In recent weeks, one of the more popular questions that my readers and viewers have asked is how to save money to travel. So today, I wanted to write about how I am saving to travel round the world. Firstly, the cost of a round the world flight ticket isn’t as expensive as you might imagine. The flight tickets cost me £2,000 including taxes, which when you consider my route covers SE Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States, it’s good value for money.
Do your research
The first tasks that you will need to complete before you start to save money, is to think about where you want to visit. Then look at the cost of living in those places depending on how long you plan to stay. Take into consideration how much it costs for accommodation, transport, food, attractions and any activities that you want to participate in.
Grab a notepad, or, better still, create a spreadsheet. Spend sometime researching the destinations, travel insurance quotes, the cost for visas and any other expenses that may apply depending on the type of lifestyle you want to lead while travelling.
Researching the destination, what you plan to do while travelling and living costs is important, because you need to come up with an amount that you can live on while travelling. Also having an emergency fund is critical, as is creating a budget, especially while travelling long term.
Reduce your spending
For me, this was and still is one of the most difficult things to do. I used to book taxi’s two or three times a week, but I stopped this when I realised I was spending in excess of £100 a month just to get to work. Think about what you spend money on right now; cancel subscriptions to magazines, take a packed lunch to work rather than buying expensive sandwiches.
If you aren’t going to the gym, cancel the contract. Keep a track of your mobile phone bills, they can spiral out of control.
Go to your bank and ask them for a list of your direct debits and standing orders; then go through each item and look at what you can stop paying. Go through the list again and look at which areas you can cut costs.
My Sky TV subscription was costing nearly £70 a month, which I swapped with a £5 a month Netflix subscription. It’s a good idea to contact the utility companies like Gas and Electricity and see if you can get the cost down, if they cannot offer a lower rate, shop around for the best deal online.
Changing your lifestyle
Unless you have lots of disposable income, you will have to make some sacrifices if you want to travel. If you regularly go out shopping, socialising with friends, eating out, all of this will have to be drastically reduced, or, stopped. I have never been the type of person that goes out drinking every weekend, but I do like buying gadgets and the latest technology – this had to stop.
Before you buy a product say to yourself, “Do I really need this?”, and 9 out of 10 times you will realise that you don’t – simply walk away. I did this and it saved me a lot of money!
Set up a high interest ISA account
Once you have looked at your spending, you will find you have saved a lot of money; when I did this exercise I saved over £250 a month, which went into my savings account. Setting up a standing order every month to transfer the money from your bank account into your savings account is a good idea. Try and set up an ISA account that gives you limited access to your savings because the last thing you want, is an accessible account that you can withdraw money at a drop of a hat.
When choosing an ISA account shop around, they’re a number of comparison websites out there that will help you get the best interest rates. The trick is to monitor your interest rate annually, and move the money around to get the best rates. Look out for incentives that banks sometimes offer to hook you in. On my first ISA, I received a £50 discount voucher for M&S, which I used and put the equivalent amount into my savings account.
Take on freelance work
This is where I saved the most money. Have a think about what type of work you could do outside of your day job to save up extra money for your travels – for me, I made the decision to reduce my hours with my current employer, and complete freelance work. The rate I charged was considerably higher than the rate I was getting from my employer, and after paying tax and national insurance, the money was put straight into my savings. Think about the things you enjoy doing, and looking at ways of making money from them.
You have to be really strict with yourself with your spending and remember that at the end of the day the memories of your travels will last with you forever.
Perfect getaway in the Maldives. Photo: Basma Al Sous