15 Ways to Save For An International Trip

Imagine this: you’re wandering through the vibrant streets of a city halfway across the world, one you’ve dreamt of visiting for years. Sounds exciting, right? But then, there’s the reality check – that adventure comes with a price tag. Saving for a big trip can seem daunting, especially when your bank account isn’t quite on board with your wanderlust spirit.

Yet, with a bit of creativity, some smart planning, and a willingness to tweak your daily habits, that dream trip doesn’t have to stay in your dreams. Whether it’s learning to say “no” to that daily gourmet coffee or turning your hidden talents into cash, there are countless ways to pad your travel fund. Here’s how to save up for your next big adventure, making every penny count and every saving step feel less like a sacrifice and more like a thrilling part of the journey itself.

Set a Clear Budget:

Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

Start by researching the average costs for your destination for flights, accommodations, meals, attractions, and incidental expenses. Use online travel guides and budget calculators to estimate daily spending—factor in a buffer for unexpected costs. A detailed budget gives you a concrete savings goal and helps avoid financial surprises, ensuring you enjoy your trip without stressing over money.

Open a Dedicated Savings Account:

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Create a separate account solely for your travel fund to prevent mixing it with everyday finances. Look for accounts with competitive interest rates or travel benefits. This separation helps you mentally earmark these funds for your trip, reducing the temptation to dip into them for other expenses. Regularly review the account to track your progress and stay motivated. This is one of my favorite ways to save for an international trip.

Automate Savings:

Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

Automating your savings by setting up a direct deposit from your paycheck into your travel fund ensures you save consistently. Treat it like a fixed expense, similar to rent or a mortgage. This “set it and forget it” approach means you’re less likely to spend this money elsewhere, steadily growing your travel fund without additional effort.

Track Your Spending:

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Utilizing budgeting apps to monitor your finances can uncover spending habits that might divert funds from your travel goals. Regularly categorizing your expenses helps you identify areas where you can cut back, such as unnecessary subscriptions or frequent dining out, freeing up more money for your trip. It’s a habit that fosters financial awareness and discipline.

Cut Unnecessary Expenses:

the tallest peak in north america, mount denali from the air
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

Examine your monthly expenditures for services or items you can live without. Cancel unused subscriptions and memberships or downgrade services to more basic packages. Eating out less and opting for home-cooked meals can also free up a significant amount of money. Redirect these savings to your travel account, significantly boosting your travel fund.

Sell Unused Items to Save for an International Trip

A hiker walks on the trail with a large mountain behind him.
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

Look around your home for items you no longer use or need. Selling these items on platforms like eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace can quickly boost your travel savings. This declutters your space and turns your unused goods into valuable funds for your adventure.

Pick Up a Side Hustle:

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Engaging in a side job or freelance work can provide additional income dedicated entirely to your travel fund. This could be anything from online tutoring and ride-sharing to selling handmade goods. The extra income, while possibly requiring time and effort, accelerates your savings progress and makes your travel goals attainable sooner.

Use Cashback and Rewards:

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Maximize the benefits of cashback apps and reward credit cards for everyday purchases. These rewards can be set aside expressly for travel expenses. Paying off credit card balances monthly is essential to avoid interest charges. Over time, these small returns can accumulate substantially, covering flight tickets or accommodation costs.

Reduce Utility Bills:

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Implementing energy-saving measures at home, like using LED bulbs, fixing leaks, and optimizing your heating and cooling systems, can significantly reduce your monthly utility bills. Conserving water and electricity saves money and contributes to a more sustainable lifestyle. Redirect the savings into your travel fund.

Cook at Home:

a female stands in a camper van making food
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

Another way to save for an international trip is by preparing meals at home. Instead of dining out, hang with the family, eat healthier, and save money. Planning meals, shopping with a list, and utilizing leftovers efficiently reduce grocery bills and waste. These savings can then be funneled into your travel fund, bringing you one step closer to your dream destination.

Limit Impulse Buys:

A hiker enjoys the views from Mt. Aeneas.
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

Implement a rule to wait a certain period before making a purchase. This gives you time to consider if you need the item or if the money could be better spent towards your travel goals. Practicing delayed gratification can save you from unnecessary expenses and quickly grow your travel fund.

Travel Off-Peak:

a hiker walks on the cape flattery trail near the olympic national park beaches
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

Planning your trip during the shoulder or off-peak seasons can significantly save airfare and accommodations. Research the best times to visit your chosen destination, keeping in mind that prices can drop dramatically during these periods. This strategy saves money and often results in a more relaxed and less crowded travel experience.

Use Public Transportation:

Wildflowers on the Skyline Loop Trail at Mt Rainier.
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

Opting for public transit, walking, or biking for daily commutes and errands can reduce fuel, parking, and maintenance costs associated with personal vehicle use. These savings can be redirected to your travel fund. Additionally, using these modes of transportation can offer a healthier lifestyle and reduce your carbon footprint.

Find Free Entertainment:

adult humpback whale breaching near the boat during our maui whale watching tour
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

Explore free or low-cost entertainment options like community events, outdoor concerts, museums with free admission days, and public parks. These activities can provide enjoyment and enrichment without straining your budget, allowing you to save more for your trip.

Save on Groceries:

Purchase Iceland Photos
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Utilizing coupons, shopping for sales, buying in bulk, and choosing generic brands over name brands can significantly reduce your grocery bill and help save for an international trip. Planning meals and snacks helps avoid impulse buys and food waste. The money saved through these efforts can be an excellent contribution to your travel fund, making your international trip more accessible.

Author: Alec Sills-Trausch

Title: Founder of Explore with Alec

Expertise: Hiking, Backpacking, Photography, and Road Trips

Alec Sills-Trausch is a hiker, backpacker, landscape photographer, and syndicated travel writer. He enjoys showing off the beauty of the world through his photos, videos, and written work on ExploreWithAlec.com. Alec is also a 2x cancer survivor and bone marrow transplant recipient, showing the world that there is a future from this terrible disease.

He lives in Washington, where he gets to enjoy the stunning PNW mountains in addition to all the other places he attempts to visit each year! You can see more work on IG at @AlecOutside