Saving money for travelling – a few tips


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I am by no means an expert on saving money for travelling. I feel that people who know me well will attest to this. I am definitely not in a ‘high paid’ job, and actually I don’t travel in necessarily the cheapest way, but I have decided that seeing the world is now my number one priority.

Picture of saving money for travelling

So I wanted to share my tips on how I make this happen. In the past, over a two year period, I have taken ‘big’ trips to Central America, Mongolia and East Africa. I have also visited Menorca (4 times), Iceland, Italy, France and Switzerland (skiing), Stockholm, Amsterdam and New York. Plus various U.K breaks.

Here is how I make it happen!

Looking after the little things

I am aware that making these little changes mean you aren’t immediately going to be able to jet off to the Maldives. But the age old adage ‘look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves’ does often ring true. Some of these first ‘tips’ on saving money for travelling may sound ridiculous, but I like to think they all add up.

Firstly, I don’t wash my hair everyday. And I use only a small amount of shower gel each day. Might sound silly, but if you think about it, washing your hair every other day halves the amount of shampoo and conditioner you need to purchase. And that stuff is expensive! I am equally frugal with the washing up liquid. When it comes to my laundry, I also wait until I have a big load to do, rather than doing lots of little loads. Those liquid tabs are costly!

Rummage through your cupboards! I didn’t purchase my favourite tea bags (and we all know how important tea is to me!) when my last lot ran out, instead using up the mismatched assortment I have found at the back of the cupboard.

I also managed to make the weirdest assortment of meals from things I found I can use up. While on this, I am not renowned for doing this, but I bulk made a lot of meals during my very very finically tight January and February to have for lunch as well. I saved so much!

Now, obviously these are not going to make the absolute world of difference, but trust me when I say things like this really add up!

Socialising and saving money for travelling

Now, I am not one to advocate giving up socialising completely while saving money for travelling. I actually spent most of June doing this and think I went a little stir crazy. What I would recommend is thinking wisely about your plans. Instead of going out for dinner, how about drinks instead? Share a bottle of wine rather than having individual gin and tonics. It does make a difference!

I also love having friends over to share a bottle of wine with at home. This often does include food, but it is so much cheaper than going out. Take it in turns to visit each other to balance it out. Consider things like a trip to the beach, a picnic in the park or visiting a museum, like the amazing Natural History Museum. There are so many options to be found for free.

Loyalty Cards

I am a big fan of these. Again, its the little things that add up. Never underestimate the value of the little points adding up. Boots, Nectar and the good old fashioned Tesco club cards are my favourite. But I also have an Odeon card, which means you get 10% cinema tickets as well as points.

Discount codes

Whenever I am buying something I always search online for a discount code. It might take a while to find one that actually works, but it can really help.

This is particularly useful when shopping for presents – having to buy a lot of gifts at once really does add up. You can often find a code, or free shipping for a lot of online stores. Likewise if I see somewhere having a sale, this will be when I buy something I need.

Booking bigger trips in advance

I like to have one ‘big’ trip a year which most of my travel money, in fact just my money in general, goes towards. I try and book this as far in advance as possible. It is nearly an entire year ahead of the date that I have booked my trip to Jordan and Egypt. This means I can pay it off bit by bit. Instead of one big chunk going out at once you can pay it off over time.

Some travel companies, including STA travel who I booked my trip with (not sponsored, I just genuinely love these guys) allow you to put down deposits on flights as well.

I have found if I have a savings account, I often dip into it on ‘rainy days’ whereas paying it directly towards the trip mean I definitely know my money is going towards something. So I guess, this isn’t as much saving money for travelling but sending it straight towards the funds before it can be diverted anywhere else!

image of plane and reason for saving money for travelling

Cash Cards

I recently got myself a Monzo card (again, not sponsored) and have found it so useful! The day I get paid I transfer my monthly allowance onto my Monzo card, and try not to spend anything else that month.

I had got into the habit of not checking my bank account out of pure denial. However, with Monzo, as it just has my allowance on it I don’t mind checking. I love the app with its graphs and clearly showing where my money has gone (mainly food and flights!)

The other plus with this card, is that is has really good rates for abroad. So it saves me money when I am travelling too.

Planning ahead

This one takes some organising, but I started thinking about my Christmas (sorry, am I allowed to say that word in July?) back in June. Doing this really helps me with saving money for travelling. I have quite a few people to buy for, so if I start early I can spread the cost out.

I still plan it all out, set a budget and stick to it. It is easy to end up buying a bit more this way, as sometimes you end up seeing the perfect gift. But make a note of it, to making shopping next year that bit easier.

I want to go to a Christmas market this year, and there is no way I could afford to do that and all my Christmas shopping the same month.

Travel fund

My favourite one for saving money for travelling!

