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Save Money to Travel on a Budget With This Four-Step Process

Do you wish that there was an easier way that you could save more money to travel?

When I was in college, I used to ask myself the same question. I wanted to travel to London, but I told myself I couldn’t because it was impossible to travel on a budget to Europe.

When my (now) husband and I got engaged, we decided that we wanted to travel to Europe for our honeymoon! I realized that I would have to stop disqualifying myself from travel because of the cost, and instead, find creative solutions to make it happen.

[Related: My Travel Story]

After experimenting with lots of money-saving tips & tricks, we developed an easy-to-follow four-step budgeting process that helped us to save several thousand dollars for our dream trip!

Today, I am sharing that exact process with you!

Regardless of your income or travel budget, follow this tried and true four-step process so that you can save more money to make traveling priority in your life!

1. Prioritize Travel in your Budget

The best place to begin saving money to travel on a budget is your current budget.

After you evaluate your monthly expenses, decide what you can eliminate each month to save money for travel:

  • Do you eat out every night? Try cooking at home a few days a week.
  • Are you subscribed to five streaming services? Consider cutting it down to just a few.
  • Do you go to Starbucks every morning? Start brewing your coffee at home.
  • Do you have a gym membership you only use a couple of times a month? Cancel your membership and go running outside or workout at home instead.

Be creative! Find the things in your budget that are less important to you than travel, and cut them out.

Then, determine how much money you can afford to contribute to your travel fund each month and commit to it. Treat the payment to your travel fund like a bill, just like your car insurance or electric bill.

Here’s an example. If you commit to saving $250 a month for travel, you know you will have $3,000 to spend on a trip just one year from now.

That’s a lot of money just for cutting out some unnecessary expenses!

2. Create a Separate Travel Fund

Money is elusive—if you don’t save it for something, you will spend it somewhere else. If you commit to travel on a budget, create a separate travel fund to help keep your travel savings separate from your regular savings.

I would recommend looking into a high yield saving account so that you are earning interest on your money. The two that I am familiar with and have used before are Wealthfront cash accounts and Ally Bank.

Aside from putting your budgeted amount ($250) in savings each month, this is also a great place to deposit any extra income you incur:

  • A bonus check
  • Cash from a side hustle
  • A gift
  • That jar of spare change you’ve had sitting around forever…

These are all fantastic resources to put in the travel fund. Then, instead of having $3,000 to spend, you may end up having $3,500 to spend, instead!

3. Create a Travel Budget

The most effective way to travel on a budget is to create a budget for every trip you go on (and stick to it!). Travel budgeting can help to prevent overspending while you are on a trip.

Once you know the amount you will be able to save for your trip ($3500), you can begin to allocate your budgeted amount to travel expenses. The five most common costs to consider are:

  • Airfare – Round-trip, one-way, etc.
  • Accommodations – AirBnBs, hotels, hostels, etc.

Booking.com is my favorite website to use when booking travel accommodations for budget travel!

  • Transportation – Public transport tickets, a rental car, bus tickets, train tickets, Uber, Lyft, etc.
  • Food – Meals, snacks, drinks, etc.
  • Activities – Tickets to theme parks, attractions, shows, tours, museums, etc.

Get Your Guide is my favorite website to use when booking tickets for tours, attractions, and activities!

[Related Post: 7 Travel Apps to Plan Your Trip Like a Pro]

How to Create Your Own Travel Budget

Does the thought of creating a travel budget from scratch feel overwhelming?

If so, I understand. And not only that, I want to help!

I created a FREE Travel Budget Template that will walk you through creating your very own travel budget, step-by-step.

[FREE DOWNLOAD: Travel Budget Template]

This resource follows my exact method for travel planning and has helped me to successfully plan, execute, and budget for all my trips, including my honeymoon!

And the best part? You can use your free travel budget template over and over again for every trip you take.

Download the template by clicking below!

How to Travel on a Budget

After you have allocated money to each essential travel expense, you will notice that:

  1. Your trip costs less than your budgeted amount. Yay! You can keep that money as discretionary spending cash for your trip.
  2. Your trip costs more than your budgeted amount. But don’t worry – that’s where the next step comes into play.

4. Make Adjustments

After you’ve created your travel budget and have calculated the cost of airfare, hotels, food, and activities, you may realize that your trip is going to be more expensive than your budget.

Instead of canceling your trip or reluctantly deciding to overspend, here are three adjustments you can make to your travel plans to successfully travel on a budget:

Find a Different Time

If the location you are traveling to is important to you, but you are flexible with the time you visit, either find another time of year to travel that is less expensive or postpone your trip for a few months until you can save up the extra cash.

Traveling to popular locations during the off-season is a great way to travel on a budget. You’ll save tons of money on transportation costs and hotels, and also avoid lots of tourists!

Find a New Location

If the time you are traveling is important to you, but you are flexible with the location, research other places that might be less expensive to travel to during the time of year you want to take your trip.

Find a Way to Save More Money

If the location and time you are traveling are important to you, re-evaluate your budget to see if there are any other expenses you can temporarily remove to hit your savings goal.

Travel on a Budget With This 4-Step Process

Even though travel planning can be complicated, saving for your dream vacation doesn’t have to be. If you are willing to make traveling a priority, I truly believe that this four-step process will help you to save money for your dream vacation.

Get started on budgeting for your next trip right now with your free Travel Budget Template!

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Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. These commissions help me to support this blog and continue to create free resources for you to use!

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Travel on a Budget

Brittany Sawyer
 

Hi, I'm Brit! I'm a writer from Phoenix, AZ who loves coffee, golden retriever puppies, and obviously, travel! I help ordinary women (like me!) dream, plan, and do extraordinary travel experiences.

  • Lauren says:

    Brit, this is such an INCREDIBLE resource for new travelers or people who are looking to be budget-friendly. As a former travel agent, I saw a ton of the tips I would give to my clients in this post! Your rationale is solid, and I think you made a really great point in Step Four—you don’t have to reluctantly overspend and drive yourself down a financial hole. There are so many amazing resources out there to help people save money (including this post!) and getting creative is so much fun! I honestly cannot wait to see what you post next!

    • Lauren, thank you so much! It’s really encouraging that you agree with these tips from your previous experience as a travel agent. Thank you so much for all your support! I am grateful for you 🙂

  • Danielle says:

    Eating out is definitely one of the biggest things I could do away with in order to travel more! Totally worth it too!

  • Josy A says:

    Great tips Britney. I really like the idea of looking for alternatives rather than just giving up if you can’t visit your chosen destination on a budget.

    You’re right about getting a high interest savings account – I need to do that now!

  • Christy says:

    Some great tips! I always put aside as much as I can as soon as I get paid

  • Lyne says:

    This is such a simple and logical process when you think of it! It’s definitely a great way to save money and plan a trip! Thanks for sharing!

  • Jordan says:

    This is a great budget guide. I love the idea of creating a separate travel fund!

  • […] Save Money on a Budget with This Four-Step Process […]

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  • Amazing! I know nothing about traveling all over the country, what a wonderful looking place to explore.

  • Krista says:

    Lots of great tips you’ve listed here! I have a separate savings account at my bank for travel funds so I don’t touch it.

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