First and one of the most important new habit we input to our “saving mode” was to record EVERYTHING we spent money on.

For 14 months we have been keeping track of every expense, big and small, and by doing this consistently, we spotted where we spent the most and what we needed to avoid. You can use an Excel file as we did at first, but a great iPhone app made our tracking even easier.

Erin and Simon from Never Ending Voyage developed a great app called Trail Wallet. It is an amazingly useful expense tracker that you can use while saving at home or budgeting while travelling. You can log your expenses really quickly, create daily or monthly budgets, assign categories, and export as CSV and backup to Dropbox. An excellent app to use every day.

saving money for your long-term travels

Ivana and Gianni while cooking a dinner for friends.

The following 5 actions are the ones that worked for us. Thanks to them we have been able to save 70% of our two incomes. So, what exactly can you do to start saving money for your long-term travels?

1. Stop smoking (or any other unhealthy habit)

The best ever decision you can do for your body and mind. Make a plan as we did, and put money you would use for cigarettes in a special jar every day. Check it at the end of the month for a nice surprise… We wish we could see your happy face. Now, can you imagine what you’ll find in the jar in one year? Well, we guess that after a couple of months, you will need to change the size of the container, too.

2. Stop going out frequently and invite friends to your place.

We know, at a certain age it is difficult to say to yourself is time to forget about the pleasure of going out on a regular basis, but trust us, you can have the same fun when you either reduce your dinners and drinks out, or cut other social gatherings down to once per month. At the beginning, we went to eat out only now and then, but after 2-3 months we have started to invite friends to our place and cook for them instead. We were still having a social life while spending much, much less. Highly recommended!

saving money for your long-term travels

Homemade bread done with sourdough.

3. Start to produce your own food

After you go through your list of expenses, you will definitely find something you can make or prepare by yourself. Thanks to a friend who gifted us a starter of precious Pasta Madre  we started to cultivate our own sourdough, which we used for bread, pizza, focaccia and cakes. In the spring and summer season, we made homemade pesto from wild garlic and basil. We also grew our own strawberries and aromatic herbs on the balcony, which did not take much space or time.

4. Pick the herbs for your tea… or salad

Just do a quick search on the Internet or ask your mum, grandma or a friend which herbs are good for tea and find a location near your place or town that is not close to the road or any factory. Starting around May in northern Europe, there are dozens of plants and herbs to be found in forests and meadows that can provide a full table of healthy snacks, salads and delicious tea. Some of the most common in Europe are nettle, dandelion, chamomile, yarrow, mint, and wild garlic.

saving money for your long-term travels

Our homemade nettle gnocchi with sage… yummy!

5. Before buying something, think twice.

Consider twice, or better three times if the thing you need to buy is a ‘must’ have. We followed an advice of Paul McKenna in his “I Can Make You Rich’. And however commercial the title might sound to you, his suggestion was worth gold. In practice, whenever we felt fancy to buy anything, we asked ourselves if it is ‘A’, ‘B’ or ‘C’:

A: it is absolutely necessary
B: I want it, I need it, but I can wait (and maybe I will change my mind)
C: I want it, but is really unnecessary.

For us it worked perfectly and after consistently going through this process, we could see how much stuff we would have bought compulsively without even thinking.

While on the road

In case you are a digital nomad or long-term travel is your lifestyle and you need to save money while being on the road, one of the ways how you can save some bucks is to use the best companies to send money abroad. Maybe you’re supporting your family back home, or you need to send money internationally for other reason, so consider using some of their services.

Also don’t forget that your money will last longer if you stick to cheap places when traveling.

All in all, these actions helped us to save for our trip. Honestly, at the beginning they required some effort, but being diligent and consistent they became part of our daily life, and we believe you can make them a part of yours, too.

Do you have any tips to save money for travel that have worked for you? Please share in the comments below.

24 Responses

    • Ivana

      I am happy it might help you, Richard. Thank you very much for your wish, and for your photo, naturally :)

      Reply
  1. Emanuele

    We determined how much we ideally needed before, during and after the trip. Then monitored our expenses for a couple of months to visualize our spending patterns, identify areas for cuts and figure out ways to achieve our ideal amount. We also found it beneficial to open a savings account to “park” and lock our savings, preventing us from accessing them randomly and unnecessarily. Regarding the “after the trip” amount, it was for us a very important part of the budget. It prevented us from being broke at the end of the trip, so we could spend a few months looking for work or other forms of income, and figure out “what’s next”.

