How to Save Money for Travel: 99 Actionable Tips and Strategies

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Wondering how to save money for travel, and not sure where to start?

Here’s the truth: saving your hard-earned dollars for that dream trip isn’t easy.

It takes a lot of sacrifice, dedication and hard work, but trust me – when you’re soaking up the sun on an exotic beach in paradise, it’ll all be worth it.

With that in mind, I’ve created a mega resource to help you out: a beastly list of 99 ways you can save money to travel the world, with plenty of helpful links to send you in the right direction.

With these actionable baby steps, you can easily start racking up that cash in no time!

Save these tips on how to save money for travel for later!

Once you start saving for a trip, you’ll be very glad you did.

General tips on saving money For Travel

There are many ways to save money for a trip, so let’s go over some basic ones. If you’re not sure how to save money for travel, here are some solid, actionable ways to start.

1. Set savings goals

Set weekly or monthly savings goals to keep yourself on track!

Having these goals in mind will help you veer away from temptation, and it’ll give you boosts of motivation when you hit your targets.

Woman holding stack of 100 dollar bills
Photo by Blogging Guide on Unsplash

2. Actually budget

Even a basic budget (e.g. only spending x amount of money on food that week) can help you spend your money more wisely.

Further reading: How to Make a Travel Fund and Budget

3. … And track your expenses while you’re at it

It’s scary how easily we can lose track of how much we’re spending.

Take note of each dime you spend and you’ll be better able to locate where all your money is going, and adjust accordingly.

There’s a lot of free apps out there for this purpose, which makes tracking a breeze.

Further reading: 12 free apps to track your spending

Notebook with glasses and notes on a desk
Photo by AltumCode on Unsplash

4. Set up a travel account and automatically send money into it

This way, the savings are automatic and you’re not even thinking about other options for how to spend that money.

5. Get a travel credit card

Having a good travel credit card can mean racking up airmiles and rewards while spending what you’d be spending anyway!

Be sure to shop around and see if there are airline or hotel credit cards available for brands you love.

For instance, fans of the Marriott brand are able to reap up plenty of sweet perks like free stays through using a Marriott Rewards card. Not a bad deal!

Further reading: How to pick a travel credit card

Man holding a credit card while shopping online
Photo by CardMapr on Unsplash

6. Dump your tips and loose change into a piggy bank

You might laugh at this one, but I once paid for an entire weekend in Las Vegas with a piggy bank crammed with coins and 5 dollar bills.

Back in my unglamorous Starbucks barista days, the tips were rather… dire. 

BUT, after 1.5 years foaming up cappucinos, I had enough for a trip in Vegas! It all adds up.

Coins in a jar on a brown wooden table
Photo by Matthew Lancaster on Unsplash

7. Become resistant to peer-pressure!

“Come on, just one drink” are the most dangerous words ever uttered!

It’s easy to get peer pressured into spending, whether it’s an innocent “but that top looks amazing on you” or guilting you into coming out for a concert.

That’s why it’s important to always have the big picture in mind, and not give into pressure from your peers.

Another thing that can help is being open and honest with the people in your life about your budget/what you’re saving up for. That way they’ll be less pushy and hopefully more understanding.

Friends taking a selfie on a day out
Photo by Elevate on Unsplash

8. Get someone to hold you accountable, or someone who wants to save with you

Whether it’s a friend, family member or significant other, having someone there to police your habits can make a huge difference in you sticking to your saving plan.

Even better, grab a friend who has similar goals and you can support each other through the process.

9. Try vacation rentals instead of a hotel room

Vacation rentals can save a lot of money if you travel with a group. Rentals are already usually priced lower than hotel rooms, and they usually don’t charge any additional fees for extra people.

This means you can share a nicely spaced apartment or home with friends, and cut a lot of costs.

Girl posing with Queen cardboard cutout in Bath
Why not the queen?

How to make a little extra Money for Travel

Now that we’ve covered some basics on how to save money to travel, now let’s discuss how to earn some extra money for travel. It’s possible to travel with little money, but there are some fun and easy waves to save for travel that involve actually racking up more funds. Here are some.

9. Earn free online gift cards with Swagbucks.

When I first discovered Swagbucks, I almost cried.

Essentially, it’s a free online community that rewards its members with gift cards for doing things they already do online, e.g. Googling (no joke), watching videos, doing surveys and more.

Through doing certain tasks, you rack up “Swagbucks” which you can redeem for things like Amazon gift cards.

