How to Save Money to Travel More With These Strategic Tips

Pinterest Hidden ImagePinterest Hidden ImagePinterest Hidden Image

How to save money to travel more? What steps should you take? And what are some creative ways to save money to travel? Planning a vacation doesn’t have to strain your budget. You can save for your next trip with some creativity and the right strategies.

In our younger days, travel seemed like a distant luxury, as we were caught up in daily expenses and indulged in items like new cars and trendy outfits. However, we learned that shifting priorities and adopting smarter financial habits could make our travel goals possible.

featured blog imagePin

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we earn a commission at no extra cost. Please refer to our full disclosure for details.

In this article, I’ll share some tips that have helped us cut unnecessary expenses and embrace creative saving techniques like maximizing credit card points for travel. Using these strategies and practical ways to save, you’ll find how a few thoughtful changes will make you book that first trip or travel more.

Note: Tasty Itinerary is not a financial advisor. This content is for informational purposes only.

Set a Goal

The first step in saving money for travel is to define your destination and budget. Ask yourself: Where do you want to go, and how much will it cost to get there? This involves initial research to estimate expenses for flights, accommodations, meals, and activities at your intended location.

Each traveler’s budget will differ based on the chosen destination, travel style, timeframe, and financial circumstances. Setting a precise monetary goal helps whether you aim for a modest getaway or a lavish escape. Assess how much money you need to save to cover all aspects of your trip comfortably without getting into debt.

Consider Budget-Friendly Travel Options

  • All-Inclusive Resorts: Places like the Caribbean offer all-inclusive can have more cost-effective options than European destinations.
  • Cruise Vacations: These can be economical as they cover multiple destinations and most expenses in one package.
  • Camping or Road Trips: Opting for the outdoors or hitting the road can significantly cut costs.
  • Hostels: Ideal for younger travelers looking to save on accommodation.
  • Staycations: If funds are tight, consider exploring attractions closer to home and staying in a local hotel to save on travel costs.

Read more: How to Plan a Cruise Vacation

Create a Travel Budget and Set Up a Savings Plan

image shows a person's hand holding a glass jar labeled "TRAVEL" filled with coins, symbolizing saving for travel.

Establish a Budget

Creating a budget should be done at the same time you set your travel goal. Once you know how much your vacation will cost, you’ll want to create a budget for how much you need to save each month. Keep track of your monthly income and expenses to understand your saving capacity. Live within your means, avoid spending money on unnecessary things, and focus on your travel dreams.

Implement the 50-30-20 Rule

Many have succeeded with the 50-30-20 budgeting rule. This means allocating 50% of your income to necessities, 30% to wants, including travel, and 20% to savings. If travel is a priority, adjust this ratio to funnel more into your travel savings.

Set Up a Travel Savings Account

With your budget set, it’s time to plan how much you will save each month. Opening a travel savings account and setting up auto-pay ensures that a designated amount is automatically saved each month, reducing spending temptation.

Explore Vacation Club Accounts

Alternatively, consider a vacation club account, which differs from regular savings accounts by restricting withdrawals until a specified disbursement date. This can be particularly effective for ensuring that savings are not touched until your trip.

Monitor Your Progress

Create and stick to your budget using free online tools, or consult a financial advisor for personalized guidance. Regularly review your budget and savings progress, adjusting as needed to stay on track toward your travel goals.

By getting smart with your budget and sticking to a savings plan, you can pile up enough cash for your travels without skimping on your other needs.

Cut Costs

Getting creative with your spending can lead to significant savings. It’s all about balancing your priorities. Covering necessities like housing is non-negotiable, but what about other expenses?

Evaluate What’s Unnecessary: Think about it—do you need to eat out three times a week? Could you maybe cut it down to once? Or perhaps you could ditch that pricey cable package for a more affordable streaming service. It’s about making small changes that add up.

Big-Ticket Savings: Look over your major expenses to see where you can trim the fat. A cheaper internet package or phone plan might also be a good option.

Increase Your Income: If you think you’ve earned it, don’t hesitate to ask for a raise or aim for a promotion; any extra income can go straight into your travel fund.

It boils down to how much you value travel and what you’re willing to do to make it happen. Every dollar you save is a step closer to your next adventure.

Maximize Credit Card Points and Reward Programs for Travel

image shows a top-down view of a person sitting on a carpet, with various credit cards and mobile phones spread out around them. The person is dressed casually in blue sneakers and jeans and is holding a credit card and a notebook, as they plan their credit card travel points strategy.

Saving money on travel isn’t just about cutting costs and setting budgets. It’s also about maximizing other forms of earnings, like credit card points and rewards programs. These can be fantastic ways to save on flights, hotels, and other travel expenses.

