Looking for some creative ways to save money for travel? Here are 15 great tips to help you save up for a travel fund that will allow you to explore the world and make amazing memories!  

Travelling isn’t cheap, but those common misconceptions that you have to be rich or have amazingly high-paying jobs to travel aren’t true. Everyone can travel – it just means a bit of planning, prioritizing your spending and creatively saving money.

As a public school teacher, living in Canada where the costs of living are not cheap, and as a single mom on one income, it’s challenging but we still manage to travel often. It’s just about having different priorities, good planning and some smart strategies to save money for travel. 

So if I can do it on a limited budget, you can too! 

And while you’ve probably had a million people tell you to cut down on Starbucks (and yes, we’ve included that suggestion here too), there are also a whole bunch of other creative (and not-so-creative) ways to save up for travel. So if you’re looking for some ideas to help you get started, here are 15 creative ways to save money for travel. 

11 Creative Ways to Save Money for Travel 

These ideas are all about how to save money for travel, including small changes and little things you can do throughout the month to add to your travel fund. This isn’t about tips for how to save money WHILE travelling – that’s a whole other post!

1. Set Up a Travel Account

Setting up a separate bank account is always a great way to save for travel.

You can even set up an automatic transfer from your main bank account each month to a dedicated vacation savings account.

Whether you set up an account at your regular bank or choose an online account, keep it dedicated to travel savings. 

Any of the following tips or ideas to save money for travel can be deposited straight into this account and you’ll be surprised how quickly it adds up!

2. Create a Goal Amount

Before you start saving, it’s important to figure out how much money you will need. This will help you determine what kind of goal you should set for yourself.

Dreaming big and creating those goals for yourself is key – mindset is huge! You’ve probably heard that term mentioned a lot lately,  but it’s true. If you can clearly visualize your end goal, it makes the journey so much easier and more exciting! 

word travel written in the sand - have a goal in mind is one creative ways to save money for travel

Like with any other outcome you want to achieve, once you have a goal in mind, you have an idea of what to work towards.

And make that goal specific. Rather than “I want to save some money”, be specific and put a dollar amount to it, such as “I want to save up $2000 to pay for flights”, or whatever else you decide.

Then, depending on when you want to travel, you can work backwards and get an idea of how much you’ll need to save each month. There are plenty of travel calculators out there that can help with this.

3. Pay Yourself First

This one sounds simple, but it’s so important.

Every month when you get your paycheck, pay yourself first.

Put aside a set amount each month that you can put towards your travel fund, or have it come directly off your paycheque.

It’s easier to automatically have the money deducted each month than to have it sit in the account with a plan to transfer later.

By doing this, you’re more likely to actually save it and not end up spending it on something else. 

4. Track Your Spending

While this doesn’t sound like too much fun, it’s important – you need to know your spending habits before you can make any changes to start saving more money.

Tracking your spending lets you see where you can cut back or even eliminate unnecessary expenses (see #5 below). There are different apps you can use for this, or even the simple and basic paper and pen method.

I don’t do much online shopping, so I kept an ongoing list in my car for a month and wrote down every purchase, from gas to groceries to those quick stops to pick up one or two things, and was surprised how much it added up to! 

There are great apps, like mint, which track your daily or monthly spending too.

Or you can sit down and go through your most recent bank statement to decide how much is spent on necessary bills, like mortgage or rent, car payments, insurance and phone bills, and how much is spent on food, entertainment, or other possibly unnecessary expenses.

Little things add up and sometimes we don’t realize how much we are spending until we look at the big picture. I know for me, that was an eye-opener!  

person writing notes in a notebook while adding numbers on a calculator - keeping track of your spending is an important step to save money for travel
Tracking your spending is an important step to save money for travel

5. Cut Unnecessary Expenses

Use the information that you gathered from tracking your spending to identify any unnecessary expenses. Once you’ve identified some areas or expenses that could be cut back, reduce those expenses and deposit the money that you saved into your dedicated travel account.

You can also set up automatic transfers to your savings account from money that you would normally spend on the unnecessary expenses.

For example, if you normally spend $50/week on eating out, try to reduce that to $25 and set up an automatic transfer of the difference right away. Then, you won’t even have to think about it and the money will automatically be saved for your travels.

Another great way to save and reduce spending is by shopping around for better deals on bills and other monthly expenses that can’t be cut out completely. Take a look at your car or home insurance policy and make sure that you are getting the best deal.

And are there any other bills or expenses that you could reduce or eliminate? How about that gym membership?

Do you need that much data on the phone or can you switch to a smaller plan? And how about cable and streaming services – do you really need Disney, Amazon prime and Netflix?

Other areas you might be able to cut down on expenses include having a movie night at home instead of going out, cooking at home instead of eating out, menu planning to save money on groceries, and looking for deals or comparing prices when shopping – the flipp app is great for this.

6. Cash Jar System

Remember those piggy banks you used to have? They’re a great way to save up extra change and you’ll be surprised how quickly it accumulates!

Many people use cards and apps now to pay for things, but if you pay for something with cash, throw the change into a jar and watch it add up. One like this travel-themed piggy bank is great for travel savings, but you can always use a plain glass jar or mason jar too.

This will help you see how much money you’re actually putting away and when it adds up, transfer it to your travel fund bank account.  

piggy bank with words ‘travel fund’ on it, surrounded by piles of coins
Start collecting those coins!

7. Find Free Activities

When it comes to entertainment and activities, there are probably lots of options in your area that don’t cost anything. 

Do some research and find out what free activities you can do with friends or family to save money. Many communities offer free activities for kids, like free public swims or open gyms. 

Check to see if any local museums or other attractions offer a free day and take advantage of that. For example, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia offers free admission every Thursday evening and many attractions in Halifax are free on Canada Day. 

You can also borrow books from the local library for free – or check out their online lending programs, like Hoopla or Libby, which are great for when you travel! 

And it’s free to get outdoors and go for a hike or a bike ride – and you’ll get some exercise too! 

8. Prioritize spending

One of the most important things you can do to save up for travel is to prioritize your spending. Think about what you really need and what’s nice, but not essential.

Figure out what’s important to you and what you’re willing to spend on. If you have a goal of saving for a vacation, make sure that every dollar counts. 

Do you really need an expensive coffee every day or can you make your own at home?

Or if you don’t drink coffee, what other spending could you prioritize? Lottery tickets, treats at the grocery store, buying lunch throughout the week? Do you really use that gym membership you pay for each month?

There are plenty of ways to decrease your spending – and while I’m not suggesting you cut it all out, you still need some treats! – but try to be mindful of how much you’re spending and make sure that it’s going towards the things that are most important to you. 

9. Find a Side Hustle

If you’re looking to make some extra money to add to your travel fund, find a side hustle! 

There are so many opportunities out there for side jobs that can help you make extra money to put directly into your travel account. 

Or if you don’t want to get a second job, try getting creative and look for other ways to make money in your spare time.

This could be anything from babysitting or dog walking to house cleaning or tutoring, or even doing odd jobs like mowing lawns or landscaping. I know a few people that deliver food for doordash and instacart to make some extra money. 

There are also plenty of online jobs for travellers, like taking surveys or making handmade items and printables to sell on Etsy.

Blogging is another popular option, but speaking from experience, it’s not a quick and easy way to make extra money. 

10. Freelance Writing

If you enjoy writing, freelance writing is a great way to add a bit of extra money to your travel account.

You can work on your own time, which is great if you have a full-time job as well, or kids and family to work around.

Pay varies depending on experience and writing skills, but you can expect to make a few cents per word, which adds up when you’re writing an article or blog post.

11. Sell Unused Items

Take a look around your house and gather up any items that you no longer need or use. Clean out your closets and drawers and get rid of anything that doesn’t fit or you don’t wear anymore.

You can have a yard sale, or try selling the items online through sites like eBay, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace or any second-hand app that’s popular in your area. 

Once you’ve sold some items, put that money directly into your travel fund account!

Before we sold our house, we decluttered and even with plenty of $5 and $10 items, it quickly added up! All of that extra money went directly into our travel fund. 

And even if you’re not selling your house, you’d be surprised at how much stuff you have laying around the house that you don’t need or want anymore. Get rid of the clutter and make some money for your travel fund – it’s a bonus both ways. 

aerial view over land from a plane with the tip of the plane’s wing in the photo
Get travelling!

Final Thoughts: Creative Ways to Save Money for Travel

Saving for travel can seem like a daunting task – but there are plenty of creative ways to save, from prioritizing your spending to picking up a side hustle or selling unused items. And you don’t have to do it all – pick one or two ways to save and focus on those. 

No matter how you decide to save up for your next trip, the important thing is that you’re intentional about it. Small changes can add up quickly!


Book a Flight: These 10 tips to find cheap flights will help you find the best deals.

Book Accommodations: We use booking.com to book our accommodations and always find great deals on hotels and private apartments.

Get Travel Insurance: It’s always a smart idea to have travel insurance, just in case anything goes wrong. We recommend SafetyWing, which has policies for everyone.

Stay Connected: If your phone supports an eSIM, Airalo is a great option to get online while abroad.

Check out our travel resources page for more tips and recommendations.

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