How to Save for Travel – 7 Ways to Help Your Savings Grow

In a previous post, I recommended ways to save money whilst travelling.
But, what if you aren’t on the road yet? What if you need some ideas to actually save the money first, then get ready to travel.
There is the obvious, don’t go on shopping sprees, don’t buy new things in general and don’t over indulge and build debt. No, you don’t technically need that 5th pair of shoes (or perhaps 20th), as nice as they look. That dress is the same cost feeding you for a month in SE Asia! So save your money and don’t expand your wardrobe. Coming to this way of thinking can be hard, though. And honestly, it’s only really come to me whilst travelling. Clothes, shoes and material things no longer hold such a meaning to me. But that’s another post all together.

Coming to this way of thinking can be hard, though. And honestly, it’s only really come to me whilst travelling. Clothes, shoes and material things no longer hold such a meaning to me. But that’s another post all together.
Here are some un-obvious ways to save… all those sneaky little amounts, that when added up and cut, can contribute a lot to your savings.

Being from New Zealand, this post is aimed at the fellow Kiwis who want to travel. But most of these tips can be modified for different countries.

In the end, we could only take a limited amount travelling. So why keep buying stuff when you can’t take it with you?

In a new year, many people’s resolutions either come under money, travel or health.

It’s no lie, to travel, especially from New Zealand, you do need quite a bit of upfront cash. That’s if you don’t want to work on the road right away.
That first flight out of the country may likely be the most expensive flight you buy, that and your flight home. It certainly was for us, so far at least.
Once you are out of New Zealand (the land far away from absolutely everything!), travelling in the northern hemisphere can be much cheaper for transport costs. Distances are shorter, with so many budget airlines and a huge network of public transport it’s quite easy to go through multiple countries cheaply (in comparison to travelling from NZ, and lets face it, in it).


Here are some tips to help your savings grow

Write down everything you currently spend money on.
Food, transport, bills, clothes,
If you get paid fortnightly or weekly, write down where all your money goes between pay days.
This will give you a good insight into where all your money goes, keeping track is key to knowing where to cut things.

Always guaranteed a good view when travelling by plane.

Feeding yourself

I will admit, we found this very easy to be cheap. If we cut back our costs even more here, we would have had to skip meals. We were always very money conscious when it came to food, coming from the poor student life and living off $2 a day (sometimes not even that). How? We cook for ourselves. And I am an avid baker.
Thankfully my mother taught me the all-important skill of cooking when I was young.

We never went out for meals (unless work was paying, haha). Ok, this is easy for us though, I have bad food intolerances and IBS and can’t trust any food I haven’t cooked myself.

We hardly bought takeaways, and by that I mean once a month Jacob would get KFC or Burger King.

If you are serious about your saving, this is where you can make some big cuts. It may feel like you no longer have any fun, but this is where you need to sort your priorities. Ours were to spend the money on eating in another country. Simple.
Not good at cooking? Start with the basics (pasta and pasta sauce, basic curry etc.) and learn. It is a valuable life skill that you will need to know so you can save whilst travelling too. Seriously, your travel meals can be the most random mish mosh of odd foods.

Don’t go all extravagant and gourmet, though, that will end up costing far too much. Especially in NZ. And unless you are competing in some form of Kitchen/Cooking show, you needn’t eat like this every day.

Creative, mish mosh dinner in Russia. Jacobs with added meat, Becks full vegan.

All those small purchases add up

That daily coffee from a cafe is draining your account. Average of $5 coffee, a day, means $25 a working week. That $25 can get you a night at a hotel in Thailand. No joke.
As you will likely not be able to keep this habit up whilst travelling, may as well get used to it now. Instant coffee has a bad reputation, but there are some decent ones out there. A personal favorite for us in NZ was Robert Harris. A jar for $7 can last 3 weeks for 2 people! That’s a near $90 saving in one month.

Alcohol is another. Now, I don’t drink. So I’m not one to tell you how to give up. But I think you can justify not spending money on alcohol at home when a 1 litre bottle of beer in Croatia is $2. So for the price of a $20 dozen in NZ, you can get 10 litres of beer in most European supermarkets. So, save your boozing money to try the local beers all around the world instead.

It’s not just coffee and beer. Buying your lunch each day at work, even once a week. Will dip into potential savings.


This is potentially one you have not really thought of. How much are you paying for subscriptions to things? Spotify, Netflix, Amazon, they all add up. These are luxuries that you cannot keep paying for on the road, so, as with the coffee, may as well get used to being without now.

However, there are some subscriptions that are worth every cent. A cloud account is one such thing. As we learnt the hard way. We now use Amazon drive, as it is quite fast and unlimited storage for $100 AUD for a year.


Nasty hidden fees

Hidden fees are annoying. You don’t realise they are there until you really look. Bank fees, payment fees,
These can easily be avoided. Change your bank account to a low, or no, fee account. Get rid of the high-interest, high fees credit card. There are some good low fee cards around.
Even paying a bill on your credit card can incur a fee, but there are ways around this.

This studio apartment, all to ourselves, cost us $40 a night in Warsaw, Poland.

Bills, bills, bills

Cutting costs on bills can end up saving you a lot, even if they seem like small amounts. Re-look at your car, contents etc. insurance. Most of the time insurance companies give a percentage off if you have more than one policy with them. Some banks also offer good insurance rates (often overlooked).
Power bills are another. Most Kiwis will know about the comparison website by now. We instantly went with Powershop. As we could pre-purchase power (stock up in Summer for Winter months, to even it out through the year) but also keep track of the exact amount you are spending.


Find a good savings account

Finally, you need somewhere to put your money. If you struggle to save, perhaps a little incentive is what you need. Other than the end goal of travel. An account that charges you $5 for every deduction or an account that gives you a higher interest rate when you add $50 a month (or similar). Personally, we have a Rabo account and ANZ serious saver. They both offer high interest and some good bonuses.

Storage – What about all your stuff?

When we were planning to leave New Zealand, we planned to not come back for quite a while. So we sold pretty much everything we owned, as there was no use getting a costly storage unit. This helped add to our savings for travelling. Big ticket items, car, TV, couch, washing machine etc. do add up to quite a bit to add to the bank. Depending on how long you are planning to go away, your “stuff” can depreciate in value, therefore, not worth much if you get back in 12 months, so may as well take the money for them now and replace upon return (if you return….)


When you add up all the expenses you have throughout the week, you can start to see how much money can be saved. Cut out small luxury expenses, cook, stop having expensive fun (find free or cheap things to do) and add to that interest incentive savings account. Increasing this bank balance means you are closer to the goal of TRAVEL. Unless your plan is to buy a house… these ideas work for that too. However, I would recommend travel! (Obviously).

You may think we were privileged with high paying jobs, no debt and maybe rich parents who helped out. Nope to all of that. Although, thanks to our mums for everything they do 🙂
Jacob worked for just over minimum wage for years. I have been working since I was 14 (11 years! I feel old now). And landed a semi well-paid job after I got my (expensive) degree.
We both had debt from our poor student years and have been paying this back since we began studying. We have also both been paying for our own rental house and all amenities since 2010, long before long-term travel was our goal. And our only dependent is our cat, who still doesn’t pay rent.
So no, we are/were by no means rolling in it, we wish!

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