I was super into this years ago, and have earned tons of free gift cards from it. It’s easy work but adds up to awesome rewards! You can create a free account here.

Laptop and tea on a bed
Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

10. Sell your stuff

Whether it’s at a garage sale or through Facebook, getting rid of things you no longer use can add up to tons of $$$ (and it helps you declutter too!)

Further reading: How to make money selling your old stuff

A clean and airy living space with plants and photos on the wall
Photo by Vladimir Mokry on Unsplash

11. Take up some extra side gigs

Tutoring, dog walking, freelancing – you name it, there’s many ways to pick up some extra work. Why not put that income directly into funding for your travels?

Check out my post on freelance travel writing jobs hiring right now if you’re interested in pursuing travel content creation!

12. Rent out any spare space you have, or AirBNB when you’re out of town

If you haven’t signed up for AirBNB,  click here to get $40 CAD in travel credit when you sign up today!

Bed and breakfast room with a big bed and beautiful mirrors

Saving money on food & drink

No list of ways to save money would be complete without addressing some of our favourite vices and money suckers.

Here are some ideas on how to save up for travel by cutting costs on food and drink.

13. Cut down on the boozy nights out

My boyfriend and I share expenses when it comes to groceries and dining out.

We each put equal amounts into a ‘food fund’ and just dip into that whenever the need arises, because it’s just simpler that way.

One time, we looked down at our food fund and said “so… we can either get groceries for a week… or go out to the bar for one night.”

This statement is sadly very accurate!

Going out is expensive, alcohol is expensive, and if saving money for travel is your goal, then cutting down on these nights out is a great way to do that.

Wine glass in front of Cinque Terre view
Forgoing drinks at home can mean later having a drink in paradise!

14. If you must though, predrink

Ah, predrinking, pre-gaming, whatever you call it – it was once uni-me’s best friend, but hey, it can still be yours too! 

If you don’t want to be a complete social recluse, then consider having a few drinks with friends at home before heading out for the night.

The predrink is usually my favourite part of the night anyways – you can actually hear each other and interact!

15. Better yet, host a boozy night in

As a 20-something, I understand how alcohol can be a… pretty important part of one’s social calendar.

That said, a great alternative to hitting up yet another bar or club is simply having friends over for a few drinks. This can easily cut your booze spending in half.

Further reading: 11 easy cocktails to make at home

Colourful cocktails on a white marble table
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

16. Buy groceries and cook your own meals, rather than eat out all the time

Since moving to Munich, I’ve been cooking 95% of my meals (the food scene here isn’t quite the same as in Vancouver!) and I am absolutely shocked at how much money I’m saving.

If dining out frequently is a hobby of yours, definitely look into how you can reduce your meals out in favour of a much cheaper meal at home.

Person cooking at home and putting homemade food into bowls
Photo by Kevin McCutcheon on Unsplash

17. Learn the art of the bulk cook

Bulk cooks have changed my life.

Usually what I’ll do is I’ll create building blocks for meals at the start of the week and then Frankenstein them into whatever I’m feeling for.

Roasting a large pan of veggies and chicken breast for example can help you create salads, stir fries, pastas, you name it throughout the week. It’s all about minimizing the work for yourself so you’re not tempted to order food.

Soup in a glass container
Photo by Kate Trifo on Unsplash

Cooking takes a lot of time and preparation, but if you’re able to set aside a few hours one day of the week to make huge batches of food, then you’ll have lunch and dinner set for the week, which makes it really easy to…

18. Bring lunch to school/work

We’re all guilty of just buying lunch because it’s more convenient, but these daily lunches can add up quickly. Bringing your own lunch from home is not just cheaper, but better for you.

Further reading: Batch cooking 101

Colourful salads in lunch containers on a table
Photo by Luisa Brimble on Unsplash

Saving money on shopping

Wondering how to save for a big trip? The answer is cutting costs in all aspects of your life, including shopping! So, here are some ways to save for a travel fund that involve cheaper shopping habits.

19. Grocery shop somewhere cheaper

I once knew a girl who complained constantly about being broke, yet did all her grocery shopping at Whole Foods.

There’s no shame in shopping at budget grocery stores like Aldi or Lidl! If you cook often, this one switch alone will save you tons of cash.

Colourful produce and vegetables in a grocery store cooler
Photo by Fikri Rasyid on Unsplash

20. Plan your grocery shopping/meals around what’s on sale

You know those annoying flyers you usually get with your local paper?

Browse those in advance of your shopping trip (or look online) so you know what’s on sale, and create that week’s menu accordingly.

