You guys asked! You guys get it. This is the number 1 question that slides into my DMs on the daily! So I’ve decided to break it all down here, once and for all. How I save money to travel the world!
As a university student that lives at the bottom of the earth (New Zealand), it can be hard to find ways to travel as even that distance alone means it gets really expensive, really fast.
My travel gramming’ journey originally started as a documentation of the annual travel with my family. But as the years went by, it had me getting into empowering solo travel on a student budget.
Throughout my travels, I got to meet the most interesting people who had really incredible stories to tell. Many times, I would find my mind hopping into their shoes, feeling their happiness, their pain and their love for their country. I also would imagine what life would have been like had I been born there. Sharing time with other humans on earth, learning, knowing time is limited, are memories I know I’ll cherish forever.
By sharing my money-saving tips, I hope that you too can immerse yourself into cultures and see the wonders of the world. To find your truth, understand that borders are just man-made, and that at the end of the day, know that people are simply, human. Let’s get you started, now.
1. Save 40% of your disposable income just for travel
This may seem like a big one, but I guess it is a big one. They say that you should save half of what you earn, and well,
I SURE AM! I’m just saving it for travel. I have automatic payments that go out each week the morning after pay-day to different accounts so I don’t get to touch it. I have lots of little part-time jobs (and instagram, heeeey), so a lot more of it has to go there, of course. If you have a full-time job, perhaps the percentage won’t be that high. I also always create an estimated budget for destinations I’d like to head to FULL of free activities and a majority of the time I stick to it. Being a student, I’m the type that is up for balling on a budget and feeling glam whilst I’m at it!
2. Use budget friendly websites to save money
I’m always searching up the best deals
in lectures on websites such as skyscanner, webjet, or aunt betty. I only fly to destinations when they’re on sale, and I always use all the budget-friendly features that airlines offer. For example, jetstar sends you emails whenever a destination and preferred price you’ve picked works out! I also have all the major airlines’ and travel agency Facebook pages on notifications so I can see what deals they might have that day. That is how I saw that STA had a $699 return flight from Auckland to Fiji, Samoa, Hawaii then back! Just to fly to Hawaii alone would have cost me $600 minimum one-way. Safe to say, I plucked that deal right away! Not only that, choosing the cheapest times also means I default travel on the shoulders of peak seasons, which, surprise, is usually when the country is most grammable. Win, win! For example, Spring, Autumn, or Winter makes great landscapes for photos, but not so much Summer. No hate against Summer though – It’s what I’m naming my future kid.
3. Save money by staying in hostels and airBnbs
So if you’ve been with me since way back it will come as no surprise that I almost always stay in budget accommodation. But Steph – if it’s not on your gram, did it really happen?! It’s all in the stories! My theory is that I’m here to show destinations and that is the priority, so I won’t be spending any more money than I’d reasonably need to on a bed. Not that I need to remind anyone again, but as a student, I am time heavy, not money heavy. This means that the idea of a good experience for me is adventurous, long and slow… (: (: (: I am certainly in no rush to head back to lil ol’ New Zealand when I’ve already made it out, so I try to get a bunk bed in a 4 female-share room wherever I go. This equates to about $20-$30NZD a night and often comes with a free breakfast (score!). You also end up meeting fun, like-minded gals, and sometimes, travel buddies for a lifetime. There’s also other options like house-sitting, couch-surfing, or work-exchange which I haven’t tried but have heard great results.
4. Be organised so you can save money.
Now I’ll admit this is new. Last year my partner sent me a draft itinerary on an excel sheet. I just about self-combusted trying to understand the concept of “organisation”. But, by sorting out your itinerary beforehand, you are more likely to cut costs and keep it all absolutely real. For example, I then went ahead and purchased all the tickets we’d need for our activities online, and that alone saved us hundreds of dollars for Japan. Also, if you really do your research, you’ll come to realise some places actually offer ‘free entries’ on certain days for the same thing you’d pay for, so take it! And, hopping onto tripadvisor is brilliant. I like to read the reviews and form my opinion on where to best spend my hard earned money.
5. Stay disciplined and you will succeed.
Now all these things can’t happen without some strong discipline. When I’m in my day-to-day New Zealand life I quietly track my spending and always think of ways to cut down my own living costs. I’m 27, I take the bus everyday and I don’t eat fancy. Affordable and nutritious home food is the way I go and I live in my parents house just so I can travel. Granted,
I can’t move out unless I’m engaged they are out of the country for 2 or 3 months of the year, but it really is a lifestyle decision to make, to pay a discounted board and not offer yourself any independence at this age. Inviting all my friends over to watch Netflix or having potluck dinners has become my form of entertainment and collectively we are always finding free, fun things to do. Gone are the days where I hit the town and spend my money on silly things I don’t actually care about. You’ll see that I re-wear or borrow a lot of my outfits on the gram, and it’s all a mindset really. Most recently, I’ve trained myself to sell anything I don’t use immediately, and at the same time stop buying things too.
6. So you’ve saved, now enjoy!
YAY you’ve arrived, now live it up! You’ve made all the sacrifices, and it is time to relish in your experience. A little bit of work back at home really does go a long way. Be sure to take a million photos, immerse yourself into the local ways and eat ALL THE FOOD! I’m so, so proud of you.
There we have it – my personal ways of saving money to travel the world. If you really want it, I know you can make it happen. It took me a bit of time to get here, and to rid any shoppy mc shopping ways, but all I can say is, it is REALLY worth it. If you want to discuss things with me, feel free to drop a DM. I want more of you traveling more, knowing more and ultimately – living more!