I’m going into my final year of university, and a question I get all the time is “How do you afford to travel so much?!” The quick answer is that I budget and save and don’t spend money when I don’t need to! Sure that might be an easy answer, but it’s true. I hate spending money. It stresses me out really. I’ve gotten to the point where spending money on things I don’t need physically bothers me. After buying a 15 euro plane ticket from Belgium to Rome, I could never look at spending money the same way. A new sweater looked less appealing knowing I could use that money for a plane ticket. I know I’m a little (okay very) ridiculous, but traveling is one of my passions. You’ll find very quickly that you can create time and money for the things that are most important to you. I choose to spend my money on travel, and here are my tips for saving money for your next adventure:
1. Get a Part Time Job
Balancing your classes, extracurriculars, social life, and sleep schedule is enough to keep anyone busy 24/7, and I completely understand how daunting adding a 20 hr work week to your schedule sounds. However, it’s completely doable! You just need to prioritize. I believe that if something is truly important to you, you’ll make it work. It might mean an hour two less of sleep, or staying in on a Friday night to finish your paper, BUT you’ll be well on your way saving extra money for your next big adventure.
2. Meal Prep
Grocery bills add up, and if you’re a snacker like me, you’re constantly grabbing something to munch on throughout the day. I started meal prepping to make sure I was eating a relatively healthy diet amidst my busy schedule (tbh I also had nasty roommates one summer and wanted to avoid being in the kitchen as much as possible while staying healthy). It was so much quicker and easier to grab pizza on the go, or pick up food on the way home from class or work. Now, I spend one hour nearly every Sunday meal prepping. This way, I avoid food waste by only buying the food I know I need for my recipes. I’ve managed to keep my grocery bill to around $25 a week on average.
3. Cut back on buying drinks (caffeine and alcohol)
We’ve all read the article about how nixing your coffee/caffeine addiction will save you over a thousand dollars a year. Cool. Great. Easier said than done. Well there’s a lot of truth behind that. Those $3.50 lattes add up. If you can’t cut them out, make them at home. It’s cheaper!
This also applies to alcohol (if you’re 21 😉…my mom’s reading this). Going out is expensive!!!! Especially if you live in the city. Lyfts, cover fees, cocktails… it adds up quickly! I’m not saying to never go out, but before you buy that next drink from your local bar, I’m just letting you know that mulled wine will taste wayyyy better in Munich. Just sayin’…
Three coffees at $3.50 = $10.50
One night out with two Lyft rides ($20) and two cocktails ($24) adds up to over $50 a week. That’s good travel money.
4. Book in Advance
Spontaneity is fun, but nothing is as fun as boarding an international flight for under $500…trust me. If you go to Google flights right now and look up round trip flights for 8 months from now, I think you’ll be baffled by the price. Book now if your interest is peaked. I guarantee those prices will rise.
5. Be flexible with your destination
The traveling trifecta: Price, Destination, and Dates. You’re gonna need to be flexible on at least one of these (and by your interest in this post, I’m thinking Price is your main concern). The more flexibility on all three you have, the cheaper your travels can be. Don’t believe me: check out my Iceland posts. My brother and I were looking to travel somewhere for a week in May. One day I saw a $400 round trip ticket to Iceland. Neither of us knew we wanted to go to Iceland at the time we found the deal, but like I said before, nothing is as fun as boarding an international flight for under $500.
Let me know if you are already taking advantage of any of these tips! I’d also love to know different ways you budget for your travels. I’m always looking for new and easy ways to save for my next trip.
Check back next week for How to Budget DURING your travels!