21. Buy what’s in season/available locally

In-season fruits and veggies will be cheaper than those that are out of season.

This doesn’t have to get repetitive and boring!

Rather, look at it as an opportunity to expand your culinary horizons and get inventive with new recipes.

Fresh fruit and vegetables at a food market

22. Buy items in bulk

If you’ve got space, consider buying staple items like spices, rice, pasta, etc. in bulk to save 1) time and 2) precious moola.

Further reading: The ultimate guide to buying in bulk

23. Buy store brand

Oh brands – they control our lives in so many ways.

Here’s the truth though – there’s often little difference between buying generic store brand vs. big brand names. The savings though can amount to a whole lot.

24. Make coupons your best friend

I wish I had the patience and craftiness of an extreme couponer, but sadly I lack that kind of organization.

Still, you don’t have to be an extreme couponer to reap the rewards of coupons! It’s easy to find discount codes for just about anything these days (even online shops), plus physical coupons are often available at the store.

A simple trick is to Google “store + coupon (or discount code)” before you go shopping. You never know!

Further reading: Where can I find coupons?

25. For things other than groceries, buy out of season

For instance: jackets in the summer, sunglasses in the winter… look out for end-of-season sales as well.

Girl posing in a red parka in the snow
Get your parkas in the summer!

26. Learn the art of thrifting

You don’t necessarily need to buy brand new when you’re looking to refresh your wardrobe!

Look into getting new items from second hand shops, flea markets or even off Facebook groups.

Often, the items will be unworn with the tags still on, except at a fraction of the cost!

Thrift shop with boots on display
Photo by Kaylin Pacheco on Unsplash

27. If you must shop, wait for big sales

Most things eventually go on sale.

While it’s tempting to grab that pretty new dress as soon as you see it, you could probably get it for half price in a month or so. Patience is key!

For bigger ticket items (like TVs and other electronics), keep your eye out for big annual sales like Black Friday or Boxing Day.

28. Bookworms, take advantage of the library

I love a good book, but there’s no denying that they’re pricey. Instead of buying new books, why not make some trips to the local library?

Hall in library stacked with books
Photo by Shunya Koide on Unsplash

29. … or buy used books instead

Used book shops are another awesome, cheap alternative… plus they’re so much more fun to browse!

Beautiful bookstore in Venice
Most gorgeous bookstore in the world.

30. Avoid impulse buys

Spot a gorgeous pair of shoes that you just need to have? 

Exercise that self control and wait. If you are still dying to have those shoes over a week later, then you’ll be more certain that you genuinely want them.

31. Shop online

A lot of things can be bought cheaper online through Amazon, eBay and a bunch of other websites.

Shop around online for a bit before committing to a purchase in-person – you could save loads!

Further reading: 7 items that are (often) cheaper to buy online

Girl at desk shopping online with a coffee in hand
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Saving money on fun Activities

A lot of advice on how to save money for travel involves cutting out fun things, but that doesn’t mean you have to axe fun from your life completely. Here are some ideas on how to save money for travel that involve finding alternatives to usual “fun” activities.

This might not be fun to think about, but remember, save and travel. That’s the motivation!

32. Propose cost-effective hangouts with your friends

When my friends want to see each other, for some reason we always default to expensive activities like going out or grabbing food at a restaurant.

Why not propose cheaper activities like a walk in the park, playing sports somewhere outdoors, etc?

33. Invite friends over for dinner in lieu of another meal out

On that note, try hosting dinner parties instead of visiting yet another restaurant. Potlucks are super easy to organize, and plenty of fun too.

34. If you must eat out, go for lunch rather than dinner

Sometimes, you’ll be dying to check out that hip new restaurant, but hey, remember that lunch is usually cheaper than dinner, so if you’re gonna come give it a try, do it then.

35. Enjoy movies at home, rather than at the theatre

Movie bingeathons at home are the best.

There’s no million dollar popcorn to buy, no annoying chatterboxes kicking the back of your seat… Plus, you won’t be spending $10+ on a ticket.

Laptop with Netflix loaded
Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

36. For fun activities, go when it’s cheaper

Be more strategic about your fun! If you’re indulging in drinks, do so at Happy Hour… or say, if it’s Margarita Monday, have a cheap margarita rather than a glass of wine.

Really need to catch that new Star Wars movie (can’t blame you!)? Then go for a cheaper matinee showing or on a cheap discount day if your local cinema has them.

37. Look on Groupon and other discount sites for fun things to do

Sites like Groupon often offer super cool activities for a fraction of the cost.

