If you’re like I was in the years leading up to taking that first step towards traveling, saving the money is probably the most overwhelming and intimidating part of the pre-planning. It really does not have to be though. I’ve learned over the last half decade of travelling and saving that it takes patience and some discipline but is not impossible even for those who don’t make a lot of money. I’ve been part time at my job and going to school full time and I still have managed to put some money aside in order to take an occasional trip. I’ll be listing some of the tips that either I picked up along the way from other people or that I have figured out for myself.
Tip #1: A Little Bit at a Time
If you don’t have any idea where you want to go yet but you know you want to go somewhere it is best to start your savings now instead of waiting for a plan to pop up. It only takes a little bit at a time and before you know it you’ll have a travel fund that you can use on a destination of your choice. You can literally start today. Take a small portion from each paycheck that you remove ON your payday immediately and put it aside. When I was working full-time I was able to put much more aside each paycheck but right now I do a very modest $30-40. This means two times during the pay period I probably need to stay home and not eat out. This also means in a 6-8 month period I could have enough money saved for a flight to somewhere in Western Europe, South America or Central America. The beauty about travel to a large portion of the world is that it is cheap ONCE you get there. So another 6 months or so you’ll have enough money to last you 2 weeks in most places. (Western Europe excluded but you would just have to save for a little longer)
I just got done doing this exact process for my flight to Colombia and with out guilt I purchased a $400 round trip ticket from Tampa to Bogota and then Medellin back to Tampa for the end of this year. I’ll spend 10 days inbetween the two cities and since day-to-day expenses are some of the cheapest in this part of the world I’ll only need to save from now till December at my current rate to have a very comfortable time. Remember, the flight is usually the most expensive part of any trip so once you get that out of the way you can focus on day-to-day expenses. So don’t get caught up in feeling like you have to save for everything in such a short period of time… patience is important.