You Can Afford to Travel: How to Save and Make Money to See the World

Whenever I chat with people about my travels or my next adventure, one question always comes up: "How do you afford it?" Just so you know, I'm not a full time traveler. I don't get paid to travel. I'm not independently wealthy and I didn't fall into a large amount of money or marry rich. I'm also not an extreme saver or super budget traveler. I'm just a girl who loves to travel and tries to find ways to make it work. I'm always trying to save and make some extra cash and looking for ways to save while I'm traveling. Here are some of my favorite tips and sites.

Offer your services.
You can earn a bit of extra money (sometimes a lot) in your spare time by offering your time and services. Drive for a ride-sharing service like Uber or Lyft. One of my favorites is getting paid to dog sit with DogVacay and Rover. Yes, you can get paid to watch after someone's pets! There's always regular human babysitting too. You can also run errands and deliveries for Instacart, Postmates, or Favor. If you have a specific craft or speciality, look for gigs on Thumbtack, TaskRabbit, GigSalad, or Shiftgig. Heck, be a Princess or Ninja at birthday parties. You can also find online gigs and projects for cash on sites like Fiverr and Upwork.

Sell your stuff. 
Look around your place and I'm sure you'll see things you don't use or wear anymore. Think you don't have anything you can part with? Read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing and start decluttering! Have a garage sale, sell your stuff on Facebook or Nextdoor, or take it to a store like Buffalo Exchange or a consignment store. Many used book and record stores will give you cash or you can go the digital route and put it up on Ebay. I'm a huge (and I mean really huge) fan of Poshmark where you can sell your new and used Women's clothing and accessories. 

Rent your stuff.
I love Airbnb and use it as a host and as a guest. I rent out my guest rooms while I'm home and the whole house (for even more $$) when I'm away. This completely helps offset the cost of traveling and often pays for all my accommodations. There are a lot of other sites to rent your home and now even services to rent your car like Getaround and RelayRides and some cities have sites where you can rent out your parking spaces. You can even rent your clothes with StyleLend and pretty much anything else on sites like RentNotBuy.

Set up automatic savings.
The easiest way to save is to set up direct deposit on your paychecks and have a portion go directly into your savings account. I also use Digit to help automate my savings even more. I don't touch it, look at it, or even think about it until it's time to start using it for a trip. And yes, I also still have a good old fashioned piggy bank. It's just for loose change but when it's full I cash in for, well, cash. 

Look for deals.
You don't need to become an extreme couponer, but you'll be surprised by how much you can save by shopping around a little. I also highly recommend using Ebates when shopping online to find sales and earn cashback. I also use RetailMeNot to find coupons and deals and their app is perfect for finding deals in stores and online.

Rack up points.
Loyalty cards and points are perfect if you're earning them from buying things you'd normally buy anyway and can redeem them for things you need and want-especially travel related items and trips! The one card I can't speak more highly of is the Chase Sapphire Preferred. I don't recommend going into debt, but if you're going to use a credit card, this is the one to use. I've stopped using my ATM card and put all charges on my Chase card and pay it off at the end of the month. And yes, the points add up wicked fast. I already used points for my month long trip to Belize and a vacation to visit my family and Disney World. And be sure to pay attention to any special offers like double and triple point opportunities. Want 50,000 points to help get you started? Here ya go

The best way to save money is to not spend it. A penny saved is a penny earned, right?? If you're tempted to buy something you're not sure you need... sleep on it. I also helps to say no to something and immediately put what you would have spent on it into your savings. You can also cut out cable, reduce your gym membership, and cook at home more than going out. It shouldn't feel like a crash diet of not spending ANY money. You can still go out with your friends, go to the movies, and get your fancy coffee... just do it a little less. I color my own hair with eSalon instead of getting it done professionally and instead of eating out and going to happy hours all the time have I rotating dinner parties with friends. 

Do you have any other tips or tricks for saving and making some extra travel funds? I'd love to hear them!

Please note that some of the sites mentioned do have referral links so  if you signup through them I earn a small incentive, at no additional cost to you. I only recommend resources and services that I have personally used and love. Thank you for your support! And that's also another tip for saving/earning money to travel more. 😉

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