Be careful though – don’t fall for the trap of just buying a bunch of Groupons ‘because they’re cheaper than normal’.

You might be spending extra because you wouldn’t have gone for that experience without the deal.

Girl on a paddleboard
Paddleboard surfing. ish.

38. Take advantage of free events happening in your community

Festivals, markets, you name it – there’s always awesome, free things that are happening where you live, so take advantage of those to have some fun without breaking the bank.

Saving money on your lifestyle

One of the most basic ways to start saving for travel is making small adjustments to your lifestyle. Remember little changes add up over time so here are some ways to save money for travel that involve altering your lifestyle.

39. Downgrade that phone plan

Phone plans and data especially can be super pricey.

Pick a cheaper phone plan and instead rely more on public WiFi (or you know, disconnect a bit and enjoy life without being glued to your phone).

Phone taking a photo of a landmark
Photo by xandro Vandewalle on Unsplash

40. Ditch cable

Why not make use of services like Netflix instead? After all, you don’t need cable to enjoy the best travel movies out there.

41. Walk places when you’re able to

Bonus perks of this money saving tip? Mega-toned legs.

42. Cut out the takeaway coffee

Those $2 coffees and $5 cappuccinos add up to tons of money that you could be spending on your dream holiday.

Person paying with credit card at a cafe
Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

43. Exercise outside or at home instead of at the gym

Gym memberships are great, but there is plenty of exercise that you can do outside of a gym to keep you fit.

Further reading: 15 workouts you can easily do at home

44. DIY gifts

Some of the best gifts come from the heart! Here are some awesome articles to get you started on easy, cheap and thoughtful DIY gifts:

Beer Bouquet by Christina Guan
DIY Beer bouquet because why not?

45. Embrace freebies

It’s crazy how much stuff you’re able to get for free.

Besides samples from marketers/promoters, there are actually some people who have had success by writing to companies and simply asking for free things. No joke!

This awesome article by Tough Nickel shows how it’s possible to get scores of free products by writing letters to companies.

46. Cancel your magazine subscriptions

Read blogs and online magazines instead!

47. Cut down on utilities use

Shorter showers, turning off the lights, you name it!

These little sacrifices mean you’re just that much closer to that dream trip.

Further reading: 41 super easy ways to lower your electric bill

Bright airy boho chic home living room
Photo by Minh Pham on Unsplash

48. Give up bad habits like smoking

Smoking, gambling, etc. – not only are these habits expensive to support, they’re not particularly good for you either!

49. Split subscriptions with friends/roommates

My boyfriend and I paid double for 2 Amazon Prime subscriptions for years before we realized we could have just been using one account between the two of us.

Think about common subscriptions that you and your friends use (e.g. Spotify, Netflix, YouTube Premium, etc.) and strategize how you might be able to split costs with them.

50. Sign up for rewards programs

All kinds of stores these days offer rewards programs for your loyalty and spending.

The key here is to only sign up for programs at places you would be shopping anyway, so that you’re not spending extra money just to reap up points or rewards.

Further reading: Can store loyalty programs save you money?

51. Car pool more often

Gas and taxi costs add up quickly!

Man standing on a van in Iceland
Carpool now, epic road trips abroad later.

52. Be strategic in your birthday/holiday requests

Instead of gifts for your birthday or for the holidays, ask for money or travel-related things you can use on your next trip.

53. Resist the temptation to upgrade your tech

Haven’t you noticed? Anytime there’s new tech products released, the things that you own will inevitably feel outdated/crappy even though they still work fine.

I know I’m guilty of always wanting the latest iPhone, but big tech purchases are so expensive (and unnecessary if what you have still works fine).

54. Say bye to your landline

You always have your mobile on you anyways!

iPhone taking a photo of tulips
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

55. Make little changes to your diet, like Meatless Mondays

This tip depends on where you live, but try to identify products that are generally more expensive (e.g. meat) and reduce them in your diet, even once or twice a week.

56. Practice DIY beauty

It’s nice to be pampered every once in a while, but spa treatments, waxing appointments, etc. all amount to a lot of money spent on things you could do on your own.

57. Look into makeup dupes

While I’m not super into makeup, I know enough to realize how freaking expensive it can be!!

The thing with high end makeup is that yes, you usually get what you pay for, but at the same time, there’s a lot of dupes out there that give you the same results for much less.

Check out this post about insanely good makeup dupes to get you started.

58. Paint your own nails

Going to a nail salon is a real luxury, but you can easily pamper yourself at home too.

