42 ways to live minimally and save money so you can travel more

We often think that saving money means giving certain things up. But that’s only half the story.

The truth is, saving money often means simplifying, living minimally, buying consciously, and staying sustainable… lifestyle choices most of us agree are better anyway.

But, on top of that, there’s a major payoff. For every meal you eat at home instead of at a restaurant; for every bus ride you take instead of making payments on a car; for every book you borrow instead of buying—you will be rewarded.  

For travelers, every single dollar, euro, or yen you save means more time on the road exploring the wonderful world we live in. 

These tips will get you out on the road more quickly and sustainably for longer periods of time.

Save money while you’re traveling

Saving money while you’re actually on an adventure is definitely a challenge. Detours and frustration will occur. But the payoff—the ability to travel for longer periods of time without going broke—is worth all of the little inconveniences.

Eating and drinking

1. Pack your lunch as often as possible. This applies both when you’re home and when you’re traveling.

2. Drink water. Bring your water bottle and fill it up for free wherever you can.

3. Cook at your hostel or Air BnB. They often have full kitchens you’re encouraged to use.

4. Pre-game with drinks at your hostel/Air BnB. Pro tip: Buy local drinks and enjoy them on the cheap before heading out for the night.

Transportation

5. Only travel to destinations with the cheapest airfare. Choose your destination based on current airfare and work backward on your vacation plans from there. Learn how to research the cheapest flights with this editable freebie!

6. Use the cheapest airline and don’t buy any of the extra add-ons. 

7. Pack just one bag to avoid paying for checked luggage.

8. Take the slower route if you have the time. Try an overnight bus or train to save money on a flight and sleeping accommodations at the same time.

9. Use public transportation or go by foot. Lyfts add up.

10. Stay in one place for a longer period of time. Spend less time in transport and more time enjoying your destination.

11. Travel locally. Remember to check out that state park 50 miles away from home that you’ve never visited before too.

Activities

12. Travel to your destination in the off-season. It will be less expensive and less crowded.

13. Skip the most touristy tourist attractions unless you’re really, truly interested. They often aren’t very authentic anyway.

14. If you’re a student, utilize every student discount available to you. 

15. Don’t cram too many activities into one day. It costs a lot and you’ll get less out of each of them.

16. Do a free or low-cost walking tour. A bus is almost never the most personal way to experience a new place.

17. Explore less obvious destinations. Ask locals what they enjoy doing.

Accommodations

18. Reduce costs for travel accommodations. Try hosteling, Air BnB, Couchsurfing, or camping. Never stayed at a hostel before? Read my complete guide here.

19. Google free activities in your destination. The free options are often the best ones!

20. Remember your shampoo/conditioner, travel towel, travel sheets, padlock, etc. when you’re staying at a hostel. Avoid any extra charges.

Shopping

21. Avoid souvenirs. Unless they’re small and you’re really, really sure you want them.

22. Carefully research common scams before you go. Every area has its unique issues and it helps a lot to know what kind of tricks might be coming.

23. Watch your wallet at all times. I wear a cross-body bag and keep my hand on my zipper while I’m out. Travel locks work nicely with double-zippered bags too. A phone wallet can also help so that you aren’t trying to keep track of so many different things!


Save money when you’re at home (so you can travel!)

Saving money for travel while you’re back home is a lot easier in many ways. But it also means you can push yourself even further by living even more minimally and save even more money more quickly! You can go without a surprising number of things at home and live a full, rich life.

Eating and drinking

24. Cut back on drinking. It’s better for you anyway.

25. Buy food in bulk. Stash up on your most-used items so you’ll ultimately pay less.

26. Cook at home instead of going out to dinner. Save on date night. Even if you make something fairly elaborate, it will cost less than it would at a restaurant.

27. Reduce restaurant expenses. Go for appetizers or dessert only. Have drinks at home.

28. Have your friends over for drinks at your house instead of going out. 

Shopping

29. Shop at thrift stores. But only when you really need new clothes.

30. Buy used gear. Do the planet and your checking account a favor at the same time.

31. Skip extra beauty procedures. Cut your own hair, do your own nails, pluck your own eyebrows, etc.

32. Ditch any subscriptions you aren’t using. You can always restart them later if you really need to.

33. Keep your home warmer/cooler to save money. A few degrees on the thermostat can make a big difference over a month or a year.

34. Bike, walk, or take public transportation to work. Skipping car ownership saves a lot of money.

Live minimally

35. Buy reusables over disposables. This goes for paper towels, paper plates, dryer sheets, plastic wrap, etc.

36. Switch from pads/tampons to a Diva CupThey’re a one-time investment because they last forever. Click to check the current price.

37. Borrow books at the library. It’s an amazing place to find travel books anyway so that you don’t have 50 outdated ones sitting on your shelf. You might even be able to borrow Kindle books while you’re away traveling!

38. Skip the gym membership. Run outside, do yoga videos at home, etc.

39. Use what you have first. Don’t buy duplicates of anything until you use what you already have.

Find extra income

40. Even if you don’t need it to get by, start a side gig. Use all the money you make for guilt-free travel.

41. Sell items you don’t need. With Facebook’s new selling features, it’s easier than ever.

42. Take overtime so you have extra money to spend on your next trip. 

 

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Are you ready to plan your next adventure?

Learn to save money so you can get on the road

I believe one of the biggest barriers to travel is fear of the unknown. Do I have enough money? Will I need a visa? 

The truth is, if you don’t do your research now, you’ll never know.

This workbook—5 steps to your next vacation—will help you get your ideas in writing so you can turn them into reality! 

In this editable PDF, you’ll learn:

  • How to save money on transportation
  • Prep for restrictions like time, money, passports/visas
  • Estimate a daily budget in one step
  • Calculate how much you will need to save by when for your dream vacation

I’m ready. Send me the editable PDF.

Download the workbook