How to Start Building Your Travel Fund Today

If you've got a dream vacation in mind, you'll need to have money set aside before you go. So let's talk about getting there.

Putting money back for your dream getaways can be challenging. Life has a way of throwing us financial curve balls when we least expect it. If you dream of travel, you’ll need to start building your travel fund ASAP.

Even on our best days, putting our someday vacay on the back burner is easier than putting that money away and not touching it. But if globe-trotting is a long-term goal, you’ll need to find ways to save up and stick to it. There’s no time like the present to start. And the sooner you do, the more money you’ll ultimately have.

Here’s how to build your dream travel fund into your vacation reality before you know it.

Set Your Savings Goal

First things first, you should set a savings goal. It’s helpful to have limits to respond to, strive towards, and if you’re lucky, surpass. Look at your financial situation as it stands and create a goal that’s realistic. It’s okay to tweak your goal as you go, but having a jumping-off point will be useful.

You’ll be able to determine how long it will likely take based on your income alone. You’ll likely feel a great sense of satisfaction and drive to keep saving when you see yourself making progress. Even if it’s not an exact amount, it’s important to have some idea of how much money you plan to spend. Another way to set your initial savings goal is to assess how much money you’ve spent on travel in the past, and then go from there.

A few key things you’ll need to consider include accommodation, transportation, entertainment, food, shopping possibilities, exchange rates, ATM fees, and emergency money. Some people also find it helpful to save with a specific event in mind.


If you’re going to save in a realistic way, it’ll help to do some research. For instance, social media is loaded with travel groups all offering up travel-savvy tips, especially when it comes to costs. All over the internet, you’ll be able to get an idea of what other people are spending on average when they travel to the places you most want to go.

Also, you may stumble across something that looks like the deal of a lifetime. But if you don’t look into the experiences of others, you may be missing out on crucial information about why the accommodation is so cheap. In other words, you may think you’ve found a deal when you’ve really encountered a scam. Travelers are usually quick to let others know when this has happened to them, so do your research and spend a little extra when it counts.

focused young woman researching on laptop

For example, you should always prioritize your safety while traveling. Don’t opt for a cheaper hotel if there’s a lot of missing information or seemingly sketchy details. You should always have as much clarity as possible when it comes to the most essential parts of your trip.

With that said, you should attempt to put back some of your travel money with traveler’s insurance in mind. Ultimately, you may not need it, but having it could eliminate a major financial loss or source of stress, especially. when traveling internationally.

Set Up a Specific Account

woman sitting on couch with credit card and phone in hand

For various reasons, you’ll want to set up a separate account in addition to your regular checking and savings. For starters, you’ll eliminate the risk of accidentally dipping into your travel funds for regular bills, shopping sprees, or emergencies. Then put an allotted amount into this account every month.

Above all else, it will help prevent any confusion about what funds are available and which ones aren’t. Financial experts highly recommend setting up automatic monthly transfers so that building your travel fund becomes a part of your budgeted, financial routine. This will simplify the process. Setting up recurring automated payments is incredibly hassle-free.

Keeping your travel money in its own space will allow those funds to accumulate over time.

Read More: Best Credit Cards For Travel Points

Cut Back on Unnecessary Spending

Paper shopping bags in a trolley

Let’s be real. It’s a heck of a lot easier to spend money than it is to save it, no matter what you are saving up for. And thanks to online shopping, purchasing things we absolutely don’t need without an ounce of hesitation is easier than ever. But if you want to build a travel fund, one of the first things you will need to commit to is cutting back on unnecessary spending.

At first, it may be a challenge. But stick to it. Developing healthy spending habits will prove well worth self-restraint when you are on your dream vacation. And partially, it’ll be because you worked so hard to save the money and said no when you could’ve said yes. Chances are, you probably won’t even think about all of that stuff you could but didn’t buy when you’re on your dream vacation.

If You Have a Little Extra Cash, Set it Aside

Dollars cash money in rubber band with note written DONT TOUCH , concept of saving for rainy day

If you come into any money outside of what you normally earn, save it. Whether it’s your tax refund, ten bucks in a birthday card, a lottery scratch-off, or that three dollars you found in the drier, put it away with future travel in mind.

One of the best ways to build a travel fund without messing up your budget is to turn any and all extra money into trip money. Sure, there are plenty of things you could spend extra money on and plenty of rainy days on the horizon. It’s always easier to spend than save, after all.

Think of it this way: if you can exhibit as much self-restraint as possible and put every bit of loose change into your travel fund, the payoff will be much greater an investment than that pair of pricey shoes you had your eye on, but definitely didn’t need.

Turn Your Clutter into Cash

person taking photo of sweater for resale

One of the best ways to save a little extra money is to make a little extra money. Whether you pick up extra hours, a side hustle, or sell our handmade soaps on Etsy, know what your resources are and use them wisely. No matter your job situation or level of craftiness, there’s a foolproof outline for making extra, easy cash: online resale apps.

Maybe your closet is crammed with clothes or your garage is overflowing with unused electronics. Whatever you have too much of is potentially a sellable good. So get online and find your ideal market. Resale apps are officially more lucrative than ever. And if there’s something in good condition that you no longer want or need, there’s someone out there willing to pay for it.

Decide what you’re willing to part with and set those items aside. If you’re not ready to take the virtual route, an old-fashioned garage sale would work as well. But you’ll always reach more buyers online. In fact, some people have been able to turn the art of reselling their used stuff into full-time careers.

Read More: Best Resale Apps For Turning Clutter Into Cash

Invest in an Old School Piggy Bank

Piggy Bank On Deckchair With Sunglasses on beach

One of the best ways to put trip money back for a trip (or anything, for that matter) is to simplify the system you’re using. While you should definitely open an account just for travel, you should also have a way to put back all the dollar bills and pennies you stumble across on a regular basis. Whether you use a mason jar or an old-fashioned piggy bank, try to put a little something in it every time you can. Even if you drop in a coin daily, your piggy bank likely won’t have all of your trip money in it, but every little bit counts.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you dumped your change, added it up, and realized you could cover airfare or at least a few meals? You very well could if you stick to this method consistently.

Stick to a Budget (With Travel in Mind)

budgeting on a laptop

Whether you are planning a trip or not, setting and sticking to a budget is important for maintaining financial health and growth. And when you incorporate travel as a factor, it’s even more important to implement forms of financial discipline. In order to reach your goals in a realistic way, you must budget with travel in mind.

If you’re budgeting and can’t see to get a tight enough grip on your money, it may be time to invest in apps that allow you to assess your spending habits with detailed reports. Once you establish where the bulk of your money goes, you can begin cutting back on excess spending and turn your travel goals into something more attainable. If you need a little help getting started, check out these 10 great budgeting apps, compliments of Capterra.

One of the best things you can do to realistically work towards your travel goal is to work towards becoming debt-free. The more you prioritize your overall financial well-being and getting your debts paid off, the more readily you can put any and all extra money towards your travel dreams.

Read More: Breaking Down The Best Budgeting Techniques

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