Saving Money to Travel

saving money to travel

I am frequently inundated with messages and emails from readers, subscribers, friends and students on how I managed to fund my Gap Year entirely by myself. As this is something I’m incredibly proud of, and something I’ve achieved on my own, I think that I can share with you some travel-saving money tips…

1. ‘Take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves’

This is a phrase that is, admittedly, quite annoying but is actually so true. When I was saving to travel, I would be so incredibly stingy with everything – to the point where I was walking 40 minutes every single day to work (there and back) just to save £1.50 on bus fares. I remember constantly searching for deals to save me even a few pence, be that when I was going out with friends for a meal or drink, or whether I was searching for the supermarket selling the product I wanted most cheaply. Sounds sad, I know. But if you take care of the pennies, the pounds truly do take care of themselves.

2. Birthdays/Christmas

If you know that you want to travel, why not ask your family and friends to gift you money instead of something specific? Since I had been planning my travels for over a year, I knew that I needed to save a lot of money. I therefore asked for money for Christmas from my family and stashed away almost all of it. For my 18th birthday, I asked my family for money and, again, saved almost all of it (~85%) and when I threw my birthday party, I only asked for money if friends wanted to get me something. This contributed largely to my travel fund!

3. Get a job

It goes without saying that if you’re planning to travel then you will want to get a job. Personally, I worked four different jobs over the space of five months: for a while I was even juggling three of them at one time. I remember working fifteen days in a row once and I’m pretty sure that’s illegal but it happened. And I earned a hell of a lot of money. I pushed myself to my working limits and bust my gut every day to earn extra money. I volunteered myself to do two 12-hour shifts from 5pm-5am just because the pay was more. If you want it, you’ll do it.

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4. Sell your things!

I sold a lot of my old clothes and school textbooks on eBay before I left. It’s a pain having to photograph each and every thing and upload them with a description but it’s all extra cash. I probably got an extra ~£150 from it (I can’t actually remember the exact amount). If you’re not going to wear your clothes again or use your school textbooks (unless you’re studying the subject at university, you’re really not going to pick up that Maths textbook again) – so sell them for money.

5. Choose water

I’m the kind of girl to go out to a restaurant and only have water to drink (yeah, I’m weird, I know) buuut if you opt for a soft drink or cocktail when having a meal out, cut back. Choose water instead: your body and your purse will be happier for it. Trust me.

6. Go out less

I’m not saying stop going out altogether (girl’s gotta have fun) but do try and go out less. If I was going to meet up with a friend, instead of going out for a meal, we would have a picnic in the park, go to a café or even just go round to each others’ houses (I feel like this doesn’t happen much nowadays?!) You would be surprised how much you save if you didn’t organise your social events around things which cost money (i.e. eating out in my case). Also restricting the amount of times you go out to a bar or a club will massively save you money. Drinks alone cost a fortune and before you know it you’ve blown £40 in one night (and possibly even more!)

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7. Stop buying new clothes

I know how tough it is to want to buy new clothes because you’re sick and tired of your current ones. I know exactly how it feels… but I refrained. It was the middle of summer and I wanted to buy an entirely new wardrobe. Did I have the money? No way. I sucked it up, worked my shifts everyday, and saved myself a lot of money. While it may be tempting to go and spend your earnings immediately every payday, it’s wiser not to. At the same time, be kind and allow yourself the odd thing here-or-there, just don’t go crazy.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

8. Cut out the unnecessary things

Do you really need your daily fix of coffee from Starbucks? The answer is no. No matter how many reasons you try and come up with, you know that you don’t. So cut it out. Similarly, take a packed lunch instead of buying out. Even if you’re spending £3 on a meal deal everyday, that still adds up to a lot of money (which you could be saving for travel). It might be hard to give up the small luxuries but it’s all worth it in the end. This also includes gym membership. Unless you can find other areas to cut back on, your gym membership needs to go. I mean, how often do you go to the gym? Honestly?

9. Go/Do more free things!

Instead of paying money to go to places or to do things, why not have a look at what there is to do for free in your area? And if you do really want to go and see a film, go to a play or do anything which requires purchasing a ticket, look for deals and discounts! There are tons of websites out there with hundreds and hundreds of discounts so make use of them!