Check out this post on 7 Steps to a DIY Manicure and Pedicure at Home.

A person wearing a black sweater showing off their nails
Photo by allison christine on Unsplash

59. Move back home

This is a big one, and comes at the cost of your independence (and potentially, your sanity).

That said, if you’re saving up for a really big trip and you’re due to move away in a few months anyway, there’s no shame in moving back with your parents for a month or two.

Not only do you save huge on things like rent, utilities and possibly food, it gives you a chance to reconnect with family.

Money-saving tips to Help Save Money On Travel

Alright, we’ve covered plenty of tips on how to save money for travel, but what about how to save money on travel? Here are some money saving travel tips that you need to take advantage of.

60. Plan your travels in advance

I’ve written extensively about travel hacks and tips, but honestly, some of the best money saving travel tips are the most obvious ones.

For instance, flights and hotel bookings are usually cheaper if you book well in advance.

This is also a less risky way to assure you get a good deal. I love websites like Expedia and Priceline for finding deals.

If however, you have more flexibility in your plans, then you can…

61. Look into last minute deals

This is an awesome post featuring the best sites for booking last minute travel.

Notebook and supplies over top a map
Photo by oxana v on Unsplash

62. Find cheap flight deals online

I’ve already written a lot about how to find cheap flights to Europe, but in case you’re travelling to other destinations, here are some general tips.

First off – get to know the tools at your disposal for saving money to travel the world. You can use search engines like Skyscanner to browse around and look at cheap options for flights.

Otherwise, there are also plenty of websites that do the leg work for you and post when there’s exceptional deals.

My personal favourite is Secret Flying.

Further reading: Do a cheap flight search like a pro

63. Travel during the off-season

Cheaper and less crowds – travelling in the off-season is one the best ways to save money when travelling.

Sunset view out of a plane window
Photo by Nick Pryde on Unsplash

64. Travel to where the exchange rate is in your favour.

All the little bits can add up.

Likewise, you should also…

65. Orient your travel plans around where your money will go furthest

Travelling to cheaper countries means you’ll be able to travel longer, and also indulge in more cool experiences and delicious food while you’re at it.

Further reading: Top 12 cheapest travel destinations

Photos and camera on top of a map on a wooden table
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

66. Harness the power of your connections to save $$ on accommodations

I’m not saying you should call up your ex-boyfriend’s cousin’s butcher to ask for a free couch to sleep on, but if you do happen to know friends in the place you’re staying, don’t hesitate to connect and see if there’s potential for them to host you.

You save bundles this way, and you get an awesome local guide to show you the sights. Important: Don’t forget to buy a small gift or something as a token of appreciation!

67. Stay in hostels/AirBNBs rather than hotels, or better yet – volunteer/work at a hostel in exchange for free accommodations

Hostels are cost-effective, yes but I also love them because of their social atmosphere, ideal for solo travellers.

Contrary to popular belief, hostels can be comfortable, clean and awesome… you just need to know how to sort the good from the bad.

Be sure to check out my guide on how to book the perfect hostel for more.

Where to find good hostels:

Europe’s Famous Hostels: an association of hostels in Europe whose members must adhere to high standards of quality in facilities and location. Each city only has one ‘famous hostel’, so this makes it rather easy to find a good quality hostel with a solid reputation.

HostelworldA great resource for looking up hostels all over the world, though it does involve some work to ensure that you pick a good one. Be sure to sort by rating, look at lots of reviews and cross-reference reviews with other sites like TripAdvisor as well just to make sure you’re sure about the place you’re booking!

The Hostel Girl: An awesome blog with tons of resources on hostel life/budget travel.

Hostel living room in Norway
The cozy digs at Marken Gjesthus (one of ‘Europe’s Famous Hostels)

As for finding work at a hostel, this isn’t actually as complicated as most people think – often times you can check into a hostel and ask if they are accepting volunteers to work/clean in exchange for a free bed.

If this kind of uncertainty isn’t your thing, email a bunch of different hostels before your arrival to see if they are hiring.

If hostels aren’t your thing, AirBNBs are an awesome alternative to hotels and are not just cheaper, but let you live more like a local! Here is a first timer’s guide to AirBNB if you’re new to it.

Click here for a $40 CAD discount on your first AirBNB experience.

Further reading: 5 steps to a 5* AirBNB Experience

Beautiful Airbnb tree house
Photo by Alexa West on Unsplash

68. Try Couchsurfing

I personally haven’t tried it yet, but many travellers I’ve met swear by this online network, where you stay with a local free of charge.

Most of the time, your host also doubles as an awesome person who can show you around, so it’s a win-win.

If it’s your first time and you’re worried about safety, perhaps try it first with a friend, and always make sure to check reviews and references… For the most part though, I’ve heard nothing but amazing things.

Further reading: The Ultimate Guide to Couchsurfing

69. Fly carry-on only

Packing light is always a good idea, plus you avoid checked bag fees, save time at the airport and are no longer at risk of your bag getting lost.

Further reading: Carry-on only – travel in 11 pounds

Rolling Suitcases on a sidewalk
Photo by Robert Gomez on Unsplash

70. Get to know budget airlines

They’re not necessarily the most luxurious, but it is absolutely mindblowing sometimes how cheap you can fly with these companies!

In Europe for instance, RyanAir and Wizz Air can often get you places cheaper than a bus. Not sure where to start with budget airlines? Budget Airline Guide is a great resource.

71. Slow down and explore fewer places with your time

We often try to maximize our time abroad by hopping from destination to destination, but doing so is not only exhausting, you’re spending extra to get from place to place.

Rather than spend only a day or two in a city, try staying for longer.

This not only saves you transport costs, but makes for a more enjoyable experience overall.

Foggy viewpoint at the Sea to Sky gondola in BC

72. Get free apps to communicate with people from home

Gone are the days when you need to pay for international plans and roaming!

There are a lot of helpful travel apps out there these days, even ones that cost absolutely nothing.

So, before you go, make sure you download some free apps like Whatsapp, Messenger and Viber to keep everyone at home in the loop while you’re gone.

Further reading: Top 10 apps to stay in touch while abroad

73. Skip the car rental

Cars are expensive, and parking is too.

Plus, there are loads of hidden costs associated with rental cars too.

So, unless you’re doing a big road trip, or travelling to a spot where public transit isn’t ideal, then forgo the rental car and opt for cheaper public transit instead.

White rental van in a field
Photo by Tobias Tullius on Unsplash

74. Opt for free walking tours, rather than paid guided tours

Free walking tours are my absolute favourite. Usually the guides are fantastic, because they ask you to pay at the end what you thought the tour was worth.

This means you’re able to contribute within your means.

Important: don’t just tag along for the ride and skimp out without giving anything at all. These guys work really hard, and running away is just uncool.

If you’re travelling in Europe, Sandeman’s New Europe tours have been consistently awesome in my books!

75. Learn how to do your own laundry while on the road

It’s surprisingly easy and a lot more convenient than trying to track down a laundromat.

Further reading: How to do laundry when traveling

Laundry basket on the floor in front of a laundry machine
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

76. Take advantage of the sharing economy

The traveler’s community is an incredible one that values sharing and reciprocation.

There are a lot of incredible websites out there that connect people to share meals, rides, accommodations and more to cut costs!

Take advantage of this to not only save money, but meet awesome new people.

Further reading: The ultimate list of sharing economy services for travel

77. Don’t spend money on maps – rely on offline maps for your phone instead

Google Maps has free ‘save for offline’ options and I’m also a big fan of Maps.me, a free app that lets you download maps of locations all around the world.

Super handy for me because I get lost so often!

Girl in Moroccan market next to a shoe stand

78. Catch public transit, rather than using taxis

This is a better way to immerse yourself in local culture as well.

79. Better yet, walk when you’re able

Walking is 100% my favourite way to explore a new place, plus you’re able to get off the beaten path and wander wherever your heart fancies, which is pretty wonderful.

I mean my blog is called “Happy to Wander” for a reason!

80. Look into ridesharing

Sites like Kangaride (Canada & US), BlaBaCar (Europe, India, South America) and HitchPlanet allow you to carpool to different locations and split the cost of gas.

This is usually cheaper than buses or trains, and you can meet new people along the way.

Friends sitting in a car together and laughing
Photo by Jorge Saavedra on Unsplash

81. Give night buses/trains a try

Night buses or trains are definitely one of the cheapest ways to travel around Europe (and beyond).

Sure it’s not super comfortable, but you save on a night of accommodations and the fares themselves are often cheaper.

I’ve tried a handful in the past via Flixbus, and while I’ve definitely had better nights sleep, the money saved was worth it at the time.

82. Don’t get duped by exchange places

Exchanging your money to the local currency usually comes at a cost, but if you don’t do your research, you could get duped by unfavourable rates or even high commission costs.

