How I Was Able To Save Up To Travel In My Late Teens And Early Twenties


I feel like this is a great post to write and read at the moment, with no one being able to travel, this might be the perfect time for you to start saving for your next big adventure. Of course, being able to travel is a luxury and I understand some may not be able to be in the position to travel in the near future due to their funds.

Throughout my late teens, I wanted to travel. A friend and I went to Paris together at 16 to celebrate finishing our GCSEs and it was so exciting. I spent many years after that trying to find and convince someone to go travelling with me, yet I had no luck. So when I was 18 years old, I decided I wasn’t going to spend my life waiting for anyone else, I was going to go alone. This meant saving money, alone. I’m not rich, neither is my family, which is a common assumption that is made about me when I tell people I’ve been to 25 countries at the age of 22. It took a lot of time and effort to save this money and plan the trip but it was definitely worth it in the end and I’m so happy I did it.

I have compiled this list to help you reach your travel dreams, or even just save some extra pennies!

Prioritise travel

I think this is a pretty common tip that I saw for myself when searching up how to save money for travelling but I think it’s so important to talk about. It’s prioritising travel. If it’s a hobby that you’re really interested in and really want to start doing, you have to put this ahead of other hobbies or luxuries you already have. This can be difficult because you love all your other hobbies and activities, that’s why you’re doing them, but really sit down and think about which one you’re spending the most money on? Which one do you not really enjoy so much? Can I live without the newest gadget or the monthly spa trip? I’m not saying stop all your other hobbies completely, just be reasonable with what you need and don’t need. One hobby of mine is sewing, I already had my sewing machine and thread, so I made sure to only buy fabric when I really needed it or when I couldn’t use the scraps. This meant that when my pay check came in, the extra could go towards my travels.

Record expenses

If you’re not really sure why you don’t have money left over at the end of the week or month, I would suggest keeping a record on everything you buy. You can either do this with paper and pen, using an app or an Excel spreadsheet, there are many different ways to do this. Just note down what you buy, how much it was and even what type of purchase it was; eating out, food shopping, clothes, that sort of thing. At the end of the week or month, read over this report and see which areas most of your money is going to. If it’s things such as clothes, shoes or meals out, this will show you that it might be a good idea to cut back on those expenses. Continue to keep a track for the next few months to see if there’s any reoccurring habits or if any change has been made.

Set limits when going out

For me, this is one of the best tips that helped me to save money and it’s to set yourself a limit when you go out. If you’re going for dinner or drinks, don’t allow yourself to spend as much money as your heart desires. If you don’t trust yourself to be able to keep to the limit, only bring the cash out with you, leave your card at home. Tell your friends who you’re out with your limit as well so they won’t be tempted to buy you something on your behalf once you’ve run out of money. Setting limits might take a bit of getting used to as well as knowing how much to take out with you but after trial and error, you will realise you can have a great day or night with minimal money. Also, don’t set your limit too high, it’s tempting at first and probably the second time if you decided on a £5 limit the first time but it’s not worth it in the long run to set your limit to £100 every time you go out.

Put a certain percentage of money into savings

When my pay check came in every month, I usually put at least 25% into another savings account. Sometimes this was more if I could afford to, but at least 25%. You can make this any amount you can afford, even just 5% will help you to save up some money for a short trip. I never touched this money in savings, unless it was an emergency, and this part is very very important. I am always hearing my friends say “oh, I’ll just take money out of my savings for this drink or for this dress.” This is what you don’t want to do, this money stays in the savings account and the savings account only. I would also suggest that if you do need to take money out, try to replace it with your next pay if you’re able to, even if it means not giving yourself that extra lil treat this month. This really did help me and allowed me to see just how much money I was able to spend each month and still go travelling.

Free or cheaper activities with friends

If your friends suggest grabbing dinner or going to a bar, I would suggest to them staying home. You could cook for them, or each bring something to eat to share with each other. This is not something that needs to happen every time you meet with friends because it’s definitely nice to get out the house and eat out, but if you find you and your friends are going out a lot, this is something to think about. I think everyone is trying to save money too so I’m sure they’ll be happy about the chance to do so. Make this a fun night in, get some board games or card games, I’ve seen a lot of people doing those niche power point nights which looks hilarious and is free! If the weather is nice, a picnic or just a walk or hike can be a really inexpensive way to catch up with your friends and have a great day out. It’s usually about who you’re with that makes the day, not what you’re doing.

Working nights

I know being young, it’s hard to get a high paying job with no experience and you also most likely don’t want to start a career at this age if you’re planning to leave to travel. What I mean by this tip is searching for low level jobs where you can earn more for different reasons. For example, in the UK, if you work between the hours of 10pm and 6am, you will earn more for unsociable hours. Definitely have a search if this is the same where you are living. When I was 19, I worked in a warehouse doing night shift, I earned an extra £1.50 an hour just for working between those hours. This might not seem like much but it can add up if you’re working throughout the whole 8 hours from 10pm to 6am. It does suck at times, yes, but you can get used to it and it’s worth it to earn the extra money. I also did waitress for a while, this is because you can earn a lot of tips if you work at a good establishment, smile and are super nice to people, can feel fake but it’s worth it. I personally much preferred the warehouse work as you just put your headphones in and get to work. I worked for a supermarket, which is what I would recommend, the interview process was very easy and I believe they hire most people.

Sell your items

I’m not sure about you but I’ve accumulated a lot of things on my short time on this Earth. I have no idea how, I think I just hate to get rid of something in case I need it and it seems wasteful so I just keep it. I guess in a way this worked out for me as it meant I had a few things that I could sell. The easiest thing to sell seems to be clothes, especially with people shopping more second hand. I have sold a lot of my old clothes using Ebay, Depop and Vinted, I think it depends on what your style is but I would say just put them on multiple sites, that’s what I do. Not only does it feel good knowing your clothes are going to a new home, and not to landfill, you also get some extra cash. I really think these second hand selling sites are a great idea and worth looking into to sell your unwanted things.

Reduce unnecessary spending

There are so many small purchases throughout your week that might not seem like much at the time but they really add up. I know at the moment, when I go to work, occasionally I will buy myself some lunch from a local vegan place as a little treat. I think this is mainly due to Covid and not being able to eat out at the moment, and although I don’t spend much when I do this, I know it all adds up and I would have saved a lot of money bringing my own food everyday. If you’re struggling to save money, its important to look at these small purchases such as lunch or coffee and decide whether they are more important than saving money for your travels. Every time you want to buy lunch or a coffee, you could put this money into a jar or into your savings account to really see how much money you’re saving by leaving these out. I’m not saying never treat yourself, it’s really important to buy things that you want here and there, just be cautious of how often you’re doing it and how much money you’re spending.

Those are my favourite money saving tips that have helped me the most in my travels, and I really hope they helped you too. It can be difficult at the start to make changes and new habits so make sure you’re not too hard on yourself if you slip up or spend extra one month, it’s a learning process!

If you have any questions or any extra tips for me, please let me know, I always want to learn something new.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s