On average, it’ll cost an American over $1558 for a one-week vacation.
These costs don’t include any unpredictable events, airfare, and don’t account for potential cost increases depending on where you visit.
To prepare yourself for these expenses, you’ll need to set aside money for a trip.
I’ll go over the steps you’ll need to follow to create a savings goal. Afterward, I’ll give you many ways to make money on the side and creative ways to save money for travel.
Create Your Travel Savings Goal: 3 Steps
Instead of going in blind, you’ll need to figure out how much you’ll need to save before you can go on your trip. Follow these steps before saving money:
1. Assess your situation: what’s your current situation? How long from now do you think you’ll want to go on your vacation? How many paid time off days will you need to save? Answer these questions and ask yourself additional questions that’ll help you plan your vacation savings.
2. Figure out what you’ll need for traveling: research the general expenses of where you want to go and record it in a spreadsheet. For instance, look up the prices of public transportation, food, accommodation, plane tickets, and tourist destination tickets.
3. Create your savings plan: once you have a general outline of what you’ll do when you travel, figure out how much you’ll need to save.
Once you start setting savings aside for a trip, I recommend looking for a High Yield Savings Account (HYSA). That way, while you’re saving your trip funds, you can earn a fair interest rate and not have to worry about paying fees whenever you need to withdraw your money.
15 Ways To Save Money for Traveling
Once you have your travel savings goal ready, you can now move to the next step—figure out ways to budget and earn additional money. Throughout this section, you’ll find some uncommon ways to save money and several ways you can make extra.
1. Ditch Coffee Stands and Shops and Brew Coffee at Home
An average person who buys Grande coffee from Starbucks daily will spend around $1459 per year. However, you can significantly reduce these expenses and potentially have better-tasting coffee by learning to brew coffee, buying a brewer, a grinder, and beans.
Afterward, you can save a fair amount each year and still have your caffeine fix.
2. Start a Side Hustle and Earn Extra Money
If you’re already working too much, I recommend skipping this way to make money. However, take up a side gig if you have extra time and energy. If you want something that’s low-energy, you can participate in studies, donate plasma, or take surveys.
However, if you want to get down and dirty, I recommend trying some of these side hustles:
- Uber or Lyft
- Food delivery apps
- Package delivery
- Dog sitting
- House Sitting
- Flipping discounted items you purchase or fixing broken things and reselling them
You’ll need to put in a bit of extra work; however, you can save money significantly faster with a side gig. Or, you could have play money.
3. Divide Your Earnings Into These Categories
Elizabeth Warren suggests a way to divide your after-tax income in her book All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan with the “50/20/30 budget rule“. 50% goes into needs “e.g., bills,” 20% goes into your savings, and 30% goes into whatever you want.
You’d want the 30% category to serve as your travel expenses in this scenario. However, you don’t have to adhere to Elizabeth Warren’s method. Instead, you can adjust it to fit your situation—because everyone doesn’t have the same income.
4. Use Reusable Products When Applicable
Whether you care for the environment or save money, purchasing reusable items will help both areas. It’ll help the environment because it’s less waste. However, it requires you to spend a little extra money upfront.
Over time, the reusable product will prevent you from purchasing additional disposable items, garbage bags, etc. However, you will want to ensure the reusable products aren’t low-quality. Otherwise, you’ll cancel out the benefits you get from buying these products.
Some reusable products you could get include water bottles, rechargeable batteries, reusable cotton pads, and a bidet—to replace toilet paper.
Think of these as a long-term investment.
5. Earn Cryptocurrency by Learning About Tokens
Some websites will give you free cryptocurrency tokens as a reward for watching a short video and taking a couple-question quiz. The most trustworthy example I can recommend is Coinbase. However, there are other options out there.
While you’ll only get a couple of bucks worth of crypto per token you learn about, the rewards can accumulate—significantly if the prices rise or if you convert it into an interest-generating token like USDC.
You could also get free cryptocurrency from airdrops, which is when a company offers “free” crypto in exchange for doing tasks for them. However, many of these are scams. I also don’t recommend trying these unless you spot a scam.
6. Stop Spending So Much on Utility Bills
If you’re using more electricity or water than necessary, you’re hemorrhaging money.
You can save money on electricity by switching to LEDs over other types of bulbs. Doing so can help you save $1000 over ten years.
Other ways you can save money on electricity and water include:
- Reduce the amount of hot water you use
- Fill your freezer
- Unplug unused electronics or use smart devices to manage your plugs
- Use natural lighting when possible
- Air-dry dishes instead of using a dishwasher
Depending on where you live, you can register for OhmConnect and participate in energy-saving events. These events will reward you with points that you can use for rewards or cash.
