Top 9 Tips to Save Money for Your Big Adventure
The sad truth is while travelling is one of the most enriching things we can do, it isn’t cheap. Saving money can be difficult at the best of times, but with the end goal of the trip of a lifetime in sight, you might be motivated to start. Here are some useful tips on how to save money for the career break of your dreams without breaking your spirits in the process!
1. Start early
It’s often good advice to book things early for peace of mind, but it’s best to start planning your whole trip as soon as possible. You’ll get cheaper flights and accommodation, better deals on seasonal clothes at different times of year and a headstart on saving for what you can’t afford right away.
2. Budget your money
Be honest with yourself about what you can afford – while seeing the world is a priceless experience, the expenses can really add up. If you’re daunted, take some time to figure out how much you can afford to set aside each payday and how much that would get you by the time you’d like to leave, and go from there!
3. Be flexible and open minded
It’s important to remember that some of the biggest tourist destinations can get very pricey. For the cost of one week in a capital city, you could hop from rural town to town and immerse yourself in the culture for just a fraction of the price. It’s not only cheaper but a more authentic experience – you may not be as familiar with the places, but what’s adventure without exploration!
4. Buddy up
If you get a group together, pooling together expenses can make a huge difference. On top of collectively saving what you can from wages, someone’s Christmas money from Grandma or tax refund could mean you get lucky enough to reach your target even quicker. While we may dream of being an untethered lone backpacker, there’s something just as magical about seeing the world with good friends.
5. Deposits, instalments, grants and loans
You often won’t need to pay for everything upfront – most accommodation requires a deposit before the full payment, which buys you some time to save the rest (within reason, don’t make commitments you can’t keep!) before it’s due. There are usually options to pay things in instalments rather than a lump sum too.
Your school or university may offer travel or volunteer grants, or you may even be able to get one through government funding. This could really help you out – just ask your careers advisor if there’s anything you can take advantage of!
Finally, a loan should be seen as a last resort – expensive interest rates and the risk of debt are not worth any trip. However, if you are lucky enough to have friends or family who are in the place to lend you money, it may help you if deadlines are tight and there’s an unexpected shortfall.
There may be paid work you can do while you’re out there if you’re planning to stay a while. Between visas and Brexit, and depending on your destination, this can often take a vast amount of preparation – but it’s something worth looking into for longer trips. There may also be cash-in-hand work available if you ask around and aren’t unwilling to get your hands dirty!
Time spent looking after yourself is never wasted, but some sacrifices may need to be made without losing out on too much fun – local parks or your own garden instead of a beer garden, streaming parties with “BYOS” (bring your own snacks) instead of the cinema, and museums and libraries are usually very cheap, if not completely free. There’s a lot of fun to be had with homemade facemasks, charity shopping for clothes and lending and borrowing things from friends, and may give you a bit of extra spending money while you travel.
It’s important to research for any unexpected fees or expenses, but it can be just as much of a bummer finding out that the £20 ferry you didn’t know existed gets you there faster than the £100 flight you shelled out for. Talk to people who’ve made the same or similar trips and get all the advice you can, as well as searching forums and Reddit for any insider tips. You’d be surprised about where you can save!
9. Don't rush it
Saving money takes time. you won’t help yourself in the long run by setting aside too much too fast and stretching your weekly budget too thin, or overcommitting to deposits for trips you won’t be able to afford in time – this can also mean late fees or money you won’t get back for a trip you can’t go on. You have all the time in the world to get out and explore, so there’s no use rushing – it’ll be worth the wait!