People were genuinely shocked at how much we managed to save for our round the world trip in the space of 12 months. The best part about it, we found it so easy and fun while we did it and we want to share our saving tips with you.
It really is as simple as deciding what you want to do, having one focus and taking necessary steps to get to your goal.
We created this infographic with saving tips to show you how easy it is to figure out what you need to do to get to your goal.
Unfortunately the world is designed so you can’t really have your cake and eat it. Set yourself a list of questions that detail all of your options ahead.
An inspirational video played a major part in our decision to travel the world. Alan Watts‘ short lecture on ‘What if money were no object?’ really puts life into perspective and it made us delve deep into what we were doing and what we actually wanted to do with our lives:
Write down your options of where you go from here:
- Do you want an expensive car?
Do you want to buy a house?
Do you want to be your own boss?
Do you want to travel the world?
Imagine if you could only have one of these options, then choose it.
The first step of saving up to travel the world is to determine how much you need to save. It is never black and white and when you have decided to travel the world, factors for calculating the total cost usually boils down to the following factors:
If you’re travelling as a couple or a group, the best way to find out where to go is to have all individuals privately write down their preferred places. This ensures uninfluenced decision making. Any matches in each of the lists should be considered on your round the world trip.
The best step we made after making our decision to travel was purchasing an enormous world map from IKEA. We bought some star stickers that eventually helped us figure out a sensible route for a world trip.
We did! Find out your work policy for taking a career break, the terms for our contract only gave us a Leave of Absence if we had been employed by the company for two years and we were only allowed to take a maximum of 12 months.
We recommend an initial target to allow you to enjoy freedom before finding work when your money inevitably runs out.
We aimed for 12 months and actually traveled for 14 months without working by stretching out our budget.
Keep in mind the following factors and considering working around them:
- Climate determines what you are carrying with you. It can also means places you may wish to see are inaccessible, i.e. we wanted to ride the Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls but it was closed in winter.
- Clothing is determined by the climate or activities you plan on taking part in. If you’re starting in winter in Iceland and ending in an Australian summer, you will need a range of thermal and cooler clothing.
- Transportation – Consider this for hiring a car (impossible in Iceland’s winter) or overland transport in extreme conditions.
- Seasonal costs – Cities like Venice and Barcelona quadruple their accommodation costs in the summer months starting from 1st May. School holidays will also be a big factor. Time it right to save money
Use valuable resources to calculate potential costs such as:
- Accommodation booking websites – quote prices for times of year in the country you are considering and add the amount to other daily necessities such as food and transport.
- Flight checkers – Use Skyscanner’s amazing flexible tool to ‘Everywhere’ to find the cheapest routes and times to travel from the country you are interested in.
- Excursions – Compare trip prices with the price of hiring a car or taking public transportation to a sight you want to see.
- Coach websites – These can be incredibly cheap if booked in advance. See Megabus, Greyhound and Rome2Rio.
- Train travel – Train passes can be purchased cheaply in advance such as the EURail pass. TranItalia also have offers of Buy one Get one Free at weekends.
- Travel blogs – There are so many travel blogs that specialize in saving tips and come from those who have experienced travel thoroughly.
- Forums – Ask forums such as Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree for cost and saving advice
Once you have your potential costs, add them all up and divide by how many days you want to travel. There you have your daily budget.
[symple_box style=”success”]We spent approximately £60/$80USD per day on the road.
This covered accommodation, food, and transport for two people across four continents (26 countries).
We took £24,000and came home with nothing after 14 months.[/symple_box]
The first and most important part of the saving process is to understand your current outgoings, you will need to establish them from the very beginning.
Knock up a simple pie chart to help you understand where your money is going:
Take appropriate measures to reduce or even eliminate your outgoings. Start with the most expensive costs, for us that was Rent and Bills. We had a two bed luxury quayside apartment and though it was nice, we didn’t need it. We also didn’t need a 4 year old car that was only taking us to work and back.
Solutions to save are:
- House share. Visit sites such as Spare Room to find potential house mates in your area.
- Rent out a room in your property.
- If you own your own home and have a spare room, rent it out frequently using Air Bnb
- Become a property guardian. Pay minimal rent to stay in a vacant building, bills are usually included and the rental charge is incredibly cheap
- Work as a live in warden (student halls often recruit part time wardens in exchange for free rent)
Cars are the easiest of all sacrifices. Ask yourself this:
- Is public transport cheaper than driving on your regular route?
