I just wanted to get some ideas about how other people are saving for their upcoming trips. I've read lots of tips and advice, from cutting out coffee breaks and unsubscribing from magazine subscriptions (saving $200 per month atm) to getting rid of my TV (sold for $500 and saving $120 per month) and biking everywhere (free!). It was a bit harder to find a second job that fit in with my schedule but I've recently started hosting fun experiences for other travelers in my town and I'm making about $250 per month from that now. Piece of cake considering that it's stuff I would have already done.
I'm having a blast saving for my trip (Thailand in mid-2013) and I find that getting rid of things that aren't all that necessary and don't drive me to my travel goal has uncluttered my life. I already feel freer and I feel more adventurous exploring cool things in my own town.
Share your saving stories with me and let's motivate one another! I'm curious what other people are doing to save up for their travels?
#1 ColetteG has been a member since 12/11/2012. Posts: 1
I don't buy the whole "skip the coffee" bit. For me, it was all about big sacrifices and very hard work. I got rid of my swanky ride and replaced it with a '94 Jeep just for getting around town. But I didn't need to use it much because I got rid of my 3-bedroom house out of town in favor of a cheap studio apartment right in the city where I was living back then. Work, groceries, parks, gym etc. were all within walking distance.
I worked two jobs bartending - one restaurant and one nightclub - for over two years. Normally I worked 6 or 7 shifts a week spread over 5 or 6 nights, but I picked up any shifts co-workers would offer me. At one point I worked 37 nights in a row, and during busy summer weeks I pulled up to 13 shifts in a week, which translates to 70+ hours (and globs of cash). I only took vacations over those two years to visit family for a few days here and there or to attend weddings of close friends and family. I even left my parents' house and drove 3 hours back to my city on Christmas day to tend bar for a lucrative private party three years in a row.
During the process I also simplified my life considerably. I quit drinking (that was just a life choice, not a savings one) and learned to cook for myself. But the trick for me was to selectively treat myself. I still ate out with friends every week or two, didn't give up almost daily coffee/tea at my favorite cafe, and was always willing to spend on bettering myself, like gym membership, foreign language study, books on meditation and the like. Oh yeah and I kept Netflix so I could unwind and watch a movie when I wanted to.
For me it wasn't just about saving money, it was part of a whole life transformation with indefinite world travel as the goal. And you're right, getting rid of possessions is good for the soul. After the two years, I had enough saved to travel all over the world for 1-2 years straight without working. I gave the Jeep to a friend whose car had broken down, bought a new computer and gave my old one to another friend. I left 15 months ago, leaving behind little more than a few boxes of books and a bag of winter clothes. Now I live in Thailand permanently and have a job I love - and it ain't slinging cocktails!
I save money by not having a cell phone, by not having cable TV, by rarely eating out at home (USA) and by not owning a car or home. My big expense is my Jack Russell Terrier!
#4 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,093
I find saving money for the trip is only half the battle -- for me, at least in the past when I was taking longer trips -- far more difficult was sticking to a budget. It's easy to sit down and figure out on paper that you can "do" Thailand on 500 baht a day (you can) but in practise, I'd find it was a cumulative effect of little things that would forever throw me out of whack and on one occasion leaving me not only having to cut a trip short but also borrow money to get home.
Buying a newspaper every day (yeah ok, this was a few years ago) having a coffee with said newspaper (say 50 baht). Have a beer with lunch (extra 35 baht). Catching a taxi instead of a bus (extra 45 baht). Having laundry done rather than doing it yourself (say an average of 20 baht a day assuming you have it done once a week). Snacking on the street (say 30 baht).
These all seem like piddling amounts but you do all those daily and you've got an extra 180 baht per day in spending -- sure that isn't much -- but it is a LOT when you're trying to stick to 500 baht per day -- do that over a three month Thailand trip and you've got around 16,000 baht you didn't budget for...
And don't even get me started on the, "ok I'll just head out with these new friends for a couple of beers tonight" ... 1,500 baht later... + the cost for Nurofen for the morning after the night before!
Aside from the obvious self-control issues, I think the one really massive change that has made travelling on a tight budget more challenging is the pervasiveness of international access ATMs. When it was all just cash or TQs you had to be much more careful with managing your money as you couldn't just stumble out of a bar and withdraw another 4,000 baht (thank god!)
I think David makes some good points about saving for a trip, but equally, once you're on the road, if budgeting is an issue for you, it's very easy to see all that hard saving get blown out the window.
But travelling is meant to be fun and it's commonplace to meet people for whom the whole point of travel seems to be to save money, so there is a balance somewhere in between...
I just read a new ebook (The Non-Boring Money Travel Guide) that gives some good tips for people on all money aspects of a trip: how to set a budget, how to manage your money while travelling, and how to save money while travelling. It's written by a Kiwi who has travelled for many years around SEA, Australia and other parts of the world. She also posts her on TF sometimes (I think under the name Lis?).
To see the table of contents, go here: http://listraveltips.com/my-non-boring-travel-money-guide-is-free
(It was free on launch, as per the link - but it's now $3.99 on Amazon).
There's nothing too much new in here for experienced travellers (although I did pick up 1-2 handy tips/ideas), but it would definitely be useful to someone starting to plan their big trip.
(PS - these are non-affiliate links and I don't have a vested interest. Just thought it might be useful to other newbie travellers)
Good point Somtam on spending 20 or 30 baht 'here and there'. One lesson I learned the hard way is that when I'm in Southeast Asia, I need to think in terms of the local currencies and not US $. If you constantly compare everything to dollars, euros or pounds, it turns into "Oh this is only 65 cents, or that is only $7 but it would be $25 back home... Wheeeeeee...." Next thing I knew I was calling the airline to change my ticket and go home early because the well was drying up 6 weeks before 'planned'.
I've also found that it was at least 10 times easier to stick to my planned budget during the trips I took after I quit drinking.