8 Smart Tips: How to Save Money to Travel

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Wanna know how to save money to travel?

Saving money is important. Having travel savings is even more important for a traveler or just anyone wanting to achieve their vacation goals. This is why you have to think outside the box and figure out ways to add money to your travel savings.

When there is a will, there is a way.

If you want to go on vacation, you have to save money. Not only to book it, but for the expenses along the way as well.

Sometimes our budgets only go so far and we have to get creative. We need to make this vacation happen.

8 Tips to save more money to travel:

  1. Set-up a Direct Deposit
  2. Use Your Tax Return Refund
  3. Travel Savings Jar
  4. Sell Stuff You Don’t Need Anymore
  5. Save Money from Your Grocery Budget
  6. Eat Out Less
  7. Work a Side Hustle
  8. Learn to Use Reward Credit Cards
how to save money to travel | blog cover

8 Tips for How to Save Money to Travel

Set-up Direct Deposit into Savings or Vacation Club Account

First of all, you should have separate savings account for travel or a vacation club account. If you don’t, go to the bank and open one today.

Our banks make it easy for us to save with all the options.

You can either:
a) open a savings account,
b) take advantage of their vacation club,
c) both

Both? 

If you can afford it or budget right, why not? If you can’t, either or is fine! Just make sure you start some sort of savings. 

Then once you have a travels savings account, you can automatically set a direct deposit from your checking. Choose an amount that you won’t miss. An amount that will help you reach your vacation goals and fits your budget. Watch the account grow.

A vacation club account is slightly different. You can set up a set dollar amount to be deducted from your checking account and deposited into the vacation club account. At a certain time later in the year, the bank will disburse the money. Until then, you’re not allowed to withdraw from the account until disbursement date. You should always check the terms with your bank.

The best part about these two options: the money is safe and it will be accruing interest.

Save more money to travel

Set Aside Your Tax Return Refund

So, you completed your tax returns. Now, Uncle Sam owes you a sum worthy of celebration. By celebrating, I mean, booking a flight.

First of all, just a little reminder that this post is on how to accrue travel savings and not how to pay off your debt. However, if you feel inclined to be responsible and use this unforeseen amount to pay bills, you do what you gotta do. You have 7 other ways to save for travel.

Where were we? Oh right, celebrating. 

Whether you book a vacation right away or set it aside and deposit it into your travel savings account that is up to you. Start dreaming and planning that future vacation.  

Where do you want to go?

Travel Savings Jar

Cha-ching!

Start saving up your extra change! You have no idea how much change can add up quickly. We once cashed in our travel savings jar and ended up leaving on vacation with an extra $500. 

And I know, who carries cash nowadays? That’s our problem – we never have cash! In return, we don’t save as much change as fast as we used to. So we make it a prerogative to sometimes withdraw extra money when we come across cash-only retailers. The extra cash and change end up in our change jar. 

Set up a piggy bank. It can be an actual piggy bank, one of those cool digital coin banks, a mason jar, or a glass jug.

Sell Odds & Ends Around Your Home

Look around you, I bet you’ll find a few things collecting dust that no longer is serving their purpose or you no longer want.

At least once a year, hubby and I look around our house, garage, and anywhere we keep things to see what we can get rid of. There is always the odd piece of furniture. The electronic device we bought and stopped using, but still works great. The piece of art we never hung. Old books. The list goes on. 

Did you spot something? 

Now, sell it! 

You can go on eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Offer Up, and many other sites to sell these 2nd hand items. 

Make that extra chedda’! And then stock it away as part of your travel funds.

Travel Resources to Help You Book Your Next Trip

Here are the travel resources we use to research and book our travel. Start planning!

Save Money from your Grocery Budget

Instead of spending $100 on groceries, push to only spent $80 and save the extra $20 for travel. 

My personal favorite when I’m at the grocery store is to pay with my ATM and then withdraw an extra $20 for my travel fund. Oops, I went over my grocery budget… all for the sake of travel.

You know you would have probably spent it on Starbucks later.