    Reply
    • Ivana

      Pre-monitoring is super helpful, I totally agree. Thanks for reminding the saving tip, Emanuele. I consider it as a “must” for long-term travel, as one needs to have a financial back-up when being on the road.

      Reply
    • Ivana

      Hi Catherine, glad you like them. Have a great time in Spain!!

      Reply
      • Rosa Maria

        This information is very useful, beautiful job Gianni and Ivana. Congrats!

      • Ivana

        Happy they can help you or someone else, Rosa Maria. Many thanks for your kind words :)

    • Ivana

      Many thanks, Zara. We are happy it goes well together and
      we are doing our best to stay in this mode also on the road :)

      Reply
  2. Inês Peres

    Excellent tips, you are good examples of everything they teach.

    Reply
    • Ivana

      Thank you, Inês. We are happy we can share what we have learned and spread it out.

      Reply
  3. Amber

    Great tips. It is also important to remind yourself WHY you are saving. When thinking about going out to eat in the US, where a cheap meal would cost us at least $20-30 we reminded ourselves that the money could be spent on about 7 or 8 meals in Vietnam, and we saved the money for the future experience.

    Reply
    • Ivana

      Absolutely agree, Amber. I remember when we were supposed to pay for something 4 euros, which was not that necessary and at the end we did not pay, because we just imagined a nice Thai massage for the same price, so we better saved those money :)
      Happy trips!

      Reply
  4. Jeff Bronson

    Good stuff. I definitely do #2 and #5 in preparation for long term traveling, as an aspiring digital nomad. Been doing this for years actually, it’s tough but will pay off.

    I find using Mint to tracking spending and budgets helps a lot as well, to see what’s actually happening in everyday life. It’s easy to think we are not spending much, then see those $10-20 purchases for quick meals really add up.

    As Amber mentions, knowing your “why” helps with motivation!

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Hi Jeff, great to hear that! And thanks for a tip with Mint. We use a Trail Wallet now and have to say it’s does its job very well, too. Cheers :)

      Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Hi Ailene, thanks for sharing your tips with us & our readers! Happy to meet another traveller who lives lighter and enjoys it! Happy travels to both of you :)

      Reply
  5. AleRoss

    Excellent ideas! We also…
    1) sell things we don’t need anymore
    2) use public transport instead of using the car
    3) sew our own t-shirt and overalls: it’s really easy and you save A LOT of money

    and last but not least, always keep a detailed track of your expenses so you know very well where money goes and have a better control on it :)

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Hi AleRoss, thanks for sharing your tips! Wow, sewing your own clothes, how great is that :) Public transport, biking or walking can save a big chunk of money, that’s true. I agree also with selling or giving away all you don’t need. It not only brings you some extra cash, but also clears out space you live in. As mentioned in the article, we use Wallet Trail app, super handy. Happy travels!

      Reply
  6. Aurélie

    One thing which really worked well for us is that we started preparing our food and bringing it to work… Buying a sandwich everyday is much more expensive than what it seems !

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      I can hear you, Aurelie,
      we did the same and save so much money back in Frankfurt!

      Reply
  7. Arie

    I love travelling, but I need time to save money for travel. May be you can make an article about how to get some money from travelling.

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Hi Arie,

      Thanks a lot for stopping by! It certainly is possible to save some money to travel when one has a regular salary and is willing to compromise and sacrifice little things that he/she doesn’t need at the end of the day (tv channels subscription, expensive mobile month plan, daily coffee in a cafe, new shoes every month…. there’s so much we can cut in our daily/monthly expenses). I know it might look impossible in the beginning, but with strong determination, everything is possible :)

      Regarding earning money while travelling, we might put together a post about it. Until then, you can get some inspiration in this awesome article of Sabrina Iovino: http://www.justonewayticket.com/2016/05/23/best-travel-jobs-50-ways-to-make-money-while-traveling-the-world/

      Cheers!

      Ivana

      Reply

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