Want to travel but think you can't afford it? Check out these easy 25 ways to afford travel and save money on your next trip!

(Co-written with my fiancé Trevor Korpi)

When I talk about my travels, usually the first question I get asked is, how do you afford to travel? A few weeks back, I wrote this post about how I believe that “not having the money” is the biggest load of BS when it comes to making excuses not to travel. I offered a few suggestions on how I personally save to afford my travel, and many of you wanted to find out other ways you can save money! Thus, my fiancé (and my co-pilot in all of my travels) and I put together this nifty list of 25 tips to help you afford travel. You will see that this list is divided into two categories; tips on how to save money beforehand to afford travel, and tips on how to save money during your travels.

TIPS ON SAVING MONEY BEFOREHAND TO AFFORD TRAVEL

-Make a financial plan
How far out is your trip? Budget how much money you need to save and figure out how much money you need to set aside in the upcoming months. The earlier you start planning, the better. Putting aside $20 a week adds up quickly!

-Cancel cable
We cancelled our cable to afford travel. The only thing we missed about it was ESPN to get all of the NFL games! If need be, we go to a bar to watch the big game if our regular channels don’t get it.

-Donate plasma
I started donating again this year and made a promise to myself to not touch the money. A friend of mine donated plasma all throughout college, didn’t touch his money, and went backpacking in Europe upon graduation! You can make some serious dough donating! I recently went and there was a special at my center where they gave $150 for the first three donations! Score.

-Cancel the gym membership
Gym memberships can be an extra $30-50 a month! Opt out, buy some workout DVDS, and get fit inside. No excuses!

-Keep a change bucket
My fiance and I save our loose change in a large bucket and cash it in every year for our trip. Last year we had over $100 in the bucket!

-Ask for gift cards for a gas station & hotels.com for Christmas/and or birthdays
What an easy way to get money for travel! Paying for gas and hotels are no fun…so why not ask for some help for Christmas or for your birthday?

-Be more low maintenance with your beauty routine
Spending money on makeup, expensive hair products, and constantly getting your hair touched up at the salon can be extremely costly. Cut back a little and put the extra money in your travel fund.

-Limit the shopping sprees
Do you really need to spend $500 every month on clothes?

-Make your own coffee
Buying that $4 latte every morning is an expensive habit.

-Give up a bad habit
Are you drinking more than you should lately? Have you always wanted to give up smoking? Quit a bad habit and put the money you’re saving toward traveling.

-Quit going out for lunch
Going out for lunch all the time with your coworkers adds up quickly! Opt out sometimes and bring a lunch.

TIPS ON SAVING MONEY DURING TRAVELING

Use apps such as Expedia and Trip Advisor to book trips in bulk
Chances are, you can book your hotel and flight together and the cost will be much cheaper than if you were to do it separately through the airlines and hotel itself. In addition, these companies offer rewards programs to collect points and save money.

Book flights on Tuesdays
Theoretically, according to Fare Compare, flights are cheapest on Tuesdays at 3pm.

-Book flights at less popular boarding times
It’s not uncommon that we will book a trip that starts in the middle of the week because travel rates are cheaper during weekdays. For example, our flight will board at 11pm on a Wednesday night. It’s a hell of a lot cheaper than flying on Friday or Sunday.

-Get a credit card that has cash-back option or travel rewards
Use your credit card and use it as a debit card. Obviously, pay it off immediately so you don’t hurt your credit score. Many credit cards have options where you can score points for flights, hotels, etc. Use these to your advantage!

-Camp
We have camped on two our hugest road trips, at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona and in Acadia National Park, Maine. It was a blast, and we didn’t have to spend $100+ a night!

-Use Gas Buddy to compare gas prices
Download the free app Gas buddy. It’s a great resource to check and compare what the cheapest gas prices are in your area.

-Be picky with your airports
Don’t just fly out of the nearest airport; take time to check out the prices all around you and see what your options are.

-Get outdoors
A lot of national parks have either extremely cheap or free admission, and are absolutely gorgeous. An example of this is Badlands National Park and Rocky Mountain National Park.

-Speeders: Slow down!
Calling all speeders out there! Did you know that driving over 60 MPH is majorly killing your gas tank? According to Fuel Economy, gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 50 mph. You can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 50 mph is like paying an additional $0.15 per gallon for gas. If you are going on a road trip, take it easy and lay off the gas petal. I especially know how hard this one can be because I’m a speeder myself, but I promise that lower speeds will save you money in the long run.

-Use cruise control
This will save you from speeding!