- Do you really need a new car, ask yourself why do you have a new car? If it’s for show, consider getting rid of it!
- Are you driving your car to work and back? If so, consider an older model that does the exact same job
- Could you car share? Use services such as Lift Share to find a buddy.
- Can you work from home in your current work place? Opt in to save on fuel if you drive into work.
- Use Google Maps on your journey to work to avoid traffic and unnecessary fuel wastage.
- Cash in on loyalty points when refueling such as the Shell Garage Rewards scheme.
We sold our four year old Vauxhall Corsa for a 12 year old Ford Ka and saved a whopping £250 a month in finance repayments. Tax and fuel were also cheaper as were parts and maintenance.
- Consider purchasing for the year for reduced rates.
- Can you join a cheaper gym?
- Check if you can get a discount through your place of work
- Take advantage of free trials and juggle them around
- Review the times you go most frequently and see if you qualify for ‘Off-Peak rates’
- Can you work out from home?
- If cardio is your niche, take up running or cycling outdoors
If you want to save faster and travel for longer, you may need to make sacrifices and simplify your life.
Three rules of thumb.
Everybody is different, and we find that making our money as inaccessible as possible really helps us not touch it.
We both ended up with savings accounts where we had to withdraw by postal request and it deterred us from being tempted to dip into the funds.
You need a decent interest rate on your account so look around for the best one available at the time.
ISAs allow you to save tax free up to certain amount and offer competitive interest rates.
Non-ISA accounts offer higher interest rates but the interest is usually taxed.
We use Martin Lewis’s Money Saving Expert to find the best savings accounts.
Stick all of your money into an account separate to your current account (or two accounts if you are travelling as a couple) so you earn the most interest should you opt for an ISA.
We switched our current accounts as soon as we decided to travel and took advantage of a bonus offer for switching. We earned £250 between us just for changing our provider.
The process was easy and the bank transferred all of our details across to our employer. We also receive £5 each every month as part of a reward scheme that amounts to £120 a year between us for doing absolutely nothing!
Shop around and look for switching bonuses and any special Savings Account offers.
Decorate an old jar with a world map and pop spare change into it whenever you can. You will be surprised at how much is in there after a few months if you don’t dip into it.
This was our own little trick that saved us £100s unknowingly.
Whenever you log into your current account online, and wherever your balance is over a whole number, pop the excess amount into your savings account.
For example: With a balance of £102.97, put the £2.97 away into savings and try and keep the number rounded all month.
It’s exciting and honestly, this simple step helped us save £100s.
This is so much fun. Sell unwanted Christmas presents, old clothing, bric a brac, make stuff, find stuff, ask your friends and family if they want to throw anything away, use websites such as Freecycle and Freely Wheely to find items that you could collect for free and sell on.
Take lots of change and carrier bags and be prepared to almost give stuff away at the end of the day.
We both worked in IT for a long time and traveled a lot to and from Scotland, London and Mumbai. By taking lots of business trips, we accumulated loyalty points for flights, trains and hotels. These points allowed us to spend Christmas and New Year in New York City which was a nice luxury after staying in hostels for most of our trip.
If you do not travel for business, consider earning loyalty points for personal trips.
Offer to book family and friends on your account and maximize your earning potential.
Always look for offers for double and triple points and research loyalty points blogs to see tips and tricks on how to get more.
We became experts at loyalty points after 18 months of travelling for business and we’re always available for advice.
Use credit cards (with caution) that accumulate loyalty points for all of your spending needs, just be sure to pay them off right away.
A lot of loyalty point schemes, such as Hilton Honors and British Airways, allow you to participate in surveys in exchange for points. We made 1000s doing this and it was all worth it for a couple of free domestic flights within the USA.
Between the two of us, over the space of two years, we made £2,000 on cashback websites. This was from every day spending and travel.
Once you have earned cashback, you are normally offered a bonus to convert the cash into a voucher or loyalty points as opposed to the money in your bank. For Avios points with British Airways, £5 worth of cashback saw us convert this into 625 Avios points that would normally cost in the region of £20 to buy on the British Airways website.
The best cashback sites that we recommend are Topcashback and Quidco.
We have literally made £100s from completing online surveys, as well as being sent free samples of crisps, pop and toothpaste.
The best sites for us are:
For more saving tips and good reading material, we recommend the following literature: