People ask me all the time, “Are you rich? Are you a trust fund baby? How do you save to travel the world? Do you need a lot of money for a RTW trip?” and I get it. Looking from the outside, it can totally be confusing how someone can save money and fund their trip around the world.
The thing is – there’s no magical secret that allows people to travel the world full-time and long-term. For the most part, they aren’t super rich and didn’t win the lottery either. But something that they all have in common is that they prioritized travel and saving money for their round-the-world trip.
There are so many different ways you can start saving money to travel the world, but I put together my favorite and important tips to help you save more money for your round-the-world trip. A lot of these tips can be applied to saving money in general or saving money to travel.
Table of Contents
Determine how much money you need to travel the world
There is something important that I need to point out first – it does not cost a lot of money to travel the world. You might be thinking you need to save a lot of money to travel… but that simply is not true. There are so many ways you can travel the world with little money.
You can travel the world on $25/day or even cheaper. And that does not mean you have to stay in cheap places too. I was able to travel the world on $25/day and I was still eating out every meal, staying in nice accommodations, going on a bunch of tours, etc.
So even though it does not cost a lot of money to travel the world, you still need to have some money to do it.
Before you hop on a plane, you need to determine how much money you need to travel the world. You can either determine the exact amount you need, or you can save a certain amount of money and travel with that.
Start thinking in terms of travel
This is a very important mindset shift that I’ve done and has helped tremendously when saving money for a round-the-world trip. Start thinking in terms of travel funds and travel experiences. So what do I mean by that?
Before you buy something, start calculating what that amount would equate to abroad. For example, if you were to spend $100 on something like clothes, shoes, dinner, etc., calculate what that $100 can get you traveling. So in this instance, $100 can get you 20 nights of accommodation abroad. TWENTY NIGHTS! That’s a lot when you think of it in terms of travel. Once you realize what you can get abroad with that amount, you will hopefully start to shift your mindset around if it’s worth spending that money or not.
Is $100 really worth that piece of clothing, dinner, or shoes? Or would you rather spend that money for 20 nights in another country? I think the latter!
Analyze your spending habits
One of the most important steps to saving money for your round-the-world trip is to analyze your spending habits. It is so easy to spend money nowadays and things can add up really fast.
You might not think you’re spending a lot of money, but $5 on coffee, $10 on lunch, $40 on food, $60 on clothes… it all adds up.
Analyze your spending habits and see what you spend your money on each month. Go through your purchases and see where you can cut back on future purchases. You will be surprised at how much money you actually spend on things that you don’t necessarily need.
Remember… $5 might not seem like a lot of money, but $5 can get you 4-5 meals abroad.
Get a travel savings account
Create a travel savings account that is dedicated to saving money for your round-the-world trip. Having a separate account dedicated to your RTW trip will help you easily keep track of how much money you have saved and will keep it separate from your normal savings.
After you create a travel savings account, determine an amount you feel comfortable saving each month. You can do a percentage of your salary or allocate a certain amount of money each month. After you determine how much money you want to save each month, set up an automatic transfer that goes directly into your travel savings account. When you do automatic transfers, it becomes an “out of sight, out of mind” for the time being and you won’t be tempted to spend that money.
Pro trip: get a savings account or checking account from credit unions, money market accounts, or online banks that offer higher interest. When you have a savings account with higher interest, you will be able to make some money by simply leaving your money in the account. It’s a win-win!
Have people fund your round-the-world trip
Wait… you can have people fund your trip around the world?! Yes! There are several different ways you can do this. You don’t need to be the only person funding your round-the-world trip.
If you are willing and able to, you can take paid sabbatical with your company so that way you are still getting paid while traveling the world. You can also get scholarships to help fund your trip around the world. I’ve received different scholarships to help pay for my time abroad. Just because you don’t have the money, doesn’t mean other people aren’t willing to support you.
You can also start a travel fund. With this travel fund, you can have family members, friends, aunts/uncles, and even strangers donate to your travel fund.
