Let’s start by getting the harsh truth out of the way: If you want to travel full time, you’re going to have to skip out on a lot of everyday pleasures. What I mean by that is, to save money to travel, you’re going to have to live a bit more simply. You’ll need to nix the things that a lot of people see as just a part of life.
I’ve been traveling for almost three and a half years, splitting my time between working on the road (doing different jobs like hospitality and guiding tours) to save money for my next trip and backpacking on a budget. There are certain things I’ve had to give up to make this a reality. Now, the good news: These things are super easy to remove, either all together or in part.
Whether you want to travel full time, save for your next trip or pad your savings, these money-saving tips will get you that extra bit of cash you’re looking for.
Click to read more about how a family of nine can afford to travel the world year-round.
Cook Your Own Food
Trust me — I know how tempting it is to go out for a nice brunch. I do it, too. But cooking your own meals, both at home and while traveling, saves you so much money. I know that if I want to travel the way that I do, dining out is just one of the things that I have to forgo.
Food is one of the biggest money vacuums, so it’s important to be conscious of it.
Start small. Limiting yourself to, say, one or two meals out per week could be the biggest money-saver ever. If you shop for a couple of basic meals, you can cook each week at home or in your lodgings while traveling, and it could be huge. It’s my best tip and one that consistently helps me stay on the road.
Stop Buying Name-Brand, High-End Things
My makeup is all from CVS. My clothes are from garage sales and consignment shops. I don’t buy new things that often, and you know what? I think I look fine.
By getting things you need more cheaply, or getting real about what you need (do you really need another pair of heels?), you can save hundreds. Honestly, hundreds. I’ve found tons of name-brand items for less than half the price in garage sales or stores like TJ Maxx, and no one knows the difference.
Forgo Luxurious Treatments Like Getting Your Hair and Nails Done
Some people might consider a monthly pedicure to be an immovable part of their routine, but by cutting that and other pampering procedures out, the savings can add up. I keep my nails cut and unpolished, and I only get haircuts when I need them. The same goes for massages and other services of that sort. Doing so helps me save those extra dollars for travel.
Quit That Expensive Gym Membership
I love a good yoga or spin class as much as the next person, and I might sometimes splurge if there’s a good deal, but honestly, running stairs at the harbor, hiking in the local hills or going on a run in the park gets you in shape just as much as the treadmill does. If you can discipline yourself, you don’t need a gym. The outdoors offers enough of a workout.
More on Unnecessary Expenses: 10 Really Dumb Ways Americans Waste Money
Exercising outside and exploring your neighborhood is also a great way to satisfy your wanderlust without leaving your hometown. Get out and walk around — you may be surprised at what, or who, you find.
Staying in Hostels, Not Hotels
Here’s one last tip that doesn’t require you give up anything but pricey accommodations. Stay on the road longer, meet people from all over the world and ensure a lively atmosphere by staying in hostels. Many Americans have the wrong idea about hostels (thanks, Hollywood). In reality, they’re amazing places for like-minded budget travelers to come together.
I’ve stayed in hostels all over the world and had great experiences. I find all my hostels on Hostelworld, and even find tons with private ensuite rooms when I need my own space but would like to meet people at bustling hostel bars.