Wondering how to save money for travel as a student?
Two of the most common travel questions I see popping up time and time again are: “how do you save money for travel?” and “what kind of job do you have that allows you to travel so much?”
I’m by no means a travel expert, but I am a total nerd when it comes to saving money and finding a good deal. For years I’ve been sharing little hints, tips and job opportunities with friends. Now I’m finally ready to share them with the world (anyone who reads my blog, but the world sounded a lot more dramatic and climactic).
A lot of travel bloggers advocate making sacrifices in the short term so you can travel in the long term and to an extent I agree. However, I also think if you don’t allow yourself a single penny to spend on yourself saving for travel isn’t fun – it’s miserable.
I believe you can still go out with friends and do a lot of the things you love – provided the things you love don’t include taking the money you have and burning it.
Start to save money for travel now
My number one tip onhow to save money for travel as a studentl is to start now. Even if you don’t have a trip planned or know when you’ll have the opportunity to go. When I was in uni I had four bank accounts; current account, long term savings, short term savings and one that had absolutely no point whatsoever and I still to this day don’t even know why it existed.
I’m not saying they were always full or that you need 100 accounts, but if you set up a standing order for money to leave from one account to the other you won’t even notice the money going out to miss it.
Another thing I like to do is put all my loose change in a container and only take it to the bank when no more money can fit into it. It adds up… eventually!
Take on a second job
If you have the time freedom taking on a second job is a great way to add some funds to the ol’ bank account. Some of these only require a few hours here and there – others are a bit more time intensive.
As a broke student I loved this job and if you love kids babysitting is a great extra earner to add to the portfolio. I worked with some very err let’s say active kids, but once you’re both used to each other it can be good fun.
Another bonus of babysitting is that often you don’t have to formally advertise or apply for a position. Usually, they can be facilitated through neighbors or friends of friends.
I could write a whole new post on this alone and if it’s something you’d like to learn more about let me know in the comments. Promotional work was the first ever part time job I had nearly eight years ago and I still work in this area today.
Some promo jobs I’ve done in the past are: handing out free samples in supermarkets, flyering, costume work (which is usually higher paid for the potential humiliation lol), promoting brands at music festivals, hostessing dating events, data capture and mystery shopping.
I found my first job on Gumtree, but these days there are dedicated Facebook groups and websites that make the process a lot easier. I recommend making a solid profile template in Word and signing up for every agency you can find that does jobs in your area to increase your chances of getting hired for a job.
What skill do you have that other people can benefit from?
Are you a writer or graphic designer? Are you a digital marketing whizz kid? For me, writing is probably my main passion so in the past I’ve capitalised on that by writing authentic copy for brands.
Research what exists already and offer something of more value or convenience. Social media has made it ridiculously easy for anyone to market their business so once you have an idea let your followers know what you’re up to.
Side note: Be both realistic and smart with your rates. If you don’t know how much to charge research the prices of someone similar to you. If you’re offered an amount below what you believe your work to be worth please do not accept it!
Not only is it devaluing your services, it is also giving people unrealistic expectations of what they can expect from others in the industry.
Claim cashback on your spending
TopCashback works by giving you a small percentage of money from your purchases back when you purchase through their website as opposed to directly through the company website. I think you can cash out when you get to £10 or something, but I advise that you just accumulate and cash out at the end of the year or when you have a substantial amount of money.
All my British bank accounts are with Halifax and as a benefit to their customers, they offer cash back with numerous household names. These change from month to month but some of the brands I’ve received cashback from include Emirates, Morrisons supermarket and New Look.
All the money from those cashback purchases is then recredited to your account at the end of the month. I like to think of it as adult pocket money.
Take advantage of referral codes
Referral codes work by crediting you with a thank you in the way of money, points or a voucher for referring your friends to a product or service.
I was recommending things to my friends (anyone who would listen) for years without realising I could actually make money from those suggestions. My highest referral earnings in the past were from Unidays.
For every one person that I got to sign up I’d earn £1. These days it’s £5. It’s a great service that I’d recommend to people regardless of whether I’d earn money for it or not – when referring people only recommend products and services you’d use yourself. You don’t want to be responsible for someone having a bad experience!
