How to save money to travel

Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.

-Anonymous

A lot of people cannot imagine how I manage to afford all the travelling that I do.

Half of them think I earn pots of money and the other half, who have an idea of how much journalists (I am a journalist by profession) earn, cannot fathom how I manage to save all that money!

Here’s the secret — I keep things simple. I have my priority set (which is travel, of course) and I do everything to ensure I save enough for my next trip. I don’t spend much on anything else.

Think about it. You don’t really need too much stuff to lead a happy life. Do you really need that big flat screen TV? Or an iPhone for that matter?

Here’s how to save money to travel. If you’re as crazy about travelling as I am, I’m sure you can do these too and save up for your dream trip.

save-1Cut down on shopping: Before you decide to go shopping the next time, go back and check the stuff you already have. Is it really that hard to go by without buying some new clothes or a new pair of sunglasses? Go to the store only when it’s absolutely essential.

Eat out less: How many times do you eat out every month? Four times? Eight times? More than that? When I’m in super saver mode, I stop eating out entirely. But unless you are desperate, you can just decide on the number of times you are going to eat out and stick to that. Alternatively, you can fix a monthly budget.

Use public transport: It’s not only green, but also good for your pockets. I stopped driving to work before my Europe trip in 2012 to save on fuel. Also, make use of whatever public transport passes are available in your area. If your city has a metro and buying a smartcard helps you save some money, go for it. For the shoestring traveller, every paise counts.

Learn from my French friend here who's taking the bus during his trip to Kolkata

Learn from my French friend here who’s taking the bus during his trip to Kolkata

Budget your parties: Do you love partying? I do! At times, it’s awesome to just loosen up, grab some drinks and dance like no one’s watching. But frequent partying set you back by thousands of rupees a month. So again, fix a budget.

Record your expenditures: If you think it’s hard to for you stick to a budget, maintain a record of your expenditures so that at the end of the month, you can see for yourself the spending that you could have avoided and learn from that.

Inspire yourself: This is probably the best way to save. If you are inspired and driven, you can do anything! Think in terms of flights. I have been using an “unsmart” phone for the past four-and-a-half years now. When I think about buying a sexy smartphone that could cost around Rs 10,000, I think, “That’s my Bangkok to-and-fro airfare! And since I spend quite a few hours in front of the computer everyday and I don’t really need a smartphone!”

crcardUse credit cards responsibly: The operative word is “responsibly”. If you use credit cards responsibly, you could end up saving quite a bit of money in the form of interest. Also prefer cards that let you convert your reward points into airline miles. If you are a responsible credit card user, it makes sense to use your card for all your everyday purchases and use as less cash as possible.

I am sure you savings will see a jump if you follow at least some of these.

Good luck and happy travels!

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