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Just imagine … relaxing on a golden beach in Thailand, trekking through a teeming jungle in Peru, swimming up close and personal with the inhabitants of the Great Barrier Reef, roaming the electric streets of Tokyo at 3am in a sake-fuelled haze – Ah, the possibilities!

BUT AS THE REAL world back seeps back in (a dreary nine-to-five desk-job, perhaps?) your dream can feel so very distant, perhaps even unattainable.

Intensive money saving requires some lifestyle changes. Here are some tried-and-tested ideas to save some cash.

Stop Drinking Alcohol

Or at least, cut it down drastically. A typical English Saturday night bender of a beers, a club, some shots and a taxi back can easily rob you of £50 ($99) or so.

Repeat that a few times a month, together with a few after-work drinking sessions and you’re losing hundreds of pounds a month that could be going straight in your travel fund.

A little tip to help you get through it: every time you feel like buying a pint, remind yourself that you could buy yourself a night’s accommodation in Thailand with that money instead (or, if you prefer the thought, FOUR big bottles of Singha beer!)

Give Up Cigarettes

Smoke twenty ciggies a day? That’s over £150 ($300) a month that could have gone in your travel fund, and hence another few days you’ll have to work in your dull 9-5 job. Or to put it another way, you’ve just smoked away the equivalent of a month’s fully-paid travel in Laos.

It may be difficult, but try to cut down on the cigarettes, or if possible, give up. (You can always take it up again when you’re out on the road, they’re dead cheap in Asia).

Don’t Go Shopping. Ever

If there’s anything that a year on the road teaches you, it’s that you don’t need stuff. Get into the habit right now and stop buying unnecessary things.

How many clothes/CDs/books do you need anyway? You won’t be able to fit it all into your backpack. If you really get the urge to buy something, then make sure it’s something that’ll be of use on your travels; even better if it’s something inspirational like a Lonely Planet Guidebook for the first country of your trip…

No Eating Out

Well, OK, only on special occasions, like that LAST BIG CELEBRATION JUST BEFORE YOU GO TRAVELING. Seriously, if you work, then taking the time to prepare a lunch the night before can save you around £50 ($99) a month, an amount that will easily feed you for weeks in somewhere like Laos.

Move Home to Your Folks

Erk! Probably not an option to most people, but since it’s something I did when saving for my Round the World trip, I thought I’d throw it in there.

I was renting a pricey room in a house with some friends when I made the decision to go traveling. So I moved back to my parents’ house, which was only 10 miles away.

Paying a token amount to cover my keep, it meant I could put a shedload of money away each month, and enabled me to go off traveling far sooner than I expected to.

Keep A Record Of Your Savings

An important thing to do all through this is to keep a record of your lifestyle savings. So you’re saving £100 a week by giving up drinking and smoking? Write it down. If you don’t see the results of your effort, you’ll be less inclined to stick to it.

Write down every saving, and total it up every month. Ascribe the extra you’ve saved to something specific you want to do on your trip. Pretty soon you’ll realise it’s much more fun to spend £60 ($120) on a parachute jump in New Zealand or on an all-nite sake’n'karaoke bender in Osaka than down at your local pub.

The measures above might seem harsh, but if you are determined enough to go away, then you will be more than willing to make these sacrifices. The message is simply to think before you spend money.

How far could that amount of money get you around the world? Cause that’s your goal, isn’t it? To travel, not break the record for the number of pairs of jeans owned by a single person?

Financial Savvy


About The Author

Steve James

Steve James publishes more savings tips and advice on his brilliant website Saving For Travel. Also features a blog and budget calculator for those really serious future travelers.

  • JennDZ

    Hi Steve!
    Fancy seeing you here!
    Great tips and ideas!

  • Annika

    Great tips, inspired me to start planning – and saving for – the next trip immediately!

  • Tantowi

    Make it a game – If you’re traveling with someone, try to make it a game to see who can spend the least amount of money. You’ll be surprised at what you can do.

  • Ellen S.

    I think most people would agree that saving money is something “easier said than done”. Personally, I believe it’s a mind-set that needs to be developed by creating good money-saving habits.

    Here are some things I’ve done to help change my spending habits:

    – Cook more at home ( Eating out is very expensive especially
    if you do it a couple times a week
    – Try shopping online ( You can find better deals than in the
    store and you save on gas (I recommend  HYPERLINK
    – Pay the full balance on credit cards each month ( Interest
    charge is like giving away free money
    – Don’t forget to pay yourself ( Set up an online savings
    account (they pay higher interest than a normal savings
    – Set a budget and goals ( It’s good to have your goals
    written down so you see them everyday and don’t lose focus
    on your ultimate objectives

    Again, saving money requires a lot of patience and hard work. However, you’ll thank yourself later on in life. Good luck everyone!! =)

  • Steve

    Some ways I’ve found to save money: 1st I paid off all of my debt (freedom), 2nd I ride a bicycle to work (huge saver), 3rd pack a lunch, 4th eat dinner at home, 5th I rent a studio for $640 a month which is furnished, includes utilities,and cable (located in a safe area), 6th I use a pre-paid phone card (minutes are used sparingly)
    I’m able to save about $900 a month on a meager salary. Don’t get caught up with having to have the latest tech gadgets, and clothes. Also, don’t worry about what other people will think about you riding a bicycle to work. When you put in your notice to resign at work so you can embarque on your journey your co-workers will be extremely envious, and will be giving you their e-mail address so they can travel vicariously through you.

  • Donette Raghunandan

    There’s nothing at all like riding a nice mountain bike on a mountain path – particularly in the spring time. I cannot imagine anything I’d rather go do – well, there’s ONE thing .. ;-)

  • Ben Wolfgram

    Love the post! 

    We have some help for the no eating out suggestion! =)

    My girlfriend and I have been gathering easy recipes from other travelers for over a year now. We post all of them on our website for everyone to use. 

    We have a page where people can add their own recipes. We think its a great resource for travelers. Mostly because we use our site daily on our travelers to eat healthy and cheap while on the road.

    Leah and Ben

  • Guest

    Other than returning to an adolescent lifestyle in your parents’ home, none of these ideas are drastic.

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