Have a clear out
If your wardrobe looks like an episode of extreme hoarders then this one goes out to you. Get rid of some shit.
I’d love to say I’m great at this, but it’s one I’m definitely working on. It’s definitely a challenge when you feel emotionally attached to ALL your belongings. Think Toy Story. The best way to attack it is by going in with a set amount of things you want to rehome before you even look at anything. More than that number is a bonus, any less keep going ‘til you find something else. Be ruthless.
Sell things online
So once you’ve parted with your prized possessions how do you make money from them? If it’s clothes, shoes or anything similar they can be sold through online marketplaces like eBay or Depop. Both very easy interfaces to use that take a small cut if you manage to sell the item.
Local buy and sell groups
You can also sell your clothes on the local buy and sell groups along with items of furniture or things that are too heavy to mail for eBay. The beauty of buy and sell groups is you don’t have to pay postage, the groups don’t take a cut of your sale and once you hand over the goods you immediately get the cash!
Yes, yes I hear you all cry “borrowing is not saving money!”
I don’t want to give any irresponsible advice so if you know you’re the kind of person that is prone to spending large amounts of money in short amounts of time I see you and you should probably avert your eyes now.
I spent most of my time in uni without an overdraft because I just didn’t see a need for it and didn’t want to be tempted to spend it on pointless shit. When I knew I was going to America for three months that changed.
I didn’t want to miss any experience because honestly, it was the opportunity of a life time. A week later my overdraft had been increased from £0 to £1000. Towards the end of my travels, I did dip into my overdraft but it was all paid back within a matter of months when I got back to the UK.
Similarly, when I knew I was going to be spending a year Australia I knew to be allowed in the country on Working Holiday Visa you had to have $5,000 AUD. I also knew that I was going to be spending two months in South East Asia before even getting to Australia and didn’t have a very clear idea of how much things would cost. So again, I visited the bank and increased my overdraft from £1000 to £2000.
This certainly isn’t for everyone. If I didn’t have a student account where I could use my overdraft interest free then maybe there would have been a lot more to consider. But I’m someone who’s very responsible with money so it was never a worry for me that I wouldn’t be able to pay it back once I started working again.
Unfortunately, money hasn’t yet started growing on trees. I’m still patiently waiting for that to happen in real life and not just on The Sims. However, these are some great ways to get a bit of extra cash for free!
Comping is the practice of serially entering competitions. Think all the fun of gambling minus the sadness of losing money that you needed to exist. In the past, I’ve won a £100 spa voucher, a £100 Topshop voucher, an expensive watch and various make up items
I don’t enter competitions as frequently as I used to (it does require setting aside a bit of time if you’re serious, but if you’re interested in giving it a go this blog post has loads of great tips to maximise your winnings.
When I was at uni I used to regularly take part in focus groups, which I usually found through uni newsletters and e-mails. However, if you’re not at uni I know you can also find them on Gumtree and Facebook. It goes without saying, safety first and screen the people you’re supposed to be meeting to make sure are who they say they are and not an organ harvester (it can happen!)
My inner nerd really enjoys participating in focus groups they’re a great chance to get a deeper insight into various topics and often as an incentive for taking part you’re offered some sort of voucher or money and free lunch!
Though in comping and focus groups the rewards are often vouchers or items as opposed to physical money you can always sell the item on. Also, think of the savings if it’s for something you actually need. I once was given a £100 supermarket voucher for taking part in a focus group and it covered my food shopping for weeks!
These are just some of the methods I’ve used in the past when I’ve needed to save money for travel, but I’m sure there are hundreds more!
What about you guys? What are your top tips on how to save money for travel? Any on my list you haven’t thought of before? Let me know!
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Disclosure: please note this post contains referral links, which means at no extra cost for you if you decide to sign up for any of the free services I will earn a little commission. I have experienced and highly recommend all the sites listed. I recommend them because they are useful not because of the small commissions I make. There is no pressure to sign up for anything that you do not find useful!