Let’s be honest. One of the main reasons people don’t travel is due to lack of money. I get that, because it was the big reason I returned home after travelling around North America for three months in 2014. I came home with nothing, worked a (crap) part-time job to save as much as I could, and then moved to Melbourne. It took me a few months of scraping by in Melbourne until I found a job and I was able to start saving like crazy for the next adventure. Here are the things I did to save money for travel: $13,000 to be exact!
Free views of the Melbourne skyline. Woo!
I Worked Two Jobs
In Melbourne I worked two casual jobs, which meant I was earning quite a good amount of money each week. Casual work in Australia means you don’t get paid entitlements such as annual (vacation) or sick leave, which translates to a higher rate. This worked fine for me. My two jobs were as a cafe supervisor, and a bartender at two of the big event stadiums. I worked six days a week, but usually still averaged about 40 hours per week. My jobs worked in perfect harmony, as the supervisor job was during the day and no weekends, while events were all night and weekend shifts.
If you are serious about saving, I highly recommend finding a second job that complements your current position. In Vancouver, I am working in the same position as a bartender at an arena here. Keep your eye out for casual, event and seasonal jobs to help you save more money faster. In Australia, I recommend perusing Seek and Gumtree. In North America, Craigslist is full of open positions. Indeed is also a great worldwide resource.
I also made a little bit of money freelance writing. Do you have a skill that you could earn money from freelancing? Web design, development, accountancy, graphic design, photography? The list is endless.
I Cut Back on Socialising
Working nearly every day and most Friday and Saturday nights also meant less socialising. Going out to bars and restaurants is definitely a money drainer, especially in Melbourne. I mean, the food and company is always good, but travelling to a new country is better. Stick to an “entertainment” or fun budget if you want to reach your saving goal quickly.
Very cheap ice-cream in North Melbourne
I Had an Automatic Savings Deposit
The best way to save money quickly is to automatically deposit a certain amount into your savings account each week/fortnight. I worked out how much I could easily deposit each week when I got paid, and put the money into a high-interest savings account. This meant each month I earned a little interest — free money is free money! If I had a slightly less-spendy week and had some money sitting in my everyday account, I’d usually deposit that directly into my savings too. Every little bit helps, trust me!
I Didn’t Have a Car
The last time I owned a car was 2013. Over three years car-less and counting! When I moved to Melbourne, I didn’t think it was going to be a permanent stay as I wanted to do the expat thing again. So buying a car wasn’t a great financial option. It also would have cost a lot of money. I instead relied on public transport. I know this depends on where you live, as before I left for my first working holiday, I didn’t sell the car I had in Brisbane. From where I lived in the city, it was incredibly inconvenient and time-consuming to get public transport to my work. But if not owning a vehicle is an option for you, take it.
I (Kinda) Stopped Shopping
I would say I cut my shopping, not that I stopped completely. Because a girl needs pretty layers and boots and things in Melbourne! That is one fashionable city, let me tell you. I have always been a budget shopper, so I bought most of my clothes in Australia from Kmart and Target, and visited the outlets like DFO and Harbourtown. Buying clothes is nice, but unless that piece of clothing is definitely going in your suitcase, think twice before purchasing.
I Compared All My Insurances
Even though I was scrimping and saving, I still needed insurance. This included private health insurance and travel insurance for this big ol’ journey! The best thing I did was use a comparison site, like Compare the Market. For the Aussies, you totally know their television ad with the meerkats. Anyway, comparing insurance and getting the best deal will definitely help you save.
Not an ugly view on my walk from the markets
I Shopped at Markets
I lived about a 30 minute walk from Melbourne’s favourite market, Queen Victoria Market. But I was usually too lazy to journey there and pick up some fresh meat, fruit and vegetables. But once I started going on Sunday mornings before work and got into a bit of a routine, I couldn’t stop! The market is huge, with so many businesses to choose from. I usually had a couple of favourites I returned to each week. But definitely check out your local farmers markets and see if shopping there will also save you money. The thing is, it not only saves money but buying fresh, local produce is better for you!
I Used Frequent Flyers
One random day, I decided to go through all of my loyalty and reward cards and update my address. When I got to my Frequent Flyer card, I was stunned to find I had a lot of points in my account. Like so many points I could fly home from Melbourne, and then to Sydney, for free. This saved me so much money, and to this day I still don’t know where my points actually came from. I think I got a bonus when I signed up for my credit card, but I obviously wasn’t paying attention!
Bonus tip: Signing up for a rewards credit card is a great way to earn points. But you obviously won’t be saving money if you don’t pay off the card each month. I always paid mine off every payday!
I Got My Bond Back
I don’t know if this is common all over North America, but the security deposit on rentals in Vancouver is only two week’s rent. In Australia, it equals six week’s rent. That is a lot of money, particularly when you are renting in capital cities. So getting my bond back definitely gave my savings an instant boost.
Home is pretty, though
Things I Didn’t Do
I Didn’t Move Home
If this is an option for you, then I say go for it! Unfortunately, I wanted to live in Melbourne and not in my hometown a three hour flight away. Magnetic Island is pretty, but I like the city life. I also lived quite close to Melbourne’s city centre, so my rent wasn’t dirt cheap, but I still saved! It also had its own gym, which was another way I saved money.
I Didn’t Save Money on My One-Way Flight
My flight to Vancouver was a lot of money, as I bought it only three weeks before I departed! That’s how excited I was to come back. If you have more time, I recommend buying your flight in advance and saving even more money.
I Hardly Sold Anything
This is an easy way to earn money, but all I sold before I left was my bed frame and mattress. I probably could have sold some clothes online, or if I didn’t live in an apartment I could have done a garage sale. In the end I just donated my clothing, which is a “good karma” solution.
Seeing Sydney was worth it
I Didn’t Give Up Travel
So when you are trying to save money to go overseas, you probably shouldn’t spend money on other travels. BUT, it’s an addiction, and I couldn’t go months without flying somewhere. Thanks to some ridiculously cheap airfares, I was able to visit Bali, Brisbane, Sydney and Magnetic Island (three times) while I was saving. Just stalk the flight sales to save money.
If you have discipline, it is easy to save money for travel. You just have to think of the big picture and the reward waiting for you.
Do you have any extra tips to save money for travel?
This post contains an affiliate link.