7. Become a Secret Shopper: Make Money From Shopping
You could make money and potentially have your entire grocery bill reimbursed by becoming a secret shopper. These secret shopping companies will usually require you to spend a certain amount of time in the store and engage with employees to test their service.
You could secret shop for companies such as BestMark, Signature Worldwide, and Sinclair.
8. Embrace Minimalism: Sell Stuff You Never Use
If you have extra things in storage that you never use, you could realize that you’re sitting on a goldmine. Go through your belongings and find items of clothing that you’ll never wear or use.
However, if you run into broken items, don’t donate them or toss them—research whether you could make a pretty penny off them. If you make a decent margin once you consider repair costs, gas money, shipping fees, and replacement parts, I recommend fixing your old items.
Afterward, you can sell them on applications or websites like eBay, OfferUp, Facebook Marketplace, yard sales, or flea markets.
Once you profit from selling your old stuff, you can continually reinvest the money you made into purchasing items from yard sales and flipping them.
9. Only Drive When Needed
When driving, you don’t just spend money on gas, but you also have car depreciation, vehicle fluids (oil, antifreeze, etc.), and a slight chance of encountering a car accident. So, I recommend only driving when it’s essential. Or, plan your routeFor example, go and your stops optimally when you leave.
That way, you lessen the amount you spend.
10. Reduce or Quit Vices
The average American smoker pays around $2,292 per year, while those who drink pay around $565 per year. But, of course, if you consume weed or other recreational substances, you’re likely paying more.
Either way, these aren’t necessary, and they’re costing you a lot of money that you can put toward a vacation. Again, I’m not a doctor, so I’m not going to tell you to quit, but you can temporarily quit or reduce your intake and still save money.
11. Do You Need To Pay For Expensive Haircuts?
Would letting your hair go a bit wild negatively impact your life? If not, consider searching for a more affordable barber—like a beauty school—and save money on your haircuts. Moreover, reduce the frequency that you go to salons or barbers.
If you want to save the most money, you can always purchase or use an additional mirror and clippers and cut your own hair.
12. Break up With Your Gym Membership
You don’t need to quit the gym forever, just until you go on your trip. The commute to the gym, the gym membership, and the time spent at the gym all add up over time. Conversely, you could consider working out at home, in a park, or around your neighborhood.
Otherwise, you could consider subscribing to a more affordable gym membership.
13. Try Low-cost or Free Entertainment
If you’re going out to bars every weekend or the club, you’re likely spending a lot. Also, this goes for eating out or going on dates. Alternatively, you could spend your time volunteering, go to your family’s, play board games, clean your home, or lock yourself in your room and play video games.
14. Buy Second-Hand Items and Clothing
If you take the time to look around at a secondhand store or a yard sale, you’ll find some great-quality items at a significantly lower price tag than purchasing them as new. Moreover, you can always purchase refurbished electronics, which are second-hand, yet have new parts.
However, I recommend being cautious when buying used items with fabric—because of bed bugs.
15. Subscribe To Deal Websites for Reduced Fare
You can subscribe to a service like Scott’s Cheap Flights (free and paid) to receive alerts whenever flights you’re interested in go on sale.
The free tier alerts you could receive include economy deals, whereas the premium tier gives you access to higher-tier flight class deals, Mistake Fares, and more.
16. Cancel Unnecessary Subscriptions, Unless—
Unless you can find free trials or coupons that’ll significantly reduce your pay per month, I recommend reducing the number of subscriptions you have. Some subscriptions you could cancel include:
- Paramount Plus
- Subscription boxes
However, if you’re stuck indoors, you’ll need something to do. Thus, if you have multiple subscriptions, you could at least keep one.
17. Stop Eating Out: Do This Instead
The gas to drive to the restaurant, vehicle depreciation, the price of the food, and the tips will cost you a lot of money. So instead, you can cook at home.
Most of y’all who are reading this probably don’t have enough energy to cook meals, which is why you can prepare meals for the coming week during your work weekend. That way, all you have to do is grab your meal, throw it in the microwave, and eat.
Moreover, to save money on your food, download mobile applications like Ibotta, which will give you rebates on specific items you purchase. Furthermore, you can stack the rebates on coupons, receipt reward applications, cashback credit cards, and bank rewards.
If you can’t find any deals, or if you have plenty of extra space, buy your food in bulk.
Also, after working in retail, I learned a trick that works most of the time to find the most affordable food. First, look at the price tag on the price tag strip and look for the “price per weight” section. For instance, “$0.46 per pound”. Afterward, compare the price per weight to similar items to see what offers the best value.
Start Saving for Your Next Trip
Whether you want to make some extra cash or find ways to reduce unnecessary activities, you have plenty of ways to save money for your next trip.