Saving money for long or even short term travel can be a daunting task. We interviewed Stephanie from Twenty-SomethingTravel.com to learn how she saved over $20,000 in two years to take a year off and travel around the world.
Jazz Hostels: You saved up over $20,000 to take a year off and travel. Could you offer a few tips on how to save money for a long overseas trip?
Stephanie: At first that goal seemed really daunting, but I think the key is to keep yourself motivated. I was constantly reminding myself of my end goal, with pictures and by being involved in the travel community, and that made it feel like I was saving for something real and not an abstract someday.
Jazz Hostels: How did you calculate how much you were going to need for your year of traveling?
Stephanie: The internet is so great for this stuff: I read a lot of travel blogs by other people who had done similar things and based my budget around what they had generally spent.
Jazz Hostels: What was the biggest sacrifice you made by putting so much into savings each week?
Stephanie: Living at home with my mother. It was difficult at times but I saved SO much money I would otherwise have been spending on rent.
Jazz Hostels: What was the smallest spending habit you had that ended up saving you the most money?
Stephanie: Internet shopping. I used to buy little things when I was bored at work. $20 here, $20 there really adds up! I tried to impose a 24 hour waiting period on anything I wanted to buy online. 95% of the time I didn’t even want whatever it was the next day.
Jazz Hostels: Two years of planning and saving and waiting is a long time. How did you stay motivated to reach your goal?
Stephanie: I put up a lot of photos of the places I would go, and did a lot of research. The biggest motivating thing I did though was to start a blog! I tracked my savings progress online so I was extra motivated to meet my goal.
Jazz Hostels: If (or when) you plan another extended trip abroad, what would you do differently to save money?
Stephanie: Going forward I’m trying to focus a lot more in ways to bring in extra income while I am on the road, so that I can travel more comfortably for longer. I want to find a more sustainable model than work, travel, spend all my money, repeat.
Jazz Hostels: Once you’re on the road do you have a system to keep track of your daily budget?
Stephanie: I’m kind of terrible about that but I mainly just monitor my bank account to make sure I’m not exceeding my daily limit. I try to hold on to my receipts too.
Jazz Hostels: What advice do you have for someone just starting to make a savings plan to fund their travel?
Stephanie: It can be really hard to start good saving habits at the beginning because the task is so big and the trip so far away. The best thing you can do for yourself is to treat your plans as seriously as possible. Make a savings plan with monthly or even weekly goals and stick to it. Time passes faster than you’d think.
Jazz Hostels: Thanks, Stephanie![guestinterviewfooter interviewee=”Stephanie Yoder”]Stephanie Yoder is a girl who can’t sit still. Since graduating in 2007 she has either been traveling or planning to travel. She writes about her adventures on Twenty-Something Travel.[/guestinterviewfooter]