ATMs and credit cards are usually a safer bet than using the currency exchange bureaus you see at the airport or in touristy areas, but it helps to research exchange rates and everything before you go, just so you have an idea of how much to expect.

Neon currency exchange sign
Photo by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash

83. Become a free WiFi jedi

Roaming charges and data plans – eugh! Avoid them by mastering the art of finding free WiFi.

Places like Starbucks and McDonalds are quite consistent for this purpose, and most major cities now have hotspots at main tourist locations. Do a little research before you head out, and you’ll be fine.

84. Cook for yourself

The beauty of staying at a hostel or AirBNB with a kitchen is that you’re not forced to eat all your meals out. 

Go grocery shopping and pack sandwiches for lunch, or make a cozy dinner at home. It’s all about balance!

Haggis Hostels kitchen
Awesome kitchen facilities at Haggis Hotels, Edinburgh

85. Picnic!

One of my favourite ways to experience a city is through picnicking.

Grab some goods from a market or grocery store, find a beautiful spot to sit and enjoy your cheap meal while taking in splendid views.

86. If tap water is drinkable, forgo bottled water

Buying water bottles constantly adds up, even if they’re only 1 or 2 dollars.

When tap water is drinkable, bring your own bottle and refill it on your own!

This is not just more cost-effective, it’s also great for the environment too.

Water bottle being held in front of a view
Photo by Alex Azabache on Unsplash

87. Get food from markets

I love exploring food markets, and you can easily grab a lunch or snack here for way cheaper than a restaurant.

Fruit cup in a fresh food market

88. Avoid tourist traps

Tourist traps are unfortunately quite ubiquitous in more touristic locales.

Do your research beforehand so that you know which attractions and restaurants are worth your money.

89. Chat with locals about good places to grab a cheap bite

Nobody will know good/cheap places to eat better than a local. Strike up a conversation and ask for cost-effective eats in the area.

90. Book a place that offers free breakfast

If you use hotel aggregates like Booking.com, you can even sort properties based on whether or not they offer free breakfast.

Croissant and smoked salmon breakfast

91. Save some leftovers for the next day, rather than stuffing yourself

Yay, (free-ish) lunch!

92. Split costs with friends

One of the most basic backpacker lunches is to grab a big loaf of bread, a packet of salami and a hunk of cheese, then split it between a group of friends.

This is guaranteed to be one of the cheapest yet most satisfying meals you’ll ever have,

93. Do your own research rather than relying on guidebooks

Guidebooks can be helpful, but these days most of that information is available for free online.

Plus, when you start doing your own independent research, you’re more likely to find hidden gems and places more off the beaten path.

Check out my guide on how to find cool places near you for more.

Laptop and coffee on a table in a cafe
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

94. Do plenty of research on free activities wherever you’re visiting

There’s usually a lot of cool, free activities to take advantage of in any given city.

Be sure to give ‘free things to do + destination’ a Google and see what you find.

95. Look for coupon codes

If you’re buying anything online (E.g. tickets, admissions, flights), it never hurts to hunt online for coupon codes. It takes two seconds to Google it, and then it’s instant savings.

96. Always ask if there’s discounts

There’s usually discounts for students and various other groups, even when they’re not listed.

At the city walls in Dubrovnik, a friend of mine literally paid a quarter of the full price because he had a student card (and this discount wasn’t listed anywhere on site!)

View of Dubrovnik from the city walls

97. Look into tourist cards

Most major tourist destinations will have tourist cards (e.g. the iAmsterdam Card) which allow you to visit their main attractions for the fixed price of one card.

Typically, they’ll have different cards set for time periods like 24h, 48h, 72hr, etc. and for the price of that card, you get free/discounted admissions to attractions, plus other perks like transportation.

If you’re a heavy sightseer and are strategic about how you use your card, this could save you tons of money.

Amsterdam card being held up over a canal

98. Hitting up museums? Research free days

Most major museums will have days of the week or month when entrance is free. Google these free days for your next destination and save on admission fees.

99. Choose a good bank that won’t charge you for bank withdrawals

I will never forget the day that I finally decided to read over my past few months of bank statements in Germany, only to realize that my bank had been charging me 6 EUROS for each withdrawal outside of the country.

At that point, I had travelled quite a bit with it and so had accrued an angering amount of charges for legitimately nothing except accessing my own money.

Don’t make my mistake – find a bank that doesn’t charge for withdrawals or something more acceptable than what I was paying.

Floral displays in Bath

I hope you enjoyed this guide on how to save money fo travel!

