How to Save Money for Travel

It really f*cking annoys me when people ask me how I can afford to travel. I could ask them how they can afford to buy new clothes all the time, or own a nice car, or to sniff a few grams every weekend. I could tell them to mind their own business, but I decided to write this blog post instead.

Maybe you’re dying to see the world, but don’t know how to look after your finances. Maybe you’re trapped in a hellish cycle of being skint, getting paid, being your hometown’s biggest baller for a weekend then going back to sitting in front of the TV every night because living vicariously is all you can afford.

Cos um, yeah. Plane tickets are expensive when Daddy won’t pay.

How to save money for travel

save money for travel

My blog is all about valuing experiences over possessions; living frugally so you can spend on the things that really matter. How can you save enough money to escape from your monotonous life and live for a while?

Follow these rules and see how you can afford to travel too.

How to save money for travel


Making travel your number one priority is vital if you want to build the willpower to save enough for your dream trip. Next time you feel like you need to spend £100 on a new pair of shoes, think about what that money could buy you in Cambodia – ten nights of accommodation and food. It’s about making choices and yes, sacrifices. I’m not gonna lie. It might be your social life (nobody in the pub actually cares if you’re there or not), it might be a relationship or a job. I gave up my graduate job for travel, and you know what? Everything was okay. I had three unforgettable months in New York, and then got a better job with higher pay. Guess what I bought with my first paycheck? Tickets to Borneo and Bali.

Prioritising travel also led to taking a job in Dubai, where I managed to visit most of the cities on my travel bucket list in the space of a year. How did I pay for it? I took a horrible, cheap (by Dubai standards) room, and saved the extra cash for trips.


minimise your cost of living and travel


Take a long hard look at your outgoings. Where can you make cuts to fund yourself into a new life that features foreign lands and sunsets instead of your cubicle at work? Be honest with yourself about where your money is going. How much are you wasting on impulse purchases? That ridiculously priced, rarely used gym membership can be cancelled. The world is your gym.

I save money where I can by bringing my own lunch to work, avoiding coffee shops and swerving the high street in general unless absolutely necessary. Know your vices.
Sell your stuff, travel the world


Sell your sh*t. Minimalism is so hot right now. Sell your books, clothes and other belongings on ebay. The aim is to fit all of your worldly possessions in one backpack and make some money off the stuff you’ll leave behind. Selling your stuff will make you feel you’re really taking steps towards that adventure and will help to keep you focused on the end goal. Getting rid of your baggage might also stop you splurging on more items, because you start to assess whether you really need that widescreen TV when you’ll be leaving it behind for a better view.


Create a travel budget


Stop being afraid to look at your bank balance and take control of your finances. Subtract all of your ‘big’ costs like rent, bills, credit card repayments etc from your monthly income. Then work out how much you can afford to put in your travel fund each month, and set up a direct debit so you aren’t tempted to blow those extra pounds in your account on lunch. That money is going towards making your life 1000 times better. Can you say the same for the Starbucks frappe you’re eyeing up?


how to save money for travel

Hear me out. If the option is there, moving back into your childhood home for a period before you go travelling is the easiest way to save money. What most ‘world nomads’ don’t share on Instagram is that they had the privilege of rent-free living back home before they set off on their wild adventure. They might look like barefoot hippies who can survive off sunlight and good times, but more often than not there’s a generous parent funding their travels or at the very least, providing a place to crash while they saved. I’ve never actually done this yet, but would definitely consider it.

A less entitled way to take advantage of the fact your parents love you is to come to an agreement – pay them a much lower rent than you’re currently paying, and help with the chores. Sharing a room with a friend is another option.


Stop partying travel instead


How good is your local club, really? Does it compare to the infamous Full Moon Party in Thailand, or dancing on the deck of a catamaran as the sun sets over Australia’s Whitsunday Islands? Can it give you the same buzz as that first glimpse of Angkor Wat? Probably not, but you’ll never know if you keep blowing your money on one-wear dresses and drinks that end up on the floor. This goes back to my first point; that if you want to afford travelling, you have to sort out your priorities. I’m not saying you should become a recluse, because travel planning shouldn’t make your life miserable. Just wise up.

What’s your top tip for saving money for travel? Do you have an alternative way to save? Let me know about it in the comments!

