If you’re thinking about traveling the world for three months or more, you better believe you’ll need a hefty reserve of funds. Chances are, you’re likely currently in the stage of saving money for your few months of travel. If so, you’re in the right place. This post will dive into my tried and true methods of how I actually saved money to travel the world for 3+ months.
Sure, we can all skimp on our morning coffee to save a few bucks here and there. But if you’re trying to save up for a longer trip around the world, you’d better be doing that already. Let’s go a little further than that! I’ve broken this down to “Saving Money” and “Making Money”. Continue reading for some of the money-saving tactics that I actually used when I was saving up for my own 3-months of travel in Europe.
Part I : SAVE MONEY
Stop dining out, for real.
Spending money on food is the single most expensive habit and money-drainer. Let’s say each meal out will cost you $20— just by cutting out 3 meals per week, you’re going to be saving an additional $60/week. That’s huge!
If you really can’t stop eating out, then consider sharing a dish with whoever you’re eating out with and getting an appetizer instead. Or cut out the drinks. Or avoid the restaurant altogether and get some healthy takeaway option. Cut out something. This is often people’s biggest frivolous expense.
Whenever I feel unmotivated here, I tell myself “don’t eat out now, so that the money you save can be used on eating out while traveling“.
Try a “No Spend Week”
This was actually like a game for me. I would do groceries on Sunday and buy enough to sustain myself for the week. The goal was to not spend any money throughout the week, including gas, food, shopping, gifts, etc.). I actually had an app called Productive where I would check a box for successfully not spending a single dollar on a particular day, aiming for a full week (or for as many days in a row I could go for). For those who like turning things into a game, setting personal achievements, or are motivated by completing streaks, this one’s for you.
I knew I needed new clothes for the summer, especially for an entire summer in Europe (what a romantic thought)! Instead of going out to the malls and blowing all my hard-earned cash on new clothes, I took advantage of buy/sell/trade consignment stores such as Crossroads Trading Co., Buffalo Exchange, and Plato’s Closet.
How these stores work: customers sell their in-style clothing and accessories for cash or trade credit on the spot; you can use the trade credit for the stuff they sell in the store, which often carries high-quality items. I would take in whatever clothing/shoe/handbag items I didn’t want anymore and exchange for trade credit, since I knew I needed a wardrobe upgrade anyway. I never took cash, because they pay a fraction less in cash compared to the trading option.
Though this method did not result in me pocketing more money, it did help prevent spending any money at all. What I got out of it? A new set of clothes for my three months of travel, for free!
Part II : MAKE MONEY
Not your body, but more like your services and your time. I often offered my coworkers, friends, and family dog walking and housesitting services whenever they were headed out for their own vacations. I wasn’t trained or very experienced in either of these, but I was someone they knew and trusted to be responsible. Compared to what a dog hotel or on-demand dog walker costs, paying me was actually cheaper for them! Not to mention, they’ll get peace of mind that someone they trust will be in their home as opposed to a total stranger. Before I knew it, I was helping many more friends of friends with their pets and homes, simply by word of mouth!
Sell your things.
Poshmark was an awesome source of income for me. Over the years, I had collected so many pairs of shoes that I hadn’t really worn. Even though I don’t own high-end clothing brands, I was able to sell about $500 worth of clothing and shoes in a time span of 1 month and I only stopped because my 3 months of travel had begun! (Some of my pricier items were actually outdoor gear such as backpacks and outdoor shoes, which helped accelerate my earnings).
You could even turn this into a side business– go to your local Goodwill store or thrift store, hunt for hidden gems, and flip them on sites like Poshmark or thredUP!
For a limited time, sign up for Poshmark using my code ELBUNZ to save $10.
Sell your ideas and opinions.
I easily made $750 in 1 month by participating in focus groups. What are focus groups, you ask? A focus group is a small group of people with varying demographic backgrounds who are used in market research. As a participant, you’ll engage in open discussions about a new product or idea the company wants to test out before releasing it to the public. The goal for them is to determine how receptive the larger population will be to this new product or idea. These discussion groups usually take 1-3 hours.
The best thing about it is that you get paid very well to give up 1-2 hours of your life, often ranging from $50-100 per hour. Do a search for focus groups or market research companies in your area and sign up for their email lists– they’ll email you whenever they have upcoming studies that you may qualify for.
Find a side gig.
Not gonna lie, this one is easier said than done. Perhaps you love crafting things, freelancing, driving rideshare cars, or delivering food to strangers. Sometimes, you must do what must be done to make some side money! In my case, I had a part-time job where I worked remotely, setting my own hours. I also delivered for Postmates when I had free time on nights and weekends.
You could skip all of this if you’d rather not be bothered by working more, but for me, these avenues really accelerated my savings. Plus, knowing that I was making more money on top of my additional salary was like earning “extra credit” in school. Going into my travels, I actually felt less guilty for spending because I knew I had made this extra money specifically for spending on frivolous things like expensive meals or excursions or taxis rather than trains.
I hope you can use some of these tips and tricks in order to save thousands of dollars for traveling! For more, read how I traveled across Europe for 3 months for under $8,000!
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