for. No-one! Learn to love instant coffee and before long you’ll have some fat stacks.
2) Take your lunch with you to uni or work
Unless you’re being taken out to lunch, or you’re lucky enough to work for a company that orders 30 large pizzas to the office every Wednesday, start taking your meals to work with you. You’d be amazed at how much you save over the course of a year and how much this can go towards your trip of a lifetime. We highly recommend weekly meal prep. If you keep them healthy, you’ll also have that summer beach bod in no time!
3) Move back in with your parents
This’ll be easier for some than others, but in all seriousness, if you can co-exist under the same roof as your parents for a few months while you save on rent, your cash-stash will grow quick AF. Remember not to get too wound up if you feel your independence slipping away – chances are you’ll forget all about that when you see free food in the fridge and your washing folded for you. Please note: If you are reading this and are a 34-year-old, with parent “roommates”, who still gets meals cooked for you and are in between jobs – don’t travel. Please move out.
4) Rent out your spare room
If unlike the pampered 34-year-old, you’ve got your own place and happen to have a spare room, you should most definitely clear out the collection of magazines and coats, make it fit to live in and get someone to move in. For short-term stays and to meet some interesting characters, try AirBnb. The chances are you’ll get to know someone who’s from a country you’d like to visit and you could wind up with a place to crash when you get there. If you’re after a longer-term lodger, you could put the word out on student lodging or flat-share sites. At the cost of a little less personal space you’ll get to sit back and watch your travel fund grow.
5) Do your research
Last but by no means least, in fact, probably the most important point – do your homework when it comes to booking flights, accommodations and excursions. This will obviously depend quite heavily on the kind of trip you’re planning. If you want to volunteer on a Guatemalan papaya farm for 2 months then no need to worry, but if you’re travelling through Europe, you’ll want to have some kind of contingency in place to avoid breaking the bank after only a few short weeks. Check out hostel comparison sites and airline deals to try and get the cheapest possible price for your trip.
So there you have it, your bags are packed, your job has been notified and you’ve sold the majority of your belongings because come on, you’re a traveller now and worldly possessions are for the shallow and unenlightened. Mosquito repellent – check, GoPro – check, you’re ready for your trip of a lifetime! All jokes aside, if you’re planning on taking a trip and are struggling to save – don’t give up! Make the changes you can do your daily routine and you’ll be on the next flight to paradise before you know it!
Written by Nicolas Gordon