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  1. June 15, 2015 / 7:02 am

    Yes to all of this! I’ve spent the last 3 years with people making incorrect assumptions about how I’ve afforded to travel, so I can completely relate!

    • Dannielle Lily
      June 15, 2015 / 10:42 am

      It’s so frustrating! I think people just get caught up in trying to buy things that indicate success in society’s eyes..

      Thanks for commenting Kate, I love your blog! x

  2. Eve
    June 15, 2015 / 10:33 am

    I totally agree with this!
    For me, I work in order to go away, have fun & experience different things. Otherwise what is the point in earning money? Yes, we can all buy nice things (e.g clothes) but making memories is so much more important.

    Great post!
    Eve xo

    • Dannielle Lily
      June 15, 2015 / 10:40 am

      Me too Eve! I get that some people can unfortunately only afford to get by, but if you can afford to waste money on clothes etc, you can afford to see the world!

      Thanks for your comment! Will check out your blog now.

      Dannielle x

  3. June 15, 2015 / 2:44 pm

    Love this – actually made me laugh out loud at points, great post. It really isn’t as difficult to save money as everyone makes it out to be. People that don’t understand how it’s possible obviously don’t have the severe case of itchy feet that we do! Looking forward to reading more about your adventures 🙂


    • Dannielle Lily
      June 15, 2015 / 2:49 pm

      Thanks Gabby! Yeah I just think it’s all down to priorities – if you actually DO want to travel, you’ll make it happen.

      Just discovered your blog this morning and I love it!

      D x

  4. June 15, 2015 / 8:26 pm

    Great Tips Danielle!
    I totally agree with you, people usually complain about not having money to travel, but actually they just don’t know how to save and how to spend money. Has been one year that my husband and I became a full-time traveller, and we kicked off our journey with the money we got selling all our stuff. I did a huge garage sale and paid for our flight tickets, travel insurance and a new camera… You just need to be smart and step up! 😀

    • Dannielle Lily
      June 16, 2015 / 9:26 am

      That’s one successful garage sale Natalie, well done! In the UK we have ‘car boot sales’ – loading up the car with all our junk and selling them in school car parks. I did one before my trip to NZ and Australia and that was my drinking money 🙂

  5. June 16, 2015 / 10:06 am

    Great post, we wrote something about saving a little while back as that is where we are right now. Rented the house out and moved back home for a while, sold a load of stuff and making our dream come true with perseverance and determination!

    • Dannielle Lily
      June 16, 2015 / 11:22 am

      I’m in ‘saving mode’ too Nic 🙂 Happy planning!

  6. June 16, 2015 / 11:03 am

    This is definitely it! I love my stuff, but last year I sold whatever I could find at home to make room to travel!

    • Dannielle Lily
      June 16, 2015 / 11:22 am

      Yay! Where are you off to Julia?

  7. Fragments of the World
    June 16, 2015 / 5:33 pm

    Great post! So many people think I must be rolling in the dough when really I just limit my expenses when it comes to going out and I barely ever go shopping for clothes and shoes (end when I do it’s not to high end places). Priorities are everything!

  8. Marta Grilo
    June 16, 2015 / 10:19 pm

    Completely agree with that. But gotta be honest with you. Reading this tips it’s always a good reminder specially for consumer people like me haha.

    • Dannielle Lily
      June 17, 2015 / 9:14 am

      Haha thank you Marta!

  9. June 17, 2015 / 1:27 am

    Great advice! I like the tip on prioritizing. Sometimes long term travel is even cheaper than staying at home, paying rent, bills, and eating out. It’s just a matter of perspective.

    • Dannielle Lily
      June 17, 2015 / 9:14 am

      It definitely is all about perspective Tracie. If you travel in South East Asia or another cheap region, I’d say it can be cheaper that ‘normal’ life!

      Thanks for your comment 🙂

  10. June 17, 2015 / 3:35 am

    Another great, common sense post to continue the trend in Travel Blogged this week.

    It is indeed all about priorities!

