It’s all very well feeling inspired and motivated to travel the world living out of a backpack, but realistically you need at least some money in order to do so. Many factors will affect the travel budget you’ll need; the length of time you’ll be on the road, the countries you decide to experience, the passport you’re travelling on, the standard of accommodation you want to stay in, and whether you’re able to continue making income while backpacking – to name a few!
For most female backpackers though, saving as much money as physically possible prior to embarking on a long-term trip, is important not only to ensure the longest and best experience is had, but to feel a sense of security and travel confidence too. A back-up fund goes a long way to overcoming unseen expenses and (rare) emergencies, as well as removing financial stress from your journey. So, how do you go about saving such a large pot of money in the first place?
There are countless answers to that question and ultimately, it comes down to your willingness to adapt your current lifestyle, while parting ways with some of your most prized material possessions. To give you some ideas, the 15 ways listed below have been tried and tested successfully either by myself or travel friends, playing a huge part in our ability to take off on our round-the-world tours. Saving constantly is by no means easy and a lot of the time it can feel like you’re missing out on events in your homelife, but trust me, it’s more than worth it in the long run!
- Move in with your parents
I know, this is a controversial one. I’m currently twenty-seven and in order to save for my trip I spent a whole year in one double room in my ‘rents house, with my boyfriend and both of our entire belongings. There were times of frustration, of course, but ultimately I was lucky enough to live rent-free, while my boyfriend spent a fraction of the cost in comparison to his flat’s mortgage. (Thanks Mum and Dad, love you!)
- Save change in a sealed jar
It may seem like an old school method of saving in these modern times, but chucking spare change into a money box you can’t open is a quick way to save a decent amount of cash. For an easy example, throw in one pound per day for a year and you’ve got £365 – that’s a one-way flight from London to Bangkok! As an additional tip, be sure to count your savings yourself, as public coin-counting machines often keep ten percent of the total you put in.
- Prepare meals in advance
Prior to travelling, I worked in an office complex that housed a Starbucks, Subway, a cafe, and a convenience store. For the last six months of my employment I probably purchased from these places a handful of times at most. Instead, I was sure to do a weekly shop in a cheap supermarket every Sunday, at which I’d buy supplies for every meal in the coming week. Just buying a daily ‘meal deal’ for £3.00 in the convenience store at work would have cost two-thirds of my weekly shop budget! In short, I saved hundreds of pounds.
- Work overtime
If extra hours are available, take them. At the time, it might feel like you’re working every hour under the sun but in the long run, once you’re on that long-awaited beach, the additional stresses it took to get you there will instantly disappear. Work hard, travel longer.
- Find casual work at festivals
Newer and smaller festivals in particular are likely to pay cash in hand, while all will give you flexible shifts and allow you time in the venue to enjoy the event. Just don’t go spending your extra cash on alcohol and food, that kind of defeats the object…
- Adjudicate school exams
Many colleges and schools recruit for temporary exam adjudicators in the spring and early summer months, which are hourly-paid positions and a completely simple way to make money. Plus, most exams take place on weekdays which means, if you have paid holiday to take from work, you can actually be earning two lots of income on one day.
- Recycle your old devices
There are a huge number of websites whose only purpose is to receive and recycle old phones, cameras and laptops. The amount these sites will pay out depends on the technology you have to offer and it’s condition. The best ones give instant quotes online but I use moneysavingexpert.com for reviews and feedback on service. Got an old iPhone sitting in a drawer at home? Cash it in for a few extra pounds.
- Sell your old clothes using apps
We’ve all heard of eBay, and while the global auction site is great for getting rid of a variety of products, it’s not the best platform for selling female clothes for a deserved price. My favourite apps for selling clothes are Depop and Vinted. Both of these are populated by predominantly female sellers and buyers of solely clothing and accessories. Both are safe, secure apps for sending on your unwanted clothing, and you’ll receive much fairer amounts of money in return.
- Do a car boot sale
We’re still on the selling topic because it’s the quickest way to grow your travel fund with minimal effort. Particularly in the summer months, car boot sales can earn you in excess of £100 a week if you have ornaments, tools, silverware, sports equipment – in fact anything that’s in reasonable condition! Be prepared for some early mornings to secure the best spot for your stand.
- Send off old DVDs, CDs and books
Similarly to device recycling websites, there are numerous websites in hunt of your old DVD, CD and book collections, that will give you money in exchange. Needless to say, with Netflix, online downloads and Kindles ever-growing in popularity, selling these objects won’t earn you a huge amount, think pennies per DVD rather than pounds. Still, a nice size collection can be worth in excess of £20 and when it comes to travel saving, every little helps. Just think, that’s two night’s hostel accommodation in South America!
- Sacrifice your social life
Now this is a toughie, especially when you’re planning to travel for months on end, or with no set return date. If you’re anything like me, an internal battle will take place every time you’re invited out for the evening with friends, family or work colleagues; on the one hand you can’t afford to spend and therefore should not join them for drinks and/or dinner, while on the other hand you may not see these loved ones for a prolonged period of time, therefore shouldn’t you spend as much quality time with them as possible? Try not to give in to the latter option for ninety-nine percent of the time. Instead, offer to do visits to their houses or small get togethers in your own (or your parents’ if you’ve taken my first piece of advice) home.
- Sell large and expensive items
By this I don’t necessarily mean sell the house that you’ve worked years to acquire. Of course, if you’re happy to do so and have equity to receive, it’s an option, but losing a valuable asset such as this isn’t always a great idea. By large items, I actually mean things like cars and bikes. A car sitting at home for a year while you navigate the globe is no use, plus the money you can earn from selling can fund a huge part of your trip. Sometimes we have to part way with material things to achieve our travel dreams, even if we’re sentimentally attached to them.
- Be your friends’ taxi service
A painful idea considering you’ll either not be joining them on a night out, or will be designated driver, but another necessary means to an end. You’re saving, they’ll be intoxicated and unable to drive, why not earn a few pounds by delivering them safely home at the end of the night? I’m sure they’d rather give you their money than a taxi company. I should probably add here that you should do this for friends only, illegal taxiing is not a great, or legal, saving idea.
- Do airport runs for family and friends
On the same note as above, I cannot stress enough that taking strangers to the airport in exchange for money and without a license, is not legal in the UK. However, when family and friends (real and Facebook types) are off on holiday, you can easily ferry them to and from the airport with their luggage, and if they choose to donate to your travel fund in return, so be it!
- Become a private tutor
This is where that A-level or degree can come in handy. If you are qualified and knowledgeable in a subject, ask work colleagues, friends and family if they know of anyone requiring private tuition. You can do it from your own home or in the local area, for just an hour or two in the evenings or on weekends. Plus, you may get the added satisfaction of helping a student pass their GCSEs, bonus!
Of course ladies, growing your world travel fund is just the beginning of the financial fun. Once on the road, you’ll always be looking for ways to stick to budget, save pennies and earn top-up cash if needed. Don’t fear, there’s plenty of ways to achieve all of the above and I’m glad to offer advice from the lessons I’ve learnt while travelling the world.
PIN IT !