So there you have it, my saving superstars. Your dream trip is within reach, I promise! Just make these small changes to your life and you’ll be crushing those saving goals in no time.

Now over to you ! Let me know in the comments if I’ve missed any of your favourite money-saving tips! 


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47 thoughts on “How to Save Money for Travel: 99 Actionable Tips and Strategies”

  1. Now that is one massive list! Damn..reading it alone makes me feel like i saved a lot. πŸ˜€

    but actually i am such a bad saver. I could tell you 5 ways to save like 2k each year, easily. but i am just too lazy, believe it or not!
    Guess saving is an artt and i feel like my strong point is rather earning it πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • Haha yes I might have gone a little overboard, but hey I figured when it comes to money-saving tips, the more the better!! πŸ™‚ And geez I definitely want to learn how to save 2k a year… that’s two roundtrip flights right there! You gotta let me in on your secret!

      Reply
  2. These are all really great tips! I found that avoid ‘boozy’ nights helped heaps. I means some nights it’s easy to spend $100-$200 going out. But cutting that down, it really helped with my travel budget. Plus I did a huge spring clean and sold heaps of stuff, made close to a $1k just selling stuff… like dresses on eBay, cookbooks, and other random things. There are also a lot of places now that offer free walking tours, which I have found has been a great way to explore a new destination.

    Reply
    • oh goodness I know! Nights out absolutely wreck one’s budget, but from time to time I’ll allow them πŸ˜‰ So awesome that you were able to make so much by selling your old stuff. I’m a bit of a pack rat and so I’m still working on that one, but maybe this Spring, I’ll do a big clean! And yes free walking tours are my favourite. It’s so nice to actually learn about a place’s history and culture for a bit rather than just aimlessly sightseeing.

      Reply
  3. Awesome lIst! Many of these tips are great for saving money regardless whether you’re saving to travel or not. I did many of these before my one year trip. Thanks for putting this together!

    Reply
  4. That’s quite possibly the most comprehensive list I have ever seen! Some fantastic tips here. I can’t say I practise them all but I have ticked off a few. I love budget airlines and almost always use them unless I use points to fly for free which is even better

    Reply
    • Thanks for the kind words!! Ah I still haven’t gotten into the collecting/redeeming points thing (which is bad, I know I should!) but that’s definitely on my to-do for the coming year.

      Reply
  5. Hi Christina – wow what an informative post! And I’m so glad you find my site useful! I’ll definitely be sharing this article – you’ve listed so much incredible info for future travellers! I may even be using a few tips myself…! Katie x

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  6. Love the tips.It actually feels good to save money by altering some daily activities, and then using the saved money for travelling and exploring.The feeling is totally amazing.

    Reply
  7. Wow what thorough list Christina! I all with you on the saving change for a vacation!! I did that for a year saving my loose change and I ended up having over 300$! I didn’t end up going to vacay like vegas tho, it was quite hard to find places to spend so many coins at lol.

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    • Isn’t that the best feeling ever though, when it all adds up?? haha I guess the change can be repurposed into a coffee fund.

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  8. Wow Christine, superb post! I will be digging into this more deeply and reading all the links to! I just found your blog last week and subscribed. Amazing tips and blog!

    Valerie
    Fashion and tRavel

    Reply
  9. These are such great tips, thank you for sharing! Saving definitely takes a lot of sacrifice and dedication but it’s so worth it in the end. I don’t have fancy things or eat great food but it’s all worth it when I am traveling somewhere and enjoying a getaway!

    Reply
    • I totally feel the same way! I guess we all have different priorities, but as long as we’re mindful of what’s important to us, then we can work towards achieving our goals πŸ™‚

      Reply
    • Yeah I completely forgot about Swagbucks until recently and now I can’t wait to get back on it and score some free gift cards haha. Thanks for the comment, Katie!

      Reply
  10. Thanks for all of the tips. When you plan for a trip in advance and use some of these tips it makes the trip less complicated and doable.

    Reply
  11. I start by thanking you for all these awesome tips on money saving.
    Reading the ways to saving money for a dream holiday showed me that I can use the same strategy to save money for many other useful projects.

    Reply
  12. The winter is pretty close to us in the Northern hemisphere, so it is time to save some money for the winter holiday.
    I plan to use at least one of the tips provided by you (cutting down on utilities use) because I need around $1,000 to go skiing after the New Year.

    Reply
  13. Really great article regarding their content. It definitely help people to find the best for themselves. Hoping to continue writing these type of content. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

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