How to Actually Save Money for Travel

Tips on how to save money for travel.
Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Do you want to save for travel? Is money holding you back from traveling more? While you can certainly hack your way to free travel and find ways to travel inexpensively, the truth remains that you need money to travel the world – don’t believe anyone who tries to convince you otherwise.

I’m Danielle Desir and I help financially savvy travelers find creative ways to travel more while maintaining their financial responsibilities. While travel is one of my biggest financial priorities, there are lots of other things on my plate like paying off my mortgage and saving money to build a patio out back. With that being said to make it all work, I have to be creative.

If you’re looking for simple ways to save money for travel, let’s get to work. In no time you’ll be crossing off destinations and fun excursions off of your bucket list map. Here are three strategies that I use which will help you save for travel and ultimately see more zeros in your bank account overtime – no spreadsheets or bank statements required. For even more money-saving strategies to help make travel a financial priority in your life, grab a copy of my new book “Affording Travel“.

Tips to Save for Travel

How to Save for a Vacation

Danielle Desir: Tips for saving money for travel.
Step-by-step how I saved for a vacation to Curaçao.

1. Save money in your travel fund

If you want to make travel a financial priority in your life, I recommend starting a travel fund.

What is a travel fund?

A travel fund is a separate bank account dedicated to your travel savings and expenses. A travel fund allows you to be intentional about saving money for travel and when the time comes to book a flight deal, you don’t have to go into debt. With a travel fund, you always have a stash of cash to pull from for travel-related expenses.

What are the benefits of having a travel fund?

  • Set money aside for travel effortlessly
  • Keeps track of your travel savings and expenses all in one place

Press play to listen to this episode sharing why you need a travel fund.

Helpful Tip: Pay for travel expenses with your travel fund and only spend what you have.

My Mindset: Although I love to travel, travel isn’t worth getting into debt over. Debt is a vicious cycle which is hard to get out of so instead, save money for a trip and travel when you can responsibly cover all of your expenses.

How I do it: I set aside a fixed amount of money per month in my travel fund, a separate bank account devoted solely to travel.

2. Automate your savings

After you’ve created a travel fund, automate your savings.

Automation takes care of all the heavy lifting for you so you never have to worry about moving money into your travel fund.

Helpful Tip: Set up direct deposit with your employer and choose the amount you want transferred into your travel fund every paycheck.

With direct deposit, a portion of your paycheck will automatically be put into your travel fund as soon as you get paid.

Alternatively, you can set regular automatic transfers from any bank account into your travel fund weekly, biweekly or monthly. Pick a transfer frequency that works for you.

Why save for travel regularly?  

Saving the same amount every month helps you not only build consistent savings habits (which is essential to financial success) but you also learn to live without the extra cash which is a great thing.  

Saving regularly is one of the important things that I teach my students in the Back to Budgeting Basics course. If you need help organizing your financial life and can benefit from taking a closer look at your budget, join my free REVIVE Your Budget Challenge.

3. Use automated micro-saving apps

Micro-saving apps are a great way to save money for travel.

Apps like Digit (available for both Android and iOS devices) helps you save effortlessly by saving small amounts of money for you every day. All you have to do is connect your checking account and Digit handles the rest automatically. With Digit, in a few months, I’ve saved $665 towards a summer trip to Orlando without intentionally trying. I’ll take it!

Micro-investing apps are another great way to help you save money to travel. Acorns is one of my favorite micro-investing apps which allows you to invest your spare change.

Use Acorns to pad your emergency fund, travel fund or reach any other savings goal you may be working on.

The good thing about these apps is that you can withdraw your money at any time, no penalties or questions asked.

What's the difference between a trip or vacation? How to save for a vacation?
Mambo Beach in Curaçao.

4. Savings Challenges

Another easy way to save for travel is to join a savings challenge where you save a set amount of money every month.

Savings challenges make saving money more fun and at the end of the challenge, you’ll have a stash of cash waiting for you at the finish line.

Here are some popular savings challenges:

  • 52-Week Saving Challenge
  • Reverse 52-Week Saving Challenge

With the 52-Week Saving Challenge in week 1, you save $1. In week 20 you save $20 until you save $52 in week 52. By the end of the challenge, you save $1,378.

The Reverse 52-Week Challenge is the reverse of the 52-Week Challenge. With the Reverse 52-Week Saving Challenge, you start off saving $52 in the first week, $20 by week 20 and $1 in week 52.

Did you enjoy this article, join my tribe on Facebook! Financially Savvy Travelers is where I offer up my travel advice, money tips and share the best resources.

For even more inspiration, you can also follow my Saving Money for Travel Pinterest board!

Want to make travel a financial priority in your life?

Grab a copy of my new book “Affording Travel on Amazon! It shares the exact saving strategies that I’ve used to travel to over 27 countries and four continents.

How do you afford to travel the world?
6 replies
  1. Rebecca Gardner says:

    I like your suggestion to set up a direct deposit so part of our paycheck will go to our travel fund each month. My husband and I want to save up so we can take a week-long relaxing vacation this summer. Using your tips should make it easier to save the money we need and book a hotel soon!

  2. Daniel Murry says:

    Great article! Traveling the world is a really fun and fulfilling experience, but it can also be very expensive. Setting aside some funds on a monthly basis for traveling can really help a lot in building your budget. There are also financing options available for vacations or travel expenses, and it’s honestly very useful if you’re well-disciplined enough to pay them back on time. One of the best choices you have is getting a loan against your home’s equity, which is called a home equity loan. You’ll be using the equity of your property to receive an equivalent amount in the loan and be able to use it for many reasons including vacations and other personal endeavors. It’s best to learn more about all the options you have if you’re planning to travel with a minimal budget and you need to get out and explore soon.

  3. Mary Henry says:

    it’s always fun the way people travel are spending money, personally I think it’s more fun to travel and save, thanks for the good advice, I hope to apply them in my next trips.

  4. Laithan says:

    Great list! It’s really important to drive home the importance of paying for luxuries with saved money, rather than future earnings!

    If you have one holiday a year, and it typically costs $1,200, then the automated saving of $100 each month is far better than putting $1,200 on credit and being charged 25% interest!

    Thanks for sharing, I really enjoyed the read :)



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