Wondering how to save money for a trip fast?
It’s possible with the right plan of attack. I used to look at those happy go lucky travelers on Instagram and wonder how they hell they afford to travel the world.
The truth is some people save tons of money beforehand, while others rack up debt using loans and credit cards.
It’s easy to understand why someone would choose to accumulate debt for travel. Honestly, I would too over things like fancy cars or extravagant wardrobes. However, I prefer to live with as little debt as possible and so should you. I left college with all sorts of debt – makes me cringe just thinking about it.
Realizing I wanted to travel more than anything else I knew paying off debt was the key to my freedom. But how does one go about saving money fast? By working hard, tracking expenses, and basically watching every penny. So I did just that and in less than 8 months I not only paid off my debt, I had over $14,000 saved for traveling.
If traveling the world is what you so desire, but find it impossible to save money quickly then I’m here to help you. In this post, you will find how to organize your finances, start saving for travel, and ways to quickly earn extra income.
First and foremost you need to organize your current finances. Think of this step as building your budget and debt payoff plan.
Organize Your Current Finances
Start a spreadsheet. While that might not be the first thing that comes to mind, it is one of the most important. If you cannot learn to “balance a checkbook” it will be difficult for you to adequately track your spending behaviors.
Once you start making a habit of it, your saving discipline will grow stronger I promise! Why? Well, it puts your current situation into perspective and allows you to foresee the “what if’s”.
Buy a planner. Similar to setting goals and writing them down everywhere, the same can be done for budgets. Writing your bills and expenditures down in a visible place can help you stay the course.
I write my bills down every month in a planner that I tote around in my purse. It’s easily retrievable and keeps me from missing due dates.
Pay Off Debt
Ever heard of the Snowball Effect? There’s a popular method to paying off debt known as the debt snowball effect.
Here’s how it works:
1) You organize your debt from least to greatest or greatest to least.
2) Pay minimum amounts on all accounts. Whatever amount is left over goes towards the first account until that is paid off.
3) Move on to the next account and repeat steps 1 & 2.
Lifehack.org explains this concept in better detail here. I’ve utilized this method every time when paying off debt and swear by it.
Start Saving for Travel
Really done simultaneously to paying off debt. Even $5 a week is great practice to get your mind into the saving habit. Remember saving is a skill that takes practice – similar to dieting.
The Rule of Thumb is generally 20% of your income. Shoot for 20% but if not don’t be discouraged. Even 3% of savings per paycheck is better than nothing at all.
READ MORE: 3 Money Saving Apps You Need to be Using
How to Quickly Earn Extra Income for Traveling
Here are a few side hustles that can help you save even faster.
Become a Brand Ambassador
Wonder where those sample people in Costco come from? What about the people serving you samples at a beer or wine festivals? Search your city for Brand Ambassador or Promotional Marketing companies.
Take some nice head shots and full body shots and ask them if they are hiring for promo people. Typically shifts are short (3-4 hours) and the pay is great!
With a simple Google search you can find tons of sites that pay you for surveys, site reviews, products reviews, etc. Dedicating a couple hours a day could could turn in to big bucks for you.
Here are a couple sites I’ve come across:
User Testing: get paid $10/test to review a website or App – 20 minutes per test
UserLytics: get paid $10/task. Similar to User Testing. Must have a webcam.
Dice.com: pay varies. Most jobs involve Quality Assurance testing.
UTest: $10/20 minute video.
UserZoom: $5-10/test. Average is $5.
Freelancer & Upwork
Have a specialized skill in just about anything from Accounting to Web Design? Consider signing up for an account on freelancer.com or upwork.com. Once you build your experience on these platforms your earning potential is limitless.
Just make sure to practice due diligence in reviewing websites, companies, and individual employers before agreeing to any contracts.
Earn points from credit cards
One of my favorite topics is travel hacking. Essentially, travel hacking is making strategic moves with credit card offers and rewards that result in free travel. Talk about something to get your mind spinning.
Still have questions? As an amateur travel hacker I’ve created a free pocket guide on travel hacking for beginners. Claim your FREE copy below!
Become an Uber/Lyft driver
If you don’t mind the miles on your car then this could be a lucrative side gig for you. Just factor in gas, repair, and maintenance against your income. As long as you come out positive this is a good decision.
Become an Airbnb host
If you have space and live in a desirable location, why not become a host and offer your place as a “shared room”. If you go out of town then list your place as “entire home”.
Prevent & Recover from Slips:
It’s highly likely you will encounter temptations, rainy days, etc. Here are some of my tips on how to recover, re-balance, and continue on the saving path to vacation!
If you find you are consistently going over budget, then sit down and re-balance. Maybe you are spending more in one category and less in another so re-balance.
If you are going over all categories then increase your budgeted amount. If that is not possible, look into getting side work which I mentioned above.
Write down the reasons you went over budget. Is this a monthly re-occurrence, or did something happen that month like an unexpected trip to the doctors?
Whenever I build a budget, I always factor in emergency situations. It might not cover all the emergency costs, but some is better than nothing.
Prevent overspending by putting a stop to small petty purchases. Easier said than done I know. yet very important to practice self-control. Small purchases add up quickly putting you over the edge in no time.
Go Travel the World
Now that you have crawled out of debt and saved money it’s time to go travel the world! Need some inspiration? Check out these posts: