How to Save Money for Travel: A Travel Budget Planning Guide

You have a travel dream.  You can feel it, smell it, taste it – but there’s no money in the bank.

How are you going to afford to travel?  How are you going to save money to travel?

You’ll need a travel budget plan AND you will have to stick to it.

Learn how to save money for travel in 4 steps. Includes free PDF saving budget worksheet to plan your trip.

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4 Steps to Creating a Travel Budget Plan

1. Create a household budget.

Start by writing down everything you spend money on a weekly or payday basis.

  • rent/mortgage
  • groceries
  • utilities (divide each one up into a weekly or payday amounts)
  • mobile/cell phone (divide up into a weekly or payday amounts)
  • pay TV (divide up into a weekly or pay-day amounts)
  • socialising costs
  • gym membership
  • coffees
  • the bottle shop
  • clothing (divide up into a weekly or payday amounts)

Top Trip Tip: The best way to get a true indication of how much you spend is to write down every single thing you buy for a month, then you’ll know where your money really goes.

2. How much money will your trip cost?

Next, create a rough calculation of all the costs of your travel plans.  Not sure where to start with finding these costs?  Check out how to research a trip which will guide you through planning for travel.

  • airfares
  • car hire
  • petrol/fuel
  • transport (taxi, bus, train, ferry)
  • accommodation
  • meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and drinks
  • activities and tours
  • incidentals (suitcase, travel gadgets, clothing, special equipment)
  • travel insurance
  • plus a contingency fund.

Top Trip Tip: To find these travel costs, research a couple of websites in each category to find out approximately how much money each item will cost.  At this stage these items don’t have to be exact you just need a figure to determine how much to save for your trip.

3. When do you want to travel?

Basically how much time do you have between now and the date you would like to travel.

How many weeks or paydays do you have to save money before you travel?

Now divide your total cost of your holiday by the total number of paydays til the date of departure.

This is how much money to save for your travel dream.

If you can see that your weekly/fortnightly saving amount is more than you can afford then you will need to alter something in your plan.

Ways to find more money for travel:

  • change your travel date – giving you more time to save
  • choose a discount airline over a full-service
  • opt to use public transport instead of taxis or car hire
  • change to a more cost-effective accommodation
  • look at your household costs:
    • can you get a cheaper phone/internet plan
    • do you need pay TV
    • could you go for a walk, ride your bike or buy some weights instead of going to the gym
    • do you really need those cafe coffees every day?  Did you realise that if you saved that $5 cup of coffee per day you would have $2000 by the end of the year?
  • perhaps get a second job.

Top Trip Tip: Whatever you do, don’t cut out the travel insurance – this is a must-have when you travel.  Here are 6 reasons why you need travel insurance.

4. Set up a separate savings account for your trip.

Now that you have determined a set amount of money to save for your trip.  The best thing to do is to put that weekly/fortnightly amount into a separate bank account – to prevent yourself spend your travel savings.

When you create this account arrange for a direct debit to transfer your required travel saving amount each payday.

Top Trip Tip: Put barriers in place so that you cannot easily access this money.  For example, don’t have the savings account linked to your other bank cards and leave that new savings bank card at home.

Before you know it you will be saving money to travel and heading off on that dream trip.

Grab a Copy of the Travel Saving Planner Worksheet

4 Steps to learn How to Save Money for Travel

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If you would like a copy of My Budget to Save Money to Travel spreadsheet, please sign up for the Tickle Your Travel Dream e-newsletter.


Toddlers On Tour

Hi, I'm a Perth born and bred travel tips blogger/writer with 20+ years experience in airlines, hospitality and tourism. I love sharing my travel lessons learned to help you plan for travel with my travel tips for trips. Please follow along to receive all my travel planning tips and destination inspirations.

28 Responses to “How to Save Money for Travel: A Travel Budget Planning Guide

  • Thanks for the great tips and advice. Very helpful! I feel like it’s easier said than done when it comes to saving up. I could definitely get better about it.

    • Yes saving up is easy said than done Thrifty Camper. It takes discipline and being ruthless on where you can cut down on your spending. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  • These are great tips, Sally. I wish I could be this good at keeping track of my expenses. I am however very good at shopping around for the best deals when it comes to airfare and accommodations. And now that w no longer have children at home, we are way more flexible with the travel dates, which helps a lot.

    • Being flexible with your travel times can save so much money, Anda. We’ve noticed the price rise since our son is now school age and we try to travel in school holidays to avoid him missing school. Looking forward to when we get the more flexibility back to save on those costs.

  • Great tips Sally-Ann. I need to get much stricter with myself about spending. I think I’d be quite shocked if I wrote down everything for a month, but it’s got to be done! Thanks for linking up with #MondayEscapes

    • You’re not the only one who needs to rein in their spending Claire. I think we are all guilty of more than just the occasional splurge.

  • Hmmm… we always decline the travel insurance because my husband is convinced that we don’t need it. Perhaps I should look into it more and buy it without telling him. #WkendTravelInspiration

    • Many years ago when I worked at Qantas in the lost luggage department I heard a colleague comment to a disgruntled passenger (the passenger’s bag had missed the flight, he didn’t have travel insurance as he didn’t expect to need the insurance)
      My colleague asked the man, “Do you have house insurance?”
      The man replied, “Yes”
      My colleague then asked, “Do you expect your house to burn down?”

      The moral of the story – no you don’t expect the worst to happen – but what if it does?
      A little food for thought for hubby.

  • Great advice, and a good way to think about travel. Once a year or so i call all our service providers to make sure we are getting the best deal we can. Mobile and paid services are always changing so usually I can knock $10 or $20 off of something. More money for us and our travels!

    • A great tip on how to reduce your household costs, Eileen.
      Contacting all your utility providers and lenders could save you a few thousand a year, and that could pay your holiday airfares.

  • I think there are some great tips in here. We started our ‘rainy day fund’ at a different bank than one we use daily for expenses. It really helped us to save more and really think about purchases before making them. We just started a new account for trips following the same guidelines.

    • Opening a separate saving account in a different bank is a really good way to ensure you don’t dip into those savings. Good luck with your new trip account Cristin.

  • Great tips here. Definitely agree that a budget is a great way to help get a handle on your finances. With my travel budget, I always forget to properly account for travel insurance and activities, but I’m working on it. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  • Planning is the key to achieving large goals and you’ve clearly broken up the steps to afford travel. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  • We always had a ‘travel account’. It was the best thing

  • I love your ideas, however to be honest I don’t know if I am organized enough to follow through. I just get money and spend it. Bad, I know. I hope other people really pay attention and follow your ideas, though and thanks.

    Thanks for linking up with #wkendtravelinspiration! We’ll see you next week!

    • It is so easy to have money slip through your fingers, Corinne. It used to happen to me. So I found that having a separate travel saving’s account allowed me to save easily save for my travels without even noticing the money was not there to spend.

      I look forward to linking up next week.

  • Great tips! I can tell you where a lot of my husband and my money go. We go out to eat too much. We know where we need to cut back and we are trying to do things on the side to make more money. (sigh) I want to get us a little travel bank to put our money so we can start saving. I am ready to go on an adventure! Stopping by from the TheWeeklyPostcard.

    • Having a separate travel account will really help with the savings Chasa. Before you know it you won’t even notice the money is not there to spend each week. If you and your husband really enjoy eating out still budget for an occasional meal just not as many as you currently indulge in.

  • Like how you broke up this is a very clear way. A lot of people dream of travel but they do not take any actions toward making that dream come true. Hope this helps people get motivated. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  • You did a great job laying out how to develop a budget and save the money you need to travel. This is especially helpful for people who haven’t really paid attention to this before. #TheWeeklyPostcard

    • Thanks Anisa. I often hear of how people would love to travel but can’t afford to travel. Sometimes it is just a matter of working out your cost to realise that the dream is possible you just need a plan.

  • These are great tips.In our recent trip,we changed the days and we could save money from our flight tickets.

    • It’s little things like changing your flight times that can save you money Amila and have you on the road (or in this case flight) to travel dream sooner.

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