save money for travel, vacation funds, travel budget

How to Realistically Save Money for a Travel Fund

save money for travel, vacation funds, travel budget

Tips For Saving Extra Cash so You Can Travel More!

Looking for ways to save money for travel without having to change your whole budget? 

Believe it or not, it is possible to save money specifically for your traveling desires without having to change the way you live. 

* This post may contain affiliate links, you can view my disclosure policy here.

How I Save Money for Traveling

There are a million different tips out there to help you pay off debt and save money. But if one more person tells me I can save thousands of dollars by not buying Starbucks or by cutting my cable… I’m going to scream

First of all, I only drink like one Starbucks coffee a month. So that won’t help. Second, I’m not giving up something I use every single day to be able to go on a vacation once or twice a year. Sorry, but Mama needs her HGTV!

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not very good at cutting back. I say I’m going to, but then Nordstrom has their annual sale, or I go to Target (always a killer). The truth is, I want to travel. But I also want to enjoy my daily life. I have luckily found a way to do both. 

These simple tips are the perfect way you can save money for travel, without having to change your lifestyle!

save money for travel, vacation funds, travel budget

How to Save Money for Travel

Let me show you the exact way I save money for travel. These super simple tricks allow our family to take 2 big vacations a year, and a few smaller ones too. 

1 – Create a Dedicated Savings Account for Travel

If you’ve read my tips on the 6 Bank Accounts Every Adult Should Have, then you can see that I have a savings account set up specifically for travel expenses. I do this so that money goes directly in there and is not touched until it’s time to book a trip. 

By separating my different savings accounts, I can pay for an emergency without having to wipe out my travel plans. Because things in life will ALWAYS come up. So each paycheck I get, my total amount for saving gets split into a few different accounts, one of them being for travel. 

2 – Start a Travel Cash Fund

My travel savings account is where the bulk of my vacation budget is. But I also have a small purse that I keep cash in for traveling too. Every other week or so, when I go to the cash machine, I take out an extra $20 and put that cash in my travel purse… tucked away in a secret spot in my house. Or at the grocery store, or Target.

Anywere I can do cash over, I take out $10-$20 extra cash. You never really notice that small amount being taken out at a time. But over several months or even a year, it really adds up.

By the time a big vacation rolls around, I usually have several hundred dollars saved up and this ends up being my spending money during trips. When we recently went to Maui, I had over $550 cash in that little purse. Which was more than enough for souvenirs and meals!

 3 – Give Yourself a Bonus (a TAX Bonus!)

Most financial experts might tell you to not let the government take out too many taxes. That even if you get that money back at tax time, you’re essentially giving the government a tax free loan. 

But some of us (raising hand) have a hard time saving big chunks of money. So I have a good amount taken out of my paycheck to ensure I get a nice fat tax return at the end of the year. And every year when February rolls around, I gladly file my taxes and get enough back to fund the bulk of my travel for the rest of the year. 

I’ll never notice a few extra dollars coming out of my check each week. But I sure as heck notice that big tax return each spring! To me, it’s like getting a yearly bonus that goes straight to my travel budget. 

4 – Get a Side job or Work Overtime

My job allows me to pick up extra hours to earn extra money. So a lot of times, if I know I’m going on a vacation, I’ll work a few extra shifts to earn some extra money that I can put aside for the vacation. 

Yeah it sucks to work more than you already do now. But working extra shifts, or even getting a part time job, will allow you to take those dream vacations without having to sacrifice elsewhere in your life. 

Airline miles credit card, saving money for vacation

5 – Make Good Use of Your Credit Cards

I am a big fan of Southwest Airline because you can save a lot of money by not having to pay luggage fees. But they also have a really great credit card that helps you rack up points to pay for airfare. 

I use my Southwest Card for all groceries, gas, gifts, etc. But I always make sure to pay it off each month! So I never pay any interest, but I accumulate airline miles left and right. I usually have enough points for several round trip tickets in the US. And when your airfare is free, travel is a lot more affordable!

6 – Try a Savings Challenge

Sometimes you might need a push to start saving money for travel. Or maybe you just need some accountability. Try looking up a Savings Challenge where you put aside a set amount each week of the year.

Or work backwards. Figure out how much you want to save for travel, and break it up into the number of weeks you have before your trip. 

7 – Try a Spending Challenge

One travel blogger I know said she is on a no-spend year. Meaning, she took a vow to spend NO MONEY besides basics for an entire year. Now, I would have a hard time doing that. But I do have a modified version that works too. 

When you see something you really want (clothing, electronics, home décor) ask yourself if you REALLY need it and if you can potentially say no. Then take the value of that item, and put it into your travel savings account. 

So if you go to Nordstrom and you see a romper that you just absolutely love so much and have to have… say no! Then take the price of that romper (let’s say $50) and put that $50 into savings instead. 

8 – Assess What’s Really Important

Sometimes, it just takes a little reflection to really know what’s important in your life. If traveling is important, then make it a priority. We are tempted all the time with dinners out with friends, or a new home remodeling project. But the truth is, we don’t NEED those things.

You just have to ask yourself… is the price of new flooring or a new couch worth it… or can you sacrifice an updated home or new wardrobe, in order to travel more?

save money for travel, vacation funds, travel budget

9 – Give Travel as Gifts

As a way to save money for travel, we started giving vacations to each other instead of items. So one year, our kids got to pick two excursions for our Caribbean Cruise as their Christmas Gifts.

This year, my daughter got a weekend trip to Universal Studios instead of a birthday party. Give experiences instead of gifts, and you’ll be able to throw all that money saved on new toys towards your next vacation

10 – Sell Your Stuff

I want to start off by saying, this it not the typical way I save money for a vacation. BUT… it does work for several people. And we recently had our kids start doing this. 

Once a year in early spring, we have the kids go through their closets and get rid of anything they don’t want anymore. They have a garage sale and with the money they earn, they can use as their own spending money for our trips. 

So they are motivated to get rid of as much as they can to make money to use on our vacations. Meanwhile, Mom gets clean rooms at home and doesn’t have to spend as much of her own money on vacation. Win-win! 

Can You Save Money for Traveling?

You truly don’t need to live an extremely frugal lifestyle to be able to afford traveling. And you definitely don’t need to be a millionaire to vacation often! If you can find simple and easy ways to save money throughout the year, you will always have enough to spend on that bucket list trip you’ve been wanting! 

If you want to save even more money for your future adventures, and you don’t mind cutting back a bit… here are 15 Things You Can Easily Cut From Your Budget to Save Money.

Good luck and happy travels!

Do you have any money saving tips for traveling? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

Don’t forget to connect with me on PINTEREST for more travel planning tips!

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  1. Hi Jenny, I like your blog a lot and I will surely apply your tips for myself so that I can raise my fund for traveling. Thanks a lot for the best tips and great blog.

  2. Hi Jenny, I just love this blog very much, I am going on a trip next month, so I will definitely apply these tips so that I can save some funds while traveling. I will also share this with my friends and family. I would like to thank you for sharing this blog with all of us. Keep up the good work.

  3. A valuable post. My husband and I run a diving center in Cyprus. We want to offer something more than diving to our existing customers. Anyone have any ideas? It can’t be coffee.

  4. Great article! Saving for anything can be tough, but these are great tips to help. Thanks.

  5. I found buying lunch or during the workweek was really adding up, so I have tried to make extra servings for supper or on weekends that I can put right in a container for my lunches during the week and that has saved me a lot of money. It is usually a much healthier option than take-out as well!

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