People are often afraid to ask about money, but it is an essential component of travel. I believe it is extremely beneficial for travelers to be open about their earnings and expenditures in order to assist others in determining what is realistic and possible for them. So here’s an honest assessment of how we save money for travel and how we plan to stay on budget while still on the road.
We have, of course, done some savings in preparation for our world trip! According to our research on the internet, we should budget €1000 per month for each person. This will obviously largely depend on our location, mode of transportation, and motivation to stick to a budget! So, before we leave, we set a goal of €15,000 (each).
We have safely made that after 2 years and are wishing to have closer to €25,000 each when we set off. The greatest part is that we didn’t even drastically alter our lifestyles. We’ve still visited Colombia, Belarus, the United States, New Zealand, Uzbekistan, and many other European countries in the last two years. We continue to eat out and spend nights out with companions.
So, how did we manage to just save over €20,000 in just one year? We are indeed extremely fortunate to have well-paying jobs. We lived in Germany, which, while not cheap, has a very low cost of living in comparison to many other countries
It is not luxurious, but if we hadn’t been saving, we’d undoubtedly have our own place. But it saves us a lot of money; we’d be paying at least double outside our own place. We shifted into a pre-existing flat, which saved us a lot of money on kitchen items and other expenses.
Our furniture was either secondhand or found on the side of the road (it may sound strange, but it is very common in Germany to simply leave unnecessary furniture outside your house for garbage collection.) Our apartment isn’t perfect, but it’s large, warm, close to town, and, most importantly, inexpensive.
Another stroke of luck is that both my and Max’s jobs provide us with food. But before they did, I brought my lunch to school every day. We cook most nights at home and eat leftovers on weekends. In Germany, supermarket shopping is very affordable, and with some culinary creativity, we can live on just €50 per week between us. We still go out for dinner and coffee on a regular basis, but we try to limit it to once every two weeks.
A Tiny Change Jar
Because Germany is a cash-based society, we have a lot of small changes. This is an excellent way to save money for travel without even realizing it! We agreed that anything less than 50 cents would go in the jar. We didn’t save millions, but we now have around €200 in our ‘petrol fund’ for the van with little effort.
Absence Of Material Objects
Some people will find this extremely offensive. But after years of being a student, working low-wage jobs, and traveling, I’ve managed to detach myself from many material things. I don’t have hundreds of pairs of shoes (just a few good travel shoes), a large jewelry collection, a DVD collection, or all the trinkets that accumulate over time.
I’ve moved so much that everything I own fits into a backpack. After two years in Frankfurt, I need to downsize, but I don’t have an emotional attachment to most of my possessions. Even my prized books are all secondhand, and I’m content to give them away once they’ve been read.
Set Up A Bank Account
This may seem obvious, but I make certain that my money is directed to a separate savings account. Every payday, I transfer a certain amount so that when I look at my ‘available’ spending money for the month, I can see how much I can actually spend after saving. Any money left over at the end of the month is also saved. Every month, I spend this money on flights, travel, and purchases. Money does not leave my savings account once it is deposited!
Minimize Beauty Items
Once more, some people are better suited to this than others. I’ve never been much of a girly girl, but in recent years I’ve pared down my beauty routine to the essentials. In the shower, I use shampoo (I stopped using conditioner last year) and shower gel. I wear mascara and sometimes eyebrow pencils to work, and in the summer I use an SPF30 moisturizer.
That’s the end of it. I only get my hair cut once a year, never get my nails done, and don’t own a foundation. Sure, I’m no glamour model, but I work with children, and their coloring abilities, rather than my looks, impress them. It’s not for everyone, but it’s worth a few extra days of travel for me.
Regions with Cheaper Prices
The regions we’ve chosen to visit are also extremely affordable for travel. Consider the Balkans, India, or Southeast Asia. These are countries we want to visit but also provide us with the most bang for our buck. We can either travel on very little money or travel in luxury while still remaining affordable for a longer trip.
So you now have access to all of our deepest, darkest saving secrets. I hope that they were useful and/or interesting, and even if you don’t think you’d want to live as frugally as we do, you might be able to try one or two to help you save money for travel. So start thinking about your next vacation!