Cut Back on Lunches and Dinners Out

Bring lunch to work. Prepare more dinners at home. 

I understand it can suck. I LOVE to eat out – anything not to do the dishes. I am lazy about packing lunches because I rather keep the leftovers for dinner the next night. 

Eat ramen. PB&Js. Remember the days of mac n’ cheese for dinner? Who am I kidding, I still eat mac n’ cheese for dinner. 

Think of all pizza you’re going to eat when you make it to Italy

Seriously, do you know how much money is spent eating out all the time? Have you ever calculated it? I have and it’s scary. 

It adds up and we don’t even realize it. If you live in a city like Los Angeles, as I do, you most likely spend $10 or more a day for lunch. That’s $50 or more a workweek. $200 a month. Let’s not even add up the dinners as it’s a $50 minimum per couple without drinks for one night. 

The point is to try to cut back. Set aside the money you would have spent out on lunch or dinner, deposit it into your savings account.

Get a Side Hustle

Sometimes we just need to work a few extra hours here and there to make enough for the things we want.

Think about what other jobs you can do to make some extra cash. Keep that goal of vacationing on a Hawaii beach in mind when you’re brainstorming, it will motivate you.

Do you like dogs? Set up a dog walking service on Rover. Maybe you can dog-sit on the weekends. 

See if you can work a couple of nights serving drinks at a local bar.

Mow your neighbors’ lawns. Drive for Uber. Work at a local pizzeria, delivering pizza. 

What do you do for work? Is there anything you can do on the side outside of work hours? Graphic design? Photography? Website development? 

Are you crafty? Do you knit? Maybe set up an Etsy shop.

The possibilities are endless. There are so many ways to make extra money. You just have to think outside the box. 

And as always, take the extra money and add it to your travel savings. 

Apply and Use Rewards Credit Card 

Before we get further into how to maximize credit card rewards for travel, I want to make sure you fully understand: YOU MUST PAY OFF YOUR FULL STATEMENT BALANCE EVERY SINGLE MONTH ON THE DUE DATE IN ORDER FOR THIS TO WORK. You can then reap the rewards without going into debt.

There are a variety of reward credit cards out there, all with a different set of perks and rewards. You must research and choose the card that will best fit your needs and lifestyle.

When you do, in order to maximize those rewards and use either the cash back or points towards travel, you should use your credit card to pay for everything. Even the bag of chips at 7/11. 

I have a Chase Sapphire Reserved and with it, I pay all the bills that allow me to use a credit card, our groceries, doctor visits, vet visits, Starbucks runs… you name it. Oh, you take a Visa? I whip out the card. Since it’s all within my monthly budget, I’m just using my card to accrue the points and at the end of the month I pay it all off. 

What can I do with these points? I can book my next vacation with these points. The more points I have, the more opportunities I have to use them for flights, resorts, and cruises.

I had a Virgin America card back when it existed and I was able to book about 5 free flights with the points I had accumulated with it.

You can do the same with a cashback card as well. I have an American Express card that rewards me with 6% cash back for groceries. You bet that I’m using this credit card every time I buy groceries. I would have paid for the groceries with my debit card. Now, I’ll just pay the amount to American Express.

The dollars add up quickly!

It’s basically free money… as long as you use your credit card appropriately.

As a beginner, you may want to look into a Capital One Venture Card or a Chase Sapphire Preferred card. 

Of course, I am not a guru on this and I won’t pretend to be. I will refer you to an actual travel points guru: The Points Guy


Hope these tips help you get started to save for travel or add more to your travel savings.

Do you have a travel savings account? How are you going to start saving for your next vacation? What creative ways do you use to save for vacation?


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When I’m not daydreaming about my next vacation, drinking coffee, or playing with my dogs, you can find me on InstagramTwitter, or Facebook for more posts and stories! Would love to hear from you!

9 thoughts on “8 Smart Tips: How to Save Money to Travel”

  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

    Reply
    • 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!

      Reply
      • 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

        Reply
  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!

    Reply
    • 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!

      Reply
  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!

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply

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