    • Dannielle Lily
      June 17, 2015 / 9:12 am

      Thanks Chris! One thing I don’t credit myself with is common sense haha 🙂

  11. June 17, 2015 / 1:21 pm

    Yep! Great tips there. We prioritise our spends (which means eating out a little less in our over-priced, but terrible quality restaurants in our own city)

  12. June 17, 2015 / 1:32 pm

    I look at every purchase as … would this money be better in the travel fund? Where there is a will, there is a way! Great post.
    Natalie, The Educational Tourist

    • Dannielle Lily
      June 17, 2015 / 1:59 pm

      That’s the right mindset Natalie! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  13. June 17, 2015 / 2:45 pm

    No matter what you do, there will always be people who think you’re rich (or something) because you travel frequently or full time. It’s so outside their “normal” that they cannot comprehend. Let them think what they will. We’ve found trying to convert someone who is intent on boxing themselves in is energy misspent. It can be frustrating, but the best thing you can do is just move on.

  14. June 17, 2015 / 3:50 pm

    Absolutely awesome insight. We choose how to spend our money. You can invest in things or experiences, and if you choose overseas experiences you can live for months like a king or queen in places like SE Asia by forgoing the purchase of expensive stuff in the West.


  15. June 18, 2015 / 10:47 am

    Oh yes. I rather travel than drive a fancy car. If I would earn more money I’ll still spend every cent on travel. Experiences are much more worth for me than things, though I know of many people who see it different. But they shouldn’t complain then.
    I love the honest way you write!

    • Dannielle Lily
      June 18, 2015 / 10:55 am

      Thank you Barbara, what a lovely thing to say! I agree, give me a plane ticket over a car any day!

  16. June 18, 2015 / 11:15 am

    Loved this, great insight.

    I love the misconception that if you travel it’s because you’re rich. All it takes is to use your brain for a few minutes and several creative ideas to afford money to travel will surely pop up.
    It’s a game changer to be able to live in parent’s house for a while and absolutely no shame on it. Oh and it helps not to party like crazy every single weekend.

    More and more I choose very wisely where I spend my money and for sure booze is not on my priorities.

    • Dannielle Lily
      June 18, 2015 / 11:51 am

      Yes Bruno! I’d rather drink Chang while watching the sun set in Thailand than drink a pint in my local! Thanks for your comment.

  17. June 18, 2015 / 4:26 pm

    Awesome tips Dannielle. Everyone can travel, as long as they make it their priority and stop wasting money on all the other things they don’t need.

    • Dannielle Lily
      June 18, 2015 / 4:35 pm

      Thanks Ben, really like your blog. You’re so right – it’s all down to priorities.

  18. June 19, 2015 / 5:15 pm

    These are all so true. I’ve dug myself $9000 out of debt and have been building my savings for an around the world trip doing most of these (I couldn’t move home without killing my parents so I still live on my own!!). It’s not as hard as it seems. Did I also happen to mention I saved up this money while living in downtown Manhattan! One of the world’s most expensive cities!!! If I can do it here, anyone can do it 🙂

    • Dannielle Lily
      June 19, 2015 / 7:07 pm

      That’s seriously impressive, Kristen! Tell me your secrets haha, I could only afford Queens when I lived in NYC! Well done, and happy travels 🙂

  19. Angela
    June 22, 2015 / 9:57 pm

    Great tips, I’m saving for a big trip to Miami/Orlando/Bahamas! Super excited and starting to budget 4 months ahead of time.

    Would love if you check out my blog! Just followed you on twitter and instagram 🙂
    Raincouver Beauty

  20. June 28, 2015 / 12:35 am

    Spot on… It’s all about getting back to basics to have the experiences we want. We have set savings goals for travel and extra mortgage repayments by the end of this year for our next big Europe trip. Easy done when the goals are set.

  21. July 15, 2015 / 5:29 pm

    I know that I’ve found a kindred spirit when I see a curse word in the first sentence. LOL I love this article. People whine about not having money and then go dine at ridiculous snobby restaurants, or get stupidly expensive bags, or waste it on other unnecessary things they THINK they need! Thanks for the refreshing reminder!

    • Dannielle Lily
      July 16, 2015 / 9:05 am

      Haha, I’m so with you Bobbi. Sort out your priorities and stop moaning about things you can change!

  22. January 17, 2016 / 5:12 am

    Really engaging post that I can relate! Glad I chanced upon this!