Modify and find hacks around your favorites
It can be hard saving money to travel the world, and you might not want to give up certain things you love. I get it. I do. Instead, you can modify your spending habits to save money for your round-the-world trip. As I previously said, it’s so important to analyze your spending habits. After you analyze your spending habits and see what you spend your money on, can you modify anything that you love to do?
For example, let’s say you love eating out and you don’t want to give that up. You find joy in trying new restaurants, dining out, etc. Can you eat during happy hour instead of dinner? Happy hours are generally a lot cheaper than eating dinner. Similarly, you can go there for lunch. Sometimes restaurants serve the same exact dishes during lunch for a fraction of the price. Or sometimes places have lunch specials where you can still have your favorite food for a discount.
You can still enjoy your favorite things and save money to travel the world. It doesn’t have to be this all-or-nothing mentality. You just need to modify or find hacks around it so you can still enjoy it while saving money for your round-the-world trip.
If you’re wondering what other hacks you can do to save money while still enjoying your favorite things, here’s an example of what I did for my gym. I used to go to CorePower Yoga, and I loved it. It was something that was a non-negotiable for me, but it was expensive! A monthly membership was $190/month! That’s a lot of money to spend when you’re trying to save money to travel the world. So what I did was I tried to find a hack around the membership price. I discovered they had a discounted membership where you work 1.5 hours a week to clean the yoga studio, and in return, you get paid AND a discounted membership.
After discovering this hack, it brought my membership fee down to $60/month and I was able to save $130/month. After many months of doing this, I was able to save over $1000!
Make money while traveling the world
If you don’t want to save much money to travel the world and want to start your round-the-world trip ASAP, consider working to help fund your trip. Making money while traveling the world is a great way to fund your RTW trip without needing a lot of money. There are so many different ways to make money while you travel the world.
I always thought if I wanted to work while traveling, I had to clean toilets at a hostel or be a bartender or teach English. Those are all great and possible ways to make money while traveling, but if you don’t want to do that, that’s okay! After traveling the world full-time since 2018, I realized there are actually *tons* of different ways to make money while traveling the world. If you’re interested in learning what kind of jobs you can do to make money while traveling the world and what job would be perfect for you, grab my free resource to learn more.
Save money on rent
Depending on where you live and the cost of living, rent can be really expensive and take a big bulk of your salary. If you want to save more money for your round-the-world trip and save money faster, cut back on your rent.
If you’re living alone, consider having roommates and finding a new place. Usually, sharing a place with roommates is a lot cheaper than having your own place. If you’re living somewhere expensive, see if you can temporarily move to somewhere cheaper. For example, if you live right in the middle of downtown and it’s expensive where you live, consider moving to a nearby city or street that is cheaper.
Another great way to save money on rent is to move in with your family/parents. For the most part, living with your family can be free and can save you *a lot* of money. Think about it. If you were to temporarily move in with your family for a year, depending how much your rent was, that can save you over $10,000! Let’s say your family won’t let you move in for free, can you pay them a discounted amount for rent? That way you’re paying significantly cheaper rent AND your family member is able to make money off of you living there. It’s a win-win situation!
Shift your mindset and prioritize travel
Yes, a lot of these options might suck and not be something you really want to do, but I encourage you to shift your mindset and prioritize what you truly want. If quitting your job to travel the world and go on this epic round-the-world trip is something you really want to do, then temporarily cutting back on your spending to save money for this trip is totally worth it!
Shift your mindset away from “ugh, I have to do ____” to “yay! I get to ____ so I can save money to travel the world!” Really prioritize what you want and keep that at the forefront of your mind. Saving money for your round-the-world trip can be a fun and exciting thing!
Remember why you’re saving money, remember why you want to travel the world, and remember that it will all be worth it. You are doing something temporarily for greater satisfaction and a greater reward in the near future.
You will most likely want to prolong your trip when you travel, so having mr