How to Use Credit Cards to Your Advantage: Many people don’t realize the potential savings they miss when using debit cards for everything. By switching to travel credit cards and using them responsibly, you can accumulate points quickly to book almost free travel. Numerous courses and websites can teach you how to use travel credit cards effectively.

Leverage Loyalty Programs: Additionally, participating in loyalty programs that offer points for staying at certain hotels or flying with specific airlines can significantly boost your savings. These points can add up and help you reduce travel costs greatly.

Our Experience with Points: Typically, we use points to cover flights and accommodations. However, using points isn’t as valuable for booking cruises, so we pay in cash. To offset these costs, we make sure to book everything else—as flights to the cruise departure city and hotel stays before or after the cruise—with points.

Key Tip for Successful Travel Hacking: Always Pay Your Balance in Full
Pay off your credit card balance every month. This helps you avoid interest and debt and making sure you get all the travel rewards without the debt. Don’t charge anything you can’t pay for at the end of the billing cycle.

Here’s a Simple Steps to Maximizing Credit Card Travel Rewards:

  • Apply for travel rewards credit cards that offer points for every dollar spent.
  • Use these cards for all daily expenses like gas, groceries, and utilities to maximize point accumulation.
  • Be aware of sign-up bonuses that can be incredibly rewarding. These bonuses often provide enough points for a roundtrip flight if you meet the minimum spending requirement within a specified time frame.

Beginner-Friendly Credit Cards to Consider:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve
  • Capital One Venture X
  • Bilt Mastercard (useful for paying rent and earning points)
  • American Express Gold

Keep an Eye on Offers: Monitoring monthly credit card offers for specific discounts on travel-related expenses is worthwhile. For instance, American Express once offered a $250 statement credit after spending $1000 with Norwegian Cruise Line, which we used to our advantage.

Learn More: Maximizing points for travel isn’t complicated, but there is so much more to learn. We suggest further exploring resources like The Points Guy, Upgraded Points, Max Miles Points, Geobreeze Travel, and Travel Mom Squad. These sites offer detailed guides, free courses, and tutorials that help you navigate the world of travel points.

Find the Best Deals

Research Your Way to Savings
Saving money for travel isn’t just about cutting costs; it’s also about being smart with where and how you spend. Doing thorough research to find the best deals can significantly reduce your travel expenses, allowing you to book your vacation sooner and start saving for the next one.

Leverage Online Travel Tools
The internet offers countless travel resource tools to help you find the best travel deals. You can save significant money by using online platforms to compare prices on flights, accommodations, and more.

Creative Ways to Save Money For Travel

image depicts a stylized light bulb with a colorful mosaic design, positioned above an outlined box with the phrase "THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX" integrated into its shape

Now that you’ve learned the key tips let’s explore some outside-the-box ideas to grow your travel savings.

Use Your Tax Return Refund

A tax return refund can seriously boost your travel fund. Instead of spending it right away on junk and you’re debt-free, consider using it to pay for major travel expenses like flights or a cruise.

Start a Travel Savings Jar

Don’t underestimate the value of saving loose change! Setting up a piggy bank can slowly but surely add up. We’ve managed to use ours for daily spending money on our vacations just from the change we’ve saved over time. These days, it’s harder to save as much as before due to frequent credit card use, but every little bit helps.

Sell Unwanted Items

Look around your home for items you no longer use or need. Selling these items online or through a garage sale can turn clutter into cash. Use popular platforms like eBay, Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp, or Poshmark to reach buyers and boost your travel fund. We’v done this just to pay off debt in the past, it’s a huge help.

Cut Back on Grocery and Dining Expenses

Modify your grocery shopping habits by setting a lower budget and sticking to it. Also, consider reducing how often you dine out. Cooking more meals at home and bringing lunch to work can save a surprising amount over time, allowing you to allocate more towards travel.

Implement a No-Spend Challenge

Challenge yourself to spend only a month on essentials. This can help you see potential savings and make long-term changes to your spending habits. Any money you would have spent can go straight into your travel fund.

Use Cash-Back Apps and Websites

Cash-back apps like Rakuten or Honey offer rebates or cash back on online purchases, which you can put directly into your travel savings. The Honey app is also great at finding coupon codes to save money on your purchase.

Automate Savings with Financial Apps

Use apps that round up your transactions to the nearest dollar and save the difference or automatically transfer small amounts to savings based on your spending habits. Apps like Acorns can help with this.

Start a Side Hustle

If you need additional income for travel, consider starting a side hustle. Opportunities range from driving for Uber or Lyft to freelancing in writing, virtual assisting, web design, or social media management. Even pet or house sitting through sites like Rover or Trusted House Sitters can provide extra funds for your travels.