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10. Walk everywhere

Public transport is so damn expensive. If you can walk there, even if it takes an hour, DO IT. Not only will this tick off your exercise for the day, but you’ll also be saving yourself potentially hundreds of pounds a week. The same goes for car-usage. Petrol is expensive and ain’t nobody got time for that when you’re trying to save money. Skip the car, skip the train/bus/tram/whatever and just simply walk. It may take longer (and if it’s truly an inconvenience then obviously don’t) but it does save a large amount of money. I walked everywhere I could and saved hundreds.

11. Finally, how badly do you want it?

Every time I would be tempted to do some online shopping or to go to the shop to buy some chocolate “just because it’s £1”, I would stop and remind myself that that money could pay for an extra night somewhere; that money, yes even just £1, could feed me dinner in China; that money could be the difference between going to an event and not whilst abroad. It does sound silly when you think about it but every single penny counts. Especially when you’re travelling. So, how badly do you want it?

Do you have any other money-saving tips? Let me know!

P.S. I’m sorry for not being active lately – I haven’t been feeling myself and I’ll do another post on that soon!

Peace and love,
Viola xo


20 years old | bit of a nerd | thoughts about life | travel, fitness, fashion + student blog |
Posts created 152

25 thoughts on “Saving Money to Travel

  1. Great tips! Discipline is really the key to save money – how do you easily give in to temptation vs. how do you want to save for whatever purpose you have in mind.

    Thank you for sharing!

  2. Great post Viola and loving your vlogs too!

    I’m really curious to know which jobs you undertook??

    1. Thank you Rizwana! I worked at Thorpe Park, on NCS, at Twickenham Stadium and privately 🙂

  3. AMEN!! How badly do people want it!! I get asked so many times how I do it, and I do it by making it a top priority! Two weekends of not going out save almost as much as a domestic plane ticket! I always buy second-hand clothes, and sell the ones I don’t wear to keep up with the latest fashion at a fraction of the cost! But great idea about the Christmas thing. If my family would hop on the Delta points bandwagon, I would appreciate it haha. Great post!

  4. This is great advice here, and as someone who has been at this whole travel the world thing for nearly 20 years, I can tell you that you are right on target with all of this. I can’t tell you how many times I have sold it all, worked to travel, or generally just sacrificed all material things so that I could afford the next grand adventure. And I am so better for it. I think everyone is who pursues this kind of life. Keep it up!

    1. I totally agree. I’m still so young and I’m just aching for my next adventure! Sometimes university really does just get in the way of life… Thanks for your kind comment 🙂

  5. Very usefull tips! I think for me the biggest challenge was/is cutting back on having coffees on the go as I often have a lot of time between travelling to appointments. It’s easier in the summer as I can just go to a park and do some work there, but in the winter…coffee shops…

    1. Yes I know how hard and tempting coffee shops are in the winter but maybe think about buying a flask so you can take hot drinks with you? It’ll be handy and will save you lots of £££

  6. Cool tips! When we start traveling, we usually realize that we don’t need so many unnecessary things we thought we couldn’t live without! The water tip is also good as well as cooking for yourself and cut buying clothes 🙂 I’m lucky I hate shopping so I can easily save money for traveling – no thing can replace those memories!

    1. For sure! I’m always one to spend money on experiences (i.e. travel) rather than materialistic things. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Very good tips! For me, what helped the most saving some extra money was reducing the amount of money I spend on a night out, and walking to work every day or getting a bike. Not that hard to do and I always appreciate it when I’m spending a few days abroad!

    1. Exactly. People don’t realise how much going out can be – and staying in one or two nights means you can go abroad! Thanks for commenting 🙂

  8. with you on all of these.. its difficult to cut down on some impulsive habits but getting to travel is a strong motivation and I’ve been through all of them

  9. These are just a great insightful. I like how you chop off every single things that are basic,but most of us didn’t notice. I find it really helpful and some of them are in the process of making it into reality. It is such a great tips for all of us. Thank you so much for sharing them with us.

  10. These are some great tips! I believe in the old saying that ‘where is the will, there is a way’! If someone really wants to travel, he/she will make things work!

  11. Some great tips here! I agree on all of it actually, having practised/been practicing most of these. And each of these have helped me save some bucks. All for the love of travel in the end! 🙂

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