It’s no secret that traveling takes a toll on your bank account. The cost of international travel is one of the biggest deterrents for young adults. But that doesn’t have to be the case – taking the international trip of your dreams is more than possible if you can learn to:
- Enjoy the hustle
- Commit to saving
- Travel smart & cheap
“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer”
With that in mind, my best advice to saving money for traveling is what I call the equality strategy of saving.
When it comes to money, I break all spending situations into 3 categories:
Needs – Anything that I need to live a comfortable life. These expenses are necessities – think back to elementary school lessons about needs vs. wants.
EXAMPLE: Rent, gas for my car, shampoo and conditioner, a winter jacket, the electric bill
General comforts & replacements – Things that are generally expected for living life in a first world country. I could live without them, but need them to maintain my professional, young adult lifestyle.
EXAMPLE: Replacement phone case, a pair of work pants when one pair wears out, a sandwich between work and lacrosse practice, coffee before a long drive, hair ties
Extras – anything else, generally stuff that I like and want but really don’t need
EXAMPLE: another pair of flip flops, decorative salt & pepper shakers, a bigger TV, a massage, luxury brand mascara
If the purchase in question falls into the last category, I consider its cost versus something I could instead purchase while traveling. It helps me put things into perspective – would I rather buy this designer purse (that I’ll be terrified of ruining anyway) orrrrr go skydiving in the Swiss Alps?
Designer purse – $300 = Skydiving above the Swiss Alps in Interlaken, Switzerland
Then I use my banking app to immediately transfer that cost into my savings account. If you’re prepared to spend that money anyways, why not make it disappear for a good reason?
Here are a few more comparisons to keep in mind:
Designer lipstick – $16 = 1 night + breakfast in Split, Croatia
Haircut, highlights, and products – $170 – Accommodation + food for 9 days in Lisbon, Portugal
Movie & popcorn – $20 = flight from London, England to Dublin, Ireland
Gel Manicure – $25 = 1 night in Amsterdam party hostel
Essie nail polish – $8 = Pizza and drink picnic in London
Panera lunch – $11 = 3 bottles of sangria in Malaga, Spain
New shirt – $35 = round trip train/bus ride from Munich and professionally guided tour of Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site
A Yankee candle – $18 = a bottle of wine, a baguette, and cheese in Paris (preferably while you sit under the Eiffel Tower)
New Nike sneakers – $90 = Round trip flight from London, England to Athens, Greece
This strategy is one of the main ways I have managed to save for my trips abroad, without feeling completely deprived. When you have a goal in mind, and manage to stay focused, the manicures and eating out don’t go missed. You won’t be thinking about that pair of shoes you could have bought when you’re riding a moped along the cliffs of the Amalfi Coast.