-Stay in budget motels
Seriously guys, unless you’re Donald Trump, you don’t need to stay in a 5-star hotel. I wont lie to you guys. Sometimes, we have stayed in some pretty dumpy motels at about $40 a nigh. But honestly, grow some balls. Bring a sleeping bag, put it over the bed, and call it a night. If you are out and about exploring, you probably will not be spending much time in your room anyways.

-Skip the souvenirs 
I rarely ever buy expensive souvenirs from my travel stops. To me, my pictures alone are great souveneires. If I ever buy a gift, it’s a coffee mug from my current destination. The key question to ask is: Do you really need this?

-Pack lunches for the road
Food adds up quick when you’re spending money going out to eat every single meal. We like to pack healthy lunches (sandwiches, granola bars, apples, etc.) for the road or flight. Avoid those expensive airport restaurants and frequent fast food road stops. Plan ahead!

-Use fuel reward cards
Many gas stations offer rewards for gassing up! Take advantage of them!

Do you have any tips to contribute? Where is the coolest place you have ever traveled to? Leave me a comment below!

Xoxo,

Like this post? Check out these other travel posts!
25 Road Trip Tips
The Single Excuse That’s Holding You Back From Seeing the World
10 Best Lessons Traveling Taught Me
7 Places in America to Travel To

 

 

Be sure to follow my travels on Instagram!

  • Great tips! Although I cannot get on board with the cheap (possibly nasty) motels. I’m TERRIFIED of bed bugs! Even in nice hotels I check the room for bed bugs. I have been spoiled traveling with my aunt for 13 years – we stay in some nice places :)

    • Don’t even bring up bed bugs to me! Out of sight, out of mind!!! lol

  • Sweet Right Here

    I second the camping idea! My husband and I, before we had kids, would always splurge and spend one day in a hotel, but for the rest of the days we would camp at a nearby state park!

    • Camping is so much cheaper and SO nice!!!

  • Lindsay Katherine

    These are such great tips! Usually when I read posts like this, the tips aren’t really practical or measurable, but yours totally are. My husband and I started making coffee at home, and I am close to filling my change jar – can’t wait to see what that comes out to. While we want to travel with our daughter, I do want to wait until she’s a little older. For now, I can use your tips to put in her college fund. I think I told you before, but I really want to do traveling in the US with my family like you did over the summer!

    • Aw what a great compliment! Thanks Lindsay! I am surprised by how quickly our change jars fill up. Trevor kept putting his loose change in the jar and over the course of 1-1.5 years he had over $150! It was crazy.

  • Going out for lunch definitely kicks me in the butt a lot. I need to start saving so my trip in February.

    • It’s okay Alanna…I do it a lot as well!! I’m working on eating out less!

  • Dia

    I love this post because while it may take a while to say up for bigger trips (like 2 weeks off and a trip overseas) travel is so doable. You have to just plan. I think one reason travel seems so hard is cause most people try to do it all at once. I say plan ahead I’m going to la in August for a blogger conference I’ve already paid for my ticket. I plan to pay for the hotel in March and my ticket is taken care of. Spreading it out makes it feel like less of a financial hit

    • GREAT tips. Spreading it out helps so much!! I’m currently doing that for my wedding. It’s not for another 2 years. I paid for the photographer last month, and I will be paying for the DJ in about 2 months. It doesn’t make it feel so expensive and out of my price range when I can spread it out.

  • Thanks for these tips! Fun fact, sometimes depending on the route a flight will be incredibly cheap on the weekend because people aren’t traveling for business. Popular routes like JFK-LHR or even domestic like DC-JFK can be cheaper on weekends because most of their business are from business travelers, who don’t travel on weekends. The worst time to book a flight is usually Thursday!

    But I couldn’t agree more about the $4 latte!

    • Thanks for the tip, Hannah! I’m not a frequent flier; I would love to learn more about flying!

  • Liz

    Such great tips!! I saved all of my change for a few years and it added up to over $1,000.. which paid for almost all of my flight to italy!

    • That’s UNBELIEVABLE!!!! Just wow.

  • Some great tips! I have a friend who’s buys plane tickets with the money she gets from collecting bottles and cans off the side of the road. Keeping litter off the street and making money ++++

    • What a great idea! Why didn’t I think of that!

  • Definitely need to stop going to coffee shops and eating out for lunch!! Thanks for the great tips!

  • Very good tips! I won a trip to Milan, Italy and a trip to New York. I also was given enough money to cover taxes.

    • That’s amazing. You are so lucky!! How did you win those ?!

