Just a quick post today on a topic that I found myself researching excessively when I was saving to go backpacking a few years ago: How do I save money to go traveling?
There are loads of ways in which you can save money: getting a second job, working all the hours under the sun, moving back in with the parents, selling all your worldly possessions and living a life of solitude and sobriety… I’m just going to tell you about my situation, and what has worked for me so far.
So what do I actually do for work? My job at the moment is working as a live-in nanny for a family in London. It’s good money, great hours (mostly) and, best of all, I don’t pay rent or bills whilst getting to live in a lovely house-*winface*. I would definitely recommend this job for anyone trying to save to go traveling. It’s relatively easy to get into if you speak good English and have a little experience working with kids. Your experience will definitely depend on which family you choose- I’ve been very lucky in that mine are lovely, laid-back and very welcoming. And that’s basically how I’m able to save money! By earning a good wage, and having very few outgoings.
The hardest part for me is not spending the money that I’ve so diligently set aside. Honestly, this is something that I really struggle with. There’s always a festival that I MUST go to, or a night out that I CAN’T POSSIBLY miss. I seriously suffer with FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), so not spending my hard-saved cash is something that I’m very much still working on. “I’m Charlotte, and I’m a shopping addict”. The first step to recovery is admission, right? I’ve listed a few ‘top tips’ below.
These may not be relevant or helpful for everyone, but they’re ideas which I try to keep in my mind while I’m trying to save money for a trip!
Set yourself a realistic goal and deadline
For example: I earn £350 per week after tax. My outgoings include my phone contract, gym membership, travel to see my boyfriend, a few standing orders for travel magazines and charities, and social stuff. I decided (somewhat randomly) that I needed about £100 a week for all this stuff, which leaves £250 a week that I can put away. I also decided that I’m going to go traveling in February 2018, which gives me a deadline and an end figure. I find that there are always extra expenses that you have to take into consideration- birthdays, Christmas, holidays etc, so make sure that your end goal reflects this so that you’re not overestimating your end figure.
Get a savings account that rewards you
So this is a bit of a boring one, but still worth thinking about! My savings account that I’d always had is a Lloyds Standard Saver (or something like that). When I decided that I wanted to go traveling, I checked the interest rate on this account…and it was really shit. I checked out moneysavingexpert and just searched ‘best interest savings account’, and it turns out that most of the best interest rates actually come from current accounts, not savings. I opened up a Nationwide Flex Direct account, which offers 5% interest on balances up to £2500 for the first year. The only rule is that you have to pay in £1000 a month, and the rate goes back to almost nothing after a year (at which point you can just switch to another bank with a better offer).
Before you spend, ask yourself if it’s worth it
A good way to think about this is, if you’re about to buy a dress or bottle of wine for, let’s say, £30, think about what that money would get you in your destination. £30 in Cambodia would probably be 5 nights in decent accommodation, which might be enough of a reason to curb your spending.
If you have an urge to buy something, buy something for your trip!
Instead of those beautiful heels, buy those walking boots that will be great for trekking through the jungle. These are things which you will need to buy eventually, so why not! The heels were just going to give you blisters anyway. For me, shopping like this refocusses my mind on my goal, and also satisfies the shopping monster that dwells deep within my soul.
If you spend, don’t beat yourself up
Sometimes, spending is the right thing to do. If missing out on your friend’s birthday night out is going to make you miserable, do it! If you’re feeling down and want to go for a drink, great! If your favourite band are touring for the first time in 5 years, go! You really shouldn’t miss out on a year of your life because you’re trying to be sensible and save. As Dumbledore once said, ‘it does not do to dwell on dreams, and forget to live’. Everything in moderation.
I hope you’ve found this post helpful! Make sure you check out my travel posts (like this one) for a bit of inspiration.