Invest Spare Change in Stocks

Consider using an investment app like Stash, which allows you to invest small amounts of money into stocks or ETFs. You can start with just a few dollars and potentially grow your savings by investing a small amount every week. We invest a small amount weekly in our Stash app and watch the savings grow. from everyday purchases. This approach builds your travel fund and introduces you to the basics of investing, helping you diversify your saving strategies.


Kathy Ava

Meet Kathy Ava, a food, travel, and cruise writer based in Los Angeles/Pasadena, and the owner and main writer of Tasty Itinerary. With over 20 years of experience planning trips and logistics at her full-time job and for herself, she's become a pro at crafting unforgettable tasty itineraries. She's always on the hunt for delicious, fun travel destinations and cruise itineraries. She firmly believes that life is short and we must make the most of it, so always say yes to dessert.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. These are all such great tips for saving little and often. It’s amazing how quickly you can accumulate funds. I always like to keep a travel destination in mind so whenever I’m struggling to save I look at blogs and pictures to give me some motivation!

    Great read as ever! Xx

    1. Keeping a destination in mind is so helpful. For us, as soon as we book a flight that seems like go-time for us. WE are so focused on saving for that vacation. It’s a little harder without having that flight or cruise booked. Saving is important so we always try to save, but when we know we have a trip coming up, we go hardcore.

      It’s so nice to see your comment! Hope all is well and you’re safe!

      1. We are well thankfully, hope you are too. I don’t get online as much as I used to, but it’s really lovely to catch up on your blog! Can’t wait to start planning some new travels, for now I’ll just dream… xx

  2. These are so great! We try to do our best with rewards cards (we also love CSR!) and I once banked enough spending $$ for a weeklong trip by doing $20 cash back every time we grocery shopped! I could be better about the eating out – stay at home has helped us realize that.

    I’ll definitely be sharing these tips!

    1. Eating out is one of my weaknesses. It’s so hard not to! The beginning of the pandemic, I was ordering out via Door Dash constantly and I had to like put the breaks after seeing my credit card bill. Eeek. Need to save cause I have no idea what the future holds.

      Thanks so much for the comment!

  3. Awesome tips! I know my biggest hurdle in life from saving money is by not bringing my own lunch to work. Oh my god, my coworker introduced me to this omelette wrap by work and one day, I got that (2.50 avocado charge), bag of chips, a small coffee, and a water and it came to $17 and some change. No lie. So I’m at least trying to avoid that spot. Or when I go, I just get the wrap. I also have a Swell water bottle coming so I’ll save funds with that and the environment. Win-win!?
    Thanks for all these awesome tips! Going to start saving now!

    1. Buying lunch just makes life easy and also I’m sure the omelette wrap taste better than anything you can bring from home. Absolutely nothing wrong with treating yourself once a week or something. It’s when it’s every single day that adds up quick! Multiple $17 by all the days you go to work. After a couple of months, that is a weekend trip.

  4. I saw your grocery tip and got anxiety lol Not because it’s a bad tip but because I know how much we spend on groceries, especially with dietary BS. Our groceries are definitely the cost of vacations, hahaha, and if we ever need to knock off $20 each month to save…maybe, just MAYBE, I’ll knock off some wine. Ohhhh, who the f am I kidding?! Bye fresh veggies; bye… lol I think this tip is especially helpful, though, for avoiding loved and coveted specialty stores when trying to save (for us). They shall remain nameless but you know who I mean… We don’t really need some of those yummy treats in our lives. Well, we do…but sacrifice, man!

    Cutting back on takeout and dinners out is a helpful and great tip, too. In a past lifetime, I dated this guy who loved to eat out. He was hard to feed, which made me never want to cook either. Plus he needed endless entertainment. God, he sounds like the douche he turned out to be lol!!! So you know how BOA or most bank statements break down your expenses each month. OMG it was ALL EATING OUT. And wayyyyyy back in that lifetime, that was very bad for my savings.

    I love the tax refund idea!! I am all about direct depositing, too. As a self-employed person, I recently learned to have separate accounts to divide money into directed at and for specific funds. It’s amazing what you can do with different accounts and when you see the money actually going into them.

    Great post! Can we travel yet? Now? Now?! I will say that this pandemic has greatly helped us save.

    1. In my mind, I had replied to your comment. Just realized I never actually typed it out.

      FOOD is a huge part of our monthly budget. Seeing the pie graph every year when I get my Amex statement is always much bigger than all the other categories. It’s scary. We loved to eat out. We spent a lot more when we both drank. Thankfully, we’ve saved a bit since we cut back on drinking. Of course, you shouldn’t cut back as you know, you are the UNCORKED librarian. Need to live up to the name.

      I am so ready to travel! But seriously not sure what we will be getting ourselves into when we do.