20 Tips on How to Save Money to Travel

The hardest part about buying a round the world ticket is finding the money to do it. It’s a huge mountain to climb to be sure, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. The following are 20 excellent tips on how to save money for an Around the World Trip.


The first thing is how much will it cost to go Around the World? We have an excellent write up here, but you can quickly estimate your airfare costs with our TripPlanner.

No matter if that was a big number or what you were expecting, it is time to put a plan in place.

Create a savings plan. A good one of these will have 5 steps:

  • Assessment – Hold your trip plan up to the reality of your financial situation. Is it feasible or are you dreaming too big? Make hard decisions. Once you have a general idea of your trip’s overall cost, compile a spreadsheet that lists your income vs. your expenses to see how everything stacks up.
  • Setting goals – Your savings plan should comprise several goals, some short-term and some long. List your goals in specific round numbers and don’t be shy to shoot high but not so high it kills your enthusiasm.
  • Creating a plan – The savings plan details how you’ll accomplish your goals. This could be removing unnecessary expenses (see below!), setting a strict spending budget or adding additional income to meet your goals.
  • Implementation – Put your plan in motion and maintain it.
  • Monitoring and reassessment – As time passes, your plan will evolve as your spending habits change. Take a look at your progress every month and scrutinize the budget for possible adjustments.

RTw 30 coursed Set your dream

The first of our tips for saving money is to remember why you’re doing this and to remind yourself every day. Put a picture on your wall, or a map with pins and strings, or your rally monkey, for constant revalidation. Saving money is a slog, but you can do it if you set your mind to it.


  • Reduce your expenditures.
  • Simplify your life.
  • Sell some stuff.
  • Earn some extra income.
  • Get into habits of frugality (save without shame!).

Assess your expenditures

Make a spreadsheet where you can find it (put a link on your desktop) then list out every one of your daily/monthly expenditures. Organize them into two columns: “Needs” and “Wants“. Slowly eliminate all the “wants” from your list of purchased items.

Start a dedicated travel fund

Create a new account with your bank called “I’m Outta Here” and feed it monthly, weekly?, daily! Make it easy to transfer money over from another account and every time you go online to check your balance, transfer some money. Make it fun. Make it a habit. Make it natural. Make it painless. Revel in its growth!

Cut back on your lunch

It may be as simple as not getting a $2.50 drink (water is delicious, you know) but make a point of spending less than $8 on this meal. The savings will add up.

Cut back on coffee

No need to eliminate coffee from your life, but geez, stop buying expensive coffee! Think “drip”. It will save you a ton, upwards of $1000 in a year!

Check out this cool coffee cost calculator and see what that caffeine is costing you!

Eat out less

Restaurants put more holes in a saving plan than a woodpecker on amphetamines. Plus learning how to cook for yourself is ridiculously gratifying. The Food Network and Recipes.com have a near limitless repository of delicious recipes to start you off.

Reduce or eliminate your car usage

Easiest way to reduce your car usage is to sell it! (Hey, Craigslist.) Zipcar or Getaround are great options for daily car sharing if you need to get across long distances after the sale (or for supermarket days). Otherwise, that bicycle, baby.

Pro tip: RelayRides is a cool service that lets you rent someone else’s car short term, or else to make some money by renting out your own!

Kill the cable TV

You’ll be surprised on how fast your savings add up without cable TV. Plus, there are plenty of free and cheap ways to get your entertainment. Netflix is cheaper than cable. Books are cheaper than movies.

But if you must have your TV shows here are a few places online that can serve as “free” substitutes:

Reduce your utilities bill

Keep the thermostat low, put a sweatshirt on. Open the windows instead of using the air conditioner. Shorten your showers.

Quit smoking

How to save money? This one’s a no-brainer. Not only can it save you $2000 in a year, it can save your life! Can’t do it on your own? Here’s some help from the government.

Cancel your gym membership

Instead of that hefty gym membership, exercise in the great outdoors, run in the fresh air. Swallow your pride and utilize those strange public fitness logs in the park. The world is a cardio machine. Watch the calories turn into greenbacks!

Reduce/Remove the spa treatments

Ah luxury, she feels so good, but soon you’ll have to realize that those massages and mani-pedis won’t help you travel any sooner. Make the hard choice and bypass the high-priced spa day.

Airtreks - Book the Trip of a Lifetime Get fewer haircuts

If you get a haircut once every two months as opposed to every month, you’ll be saving 50% of your expenditures at the stylist. Considering the cost of hair care, over the course of a year this will really add up.

Wear your shoes an extra month, guys

Like the haircuts, this will add up over a year. Your girlfriend will understand.

Borrow your reading material

Utilize your library. Utilize your friends. Utilize Paperback Book Swap.

If you’ve already sprung for an Ereader (useful for your trip as well) there are plenty of places online to download ebooks for free. Here are the sites with the most comprehensive catalogs:

These sites amount to more books than you (and everyone you know) could read in your lifetime. So buckle up!

If you’re a fan of web content, send articles directly to your electronic device. Here are two great services that help you transform web articles into ereader-friendly formats:

Do Free Things

  • Get University educated – The website Open Culture has assembled a giant master list of free online courses on everything from Art History to Quantum Mechanics from great schools like Stanford, UC Berkely, even Oxford!
  • Get non-university educated at Khan Academy or Tedtalks.
  • How about Academic Earth. It’s an online repository of videos of academic courses at Ivy League schools like Yale, Harvard and Stanford. The only thing it doesn’t have is Skull & Bones.
  • Learn to code – hello Codecademy!
  • Watch free movies.
  • Play sports: you know, cycling, tennis, basketball, soccer, etc. Use Craigslist to find recreational teams in your area.

Buy second-hand clothing

New clothes are expensive, and passé! Thrift stores and vintage/second-hand clothing shops are the new cool. You can usually save the greater part of 75% over their new counterparts and still look cute.

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Stay in at night

Going out to bars and clubs will force your account balance to go down faster than a Swiss cheese boat. Without anything to show for it in the morning. Keep your travel goals in mind and invite your friends over for, eep, game night. Or potlucks. Or DVD screenings. Or knitting parties.

Use this:

The Yaycations Travel Savings Calculator – a fun way to show where you can save even more money. Yay! is right.

Bonus tip on how to save money: keep your distance for people not saving for a RTW trip

Watching your friends going out every night, buying expensive electronics, expensive cocktails and new boots will destroy all your hard-fought motivation. They know you love them, and they’ll understand and probably respect you more for saying no.

Remember, you’re going traveling! That’s the best goal a person can have.

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