How do you save money for travel?
The coffeecan financier will no doubt be used to all kinds of sneaky tricks of the trade for funding their global travel and saving money on the road. Having a strict travel budget is a bit of a necessity for a value traveller - for me, it’s the only way I can do it. I live by the adage that maximum lists equals maximum fun. All the same, it’s often nice to have a bit of surprise cash – even as little as $20 – allocated for a bit of spontaneity during your trip. If your budget is already stretched to its max you may just need to get creative on how to come up with the extra funds.
My most successful use of spare money while traveling came during my first summer of backpacking in Europe. I was working at a student center in England, helping to clean the dorms.
The staff room had jars of spare change from every European currency, left behind a cent at a time by departing students (this was a few years before the Euro). No one wanted it and I was able to claim it. I carefully divided it into plastic bags and tried to think of the different ways I could use it. I paid for a hostel one night in Paris using the biggest coins I had (they were still unimpressed), and I still remember buying an applesauce filled crepe along a beach in Normandy. The last of my francs – down to the exact cent, were spent on a railway station pastry before crossing into Italy.
In Ireland, on my last night of the trip, I had enough money to get a small glass of white wine at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin and a vending machine item back at the hostel. In between, there were countless city bus tickets, bakery buns, and vending machine drinks purchased, one 5 cent piece at a time. I think the total amount of all that change probably worked out to about $40 or so, but spread out across 4 countries in 3 weeks, it was like a never ending gift.
Some people may scoff at coming up with little ways to save $20-$50-$100 for a vacation; especially long vacations that end up costing thousands of dollars. But I’d rather spend my travel money on tickets that take me far away and keep me there for a long time. Often activities and entertainment costs makes up 5-10% (or less) of our travel budget and I’m determined to make the most of every trip and every dollar.
I'd love to hear from you! What crafty tips do you have to save up for a big trip?
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