  • Antonio Vereen

    This was a great post! All good ideas for when I go home next summer. I am going to share this with my wife so we can save some more. Now if I can get her to give up her gym membership…….!! :)

    • LOL!! I know that one can be tough for some people. Thanks for sharing! Where is home?

  • Cynthia @craftoflaughter

    Saving money is a great way to pay for travel and vacations! I love your suggestions and plan to add some to my list!

  • These are some great ideas to save money . I love traveling, but the cost is difficult sometimes.

    • I know :/ but planning makes it more affordable!

  • All great tips!
    I am going to start putting all of Michael and I’s loose change in a bucket to save for traveling.

    xoxo, Jenny

  • Shann Eva

    Great trips! We actually just started a change jar for a trip that we’re planning. I’m keeping it on the washer/dryer because I always find lots of change in there! We also cancelled cable a while back, and don’t miss it at all. Well, maybe Bravo a little bit 😉

    • That’s awesome! Yes, when we canceled Cable, Trevor only missed ESPN. I didn’t miss it at all! I usually only watch Netflix on TV or prime time shows like the Today Show.

  • Great tips! I never considered donating plasma or any other medical-related ways to make money, but I’ve had some friends who’ve done it with good success. Interesting thought!

    • It’s not the most enjoyable but so far I have over $400 saved just for doing that for the past 2 months!

  • Awesome tips! I always say that saving for travel is totally feasible if it’s really a priority.

    Best Wishes,
    Allison | http://www.LiveLifeWellBlog.com

  • These are great tips! Traveling is something my husband and I always want to do more of but the timing financially is never right. I will be trying some of these tips so that I can make traveling more of a priority and go on our next great adventure! Great post!

    Molly | http://www.stylemissmolly.com

    • Thanks for visiting my blog, Molly! I hope you two get to travel more in the future :)

  • So many great ideas! We always use our miles to travel and hotel points! I love your list and I LOVE that you LOVE to travel! Makes my heart happy!

    • AW…YOU make my heart happy!!!! xo

  • Great ideas! I wrote a similar post about ways to afford travel. I can’t agree more with all of your ideas…they really do make a difference! “Not having enough money to travel” really isn’t an excuse. It depends on what you make a priority in your life. I’d rather travel than have a fancy car, a huge house, or go to concerts, etc.

    • Same here! Although I will admit I’m a concert junkie…but my house is small and I don’t have a lot of “big” things!!

  • We do so many of these things and they’re so helpful! We’re big believers that travel, adventure, and all the wonderful people you meet are definitely worth the sacrifices you make to afford it! Thanks for sharing these!

    • I’m so glad we share the right mindset (:

  • Dianne Harper Kelley

    Browsing and came across your site…..great tips. I’ve used many of the tips you listed, but I’d also like to add a couple others that we use to save for our travel time.

    (1) I’ve budgeted household expenses and bill pay from hubby’s regular 40-hour work week. If and when he does work overtime, I always put this extra money in my *Monkey Jar* (some people have a cookie jar, but many moons ago my Mom called hers the Monkey Jar and I picked it up and use it as my own.)

    (2) When doing grocery shopping (which we all must do) I look at sales flyers and use coupons from time to time (I need to get better organized to take advantage of coupons!) The dollars I save is shown at the bottom of my receipt at the grocery store we use and this money is tossed into the *Monkey Jar* too. Hey, 50-cent savings here, a dollar there added up to over $300 in a 3-month time span which we used for our quarterly weekend get-a-way.

    Yes, you read correctly…..instead of taking one BIG trip each year (summer or fall because of our work schedules), we take at least one long weekend trip every quarter. This stretches our travel time throughout the year. :)

    • These are amazing tips, Dianne! Thanks SO much for sharing! Love the idea of a “Monkey Jar” :)

      • Dianne Harper Kelley

        The *Monkey Jar* is a great little tool and one year we chose to earmark it for our Christmas gift buying monies — we had almost $950 in that jar!! :)

      • WOW! That is seriously so awesome!! What a wonderful tip. Thank your sharing!!

  • “Sometimes, we have stayed in some pretty dumpy motels at about $40 a night. But honestly, grow some balls.” LOL!! I wish I could grow some balls and do this, but after age 40 I just can’t hang with certain levels of saggy mattresses and germs. :-) But, I tend to spend more time in my room than most since I use vacation time to write. Loved this post!

    • lol!!! I’ll admit…I wrote this post almost 2 years ago and I’m starting to feel the same way you do! Lol