Already dreaming about all the traveling you could be doing in 2021 and beyond? Make it possible with some simple ways to save money for travel that you can start doing now! If you can, this is a great time to be saving money, since there’s not as many places to go out to: you can easily cut back by not being able to go out to eat as much, or grab drinks on Friday nights, go to an indoor gym and so on. 

1. Create a budget—and a goal.

An easy first step is to first figure out exactly how much you’ll need to save for your trip. Spoiler alert: it’s probably less than you think! There’s tons of places around the world where you can travel easily on a budget. Factor in the cost of flights, hostels/hotels/other accommodations, trains or rental cars and a general food and fun budget. Once you have your goal in mind, it’s time to get saving!

2. Set up automatic savings. 

how to save money for travel

Set up a separate savings account just for your travel fund—and don’t take any money out of it once you’ve put some in! Having a separate account or fund where you save money just for travel can help a lot. Once you have an account set up, set up an automatic transfer that puts a certain amount of savings into the travel fund every week or month. Even if it’s just $10 a week, that will add up over the time! 

3. Narrow down your subscriptions.

One of the easiest ways to save money is to start by cutting out any subscriptions or recurring expenses that you can do without. You might try cutting a few subscriptions (i.e. getting rid of Hulu and HBO and keeping only Netflix) or making a swap to save money. For example, swap out buying water and drinks while you’re out for bringing your own water bottle with you. ⁠Have a gym membership? Cut it for a few months and work out outside instead. 

4. Eat out less frequently. 

Try cutting back on the number of times you eat out every month. As hard as it may be, eating out, going out on Friday nights, brunch on Sunday mornings, etc. all really add up after a while! Not being able to go out during lockdown has pretty much been the worst, but it’s a great time to start saving the money you would have used to go out and put it towards some cheap flights for the future.

5. Make #stayathome work for your wallet. 

The long lockdowns have been tiring, but you can definitely use them to help you save money for future adventures! If you usually get coffee every morning on your way out, now’s the time to invest in a coffee maker to make coffee at home instead of getting Starbucks. Learn how to cook some budget-friendly meals so you can save on food costs. See if you can bike to some nearby places instead of driving. Figure out how much money you would have spent on Friday nights out, movie tickets and similar activities and put that money into your travel fund now while those activities aren’t on the calendar. 

6. Curb impulse buys. 

We know we’re not the only ones doing a lot of online shopping during the lockdown. And while online shopping can be super fun (and necessary!), curbing impulse buys can help you save a lot for traveling down the road. Before you purchase something, try to ask yourself if you really need it. Will you still want it in a few weeks? Is there something you already have that you could use instead? If you’re sure you want it, give yourself a day or two before hitting that purchase button to make sure that it’s not something you’ll forget about in a few hours. 

7. Start a side-hustle.

how to save money for travel

Sometimes it’s difficult to cut back on expenses, especially if you’re already on a very limited budget. In that case, if you have time, a side hustle is a great way to earn some extra money for your travel fund. There are plenty of things to try. Some options that work well right now: online tutoring, remote freelancing, dog-walking or delivering for Uber Eats. ⁠

8. Sell things you don’t use anymore 

Need to do some spring (or summer) cleaning and want to make some cash too? Do some cleaning and sell whatever you find that you’re not going to be using anymore. Got a ton of old clothes you don’t wear? Sell them on Poshmark! Old stuff in the attic? Try Ebay, a garage sale, or local For Sale boards on Facebook or Craigslist to make a bit of cash. ⁠Facebook Marketplace is a great place to sell things locally as well. You can sell pretty much anything from clothes to books to furniture and appliances or really anything! 

Trying to keep your vacay costs down too? Check out our essential guide to finding cheap flights as a student.