My best friend set me this challenge at the beginning of the year. On the 1st January, I put away 1p. On the 2nd – 2p, the 3rd -3p and so only throughout the year.

By the end of the year I should have £667.95. We are now half way through the year (I know, I can’t believe it either!) and I can honestly say I haven’t noticed having any less money. I know its going to get harder as the year progresses, but there is already over £160 in that fund which is a great start.

My plan for next year is to use this fund to go towards city and mini breaks. All the while starting again next year with my 1p on January 1st 2019.

Pay day

On the day you get paid, set up a direct debit to move money into a savings account. Work out how much you want to spend each month, and then anything above that move out of your current account straight away. The temptation to spend is much great if you can’t see the money in your current account!

Equally, if when you get to the end of the month and you have had a good month, move anything left over into the savings account. I always start the first day of pay day with only my month salary in it. Anything above and beyond that, even if it is only £10 or so, always gets moved into my savings.

Cashback websites

A new find of mine, and definitely one I wish I had got into before! I now use TopCash Back for any purchases I make online. You create an account, and before you buy anything online search for the company on Top Cash back, and then click on their referral link to earn back some commission on your purchase. I check it every time I buy anything, from books, clothes, electrical, gifts, hotels and flights.

Also check different sites to see which has a better commission. For example often pays more than

Seems like a scam, but I have made enough through it to fund a weekend away in a year!

So there you go my tips on making saving money for travelling a priority! Have you got any helpful tips? 

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jasonlikestotravel July 17, 2018 - 11:10 am

Love the travel fund idea, would barely notice the pennies being missed. I think I’ll be giving that ago in 2019 🙂

Charlie - Where Charlie Wanders July 17, 2018 - 4:27 pm

It’s been so good! I honestly haven’t noticed yet and it is adding up!

karlosinternational June 18, 2019 - 2:37 pm

The shampoo idea is inspired! Had never thought of this!

Charlie - Where Charlie Wanders June 18, 2019 - 2:38 pm

It sounds so silly, but makes a difference!

Ashleighhitter July 30, 2018 - 5:31 pm

I’m desperate to go to Australia next year, but my funds are really holding me back.

A monzo card sounds great and I’m definitely with you about not checking my bank balance because of the denial (and fear).

I can’t wait to put some of these tips to the test. I tried the saving challenge a few years ago and although I only made it to July/August I couldn’t believe how much I’d saved.

Ashleigh x

Charlie - Where Charlie Wanders July 30, 2018 - 8:30 pm

The denial and fear are so real! Monzo has really helped me.

Hope you make it to Australia. I find if I actually put a deposit down, it focuses my mind more. Rather than constantly thinking ‘I must save’

KB Gamblin September 10, 2018 - 6:59 pm

OMG these are all such great tips. I love my travel fund! I put a certain percentage of every paycheck in it and it has been a total game changer!
KB |

Charlie - Where Charlie Wanders September 10, 2018 - 10:05 pm

Such a great idea! Little by little it really does add up over time

RootsWings&TravelThings (@RootsWingsBlog) September 23, 2018 - 8:46 pm

Great tips! People often ask us how we afford to travel (I’m a stay at home mom). We just make it a priority. We’ve never owned a new car, we rarely go out, and we save where ever we can because any money we have we want to spend on travel!

Charlie - Where Charlie Wanders September 23, 2018 - 10:19 pm

Thanks! I’m exactly the same. Priority is definitely spending money on flights!

Seeking Wonderful October 28, 2018 - 7:19 am

I also have travel fund in jars. One is at my parents home and one in my apartment. I decided to put all cents and 2€ I have in my wallet plus 10% of all gift money I get. It does add up a lot and you don’t miss this money at all.

Charlie - Where Charlie Wanders October 31, 2018 - 5:17 pm

That’s such a good idea! When it’s little bits of change you definitely don’t notice it.

Dana December 18, 2018 - 9:50 am

I so enjoyed reading this because I’m frugal too! I definitely agree that the little things add up and that putting money directly in a travel fund keeps me from spending it on non-travel expenses.

I’ve been blogging about how I’ve used a shopping app to save over $600 so far towards my travel fund in a little over two years. (That’s money I earned from the app, not my own funds from paycheck savings.) I had hoped to reach $700 by the end of December, but I don’t think I’ll hit that goal this year. I’m saving up for a sometime future cruise to the British Isles! (I’ve never been to England, but my dad’s ancestors came to America from Lancashire, so I’m hoping to visit England some day!)

Happy travels!

– Dana
Pittsburgh, PA

Charlie - Where Charlie Wanders December 19, 2018 - 7:24 am

Ah that’s such a good app! I’m so pleased you like the post and hope you get to the U.K. soon. Z


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