Get closer to your next adventure trip by regularly building your travel fund. By saving a little at a time, and selling good things, you may have the money to go sooner than you think.

Using the following tips, I took 1-2 major trips every year for the last three years. I hope these tips will bring you closer to your next trip.

1. Have a Separate Account for Your Travel Fund

Have an account just for your travel goal – this lets you track the size of your fund without mixing it your other savings goals. You’ll be encouraged to save more as you watch your travel fund grow.

I use a savings account at ING Direct for my travel and other savings goals. It lets me create and “nickname” multiple accounts to distinguish my savings goals. Most banks will let you do have multiple savings accounts.

Separate Account for Your Travel Fund

2. Automatically Save a Little With Each Paycheque

You can effortless grow your travel fund by automatically saving a small amount from each paycheque. I find saving 5% of each paycheck works for me. It’s small not to affect my day-to-day living standards, but significant enough to add to one trip over the year.

For example,

  • If your bi-weekly after-tax pay is $2,000, 5% is $100 per paycheque ($2,600 over the year).
  • If your biweekly after-tax pay is $1,000, 5% is $50 per paycheque ($1,300 over the year).

Don’t be discouraged if you can only save a small amount. Even if you only save $20 every two weeks, this will still bring you closer to your travel adventure than not saving at all.

3. Collect Loose Change

Put a piggy bank or a giant mug at your house entrance and empty your pocket change every time you enter. If you wait a few months to count the loose change, you may be surprised by how much you’ve collected.

4. Sell Things You Don’t Need

Do you have things you no longer need or value? These are any items you wouldn’t replace if you suddenly lost them. You can easily use these old items to fund for your goals by selling them online on craigslist.org or eBay.

Here are ideas for things to sell. If you haven’t used something in over a year, you most likely use it again.

  • Entertainment items like books, games, movies, CDs or DVDs
  • Electronics like old TVs, VCRs, or game systems
  • Clothing that doesn’t fit you or your lifestyle
  • Household appliances sitting in your basement
  • Craft or seasonal supplies that you don’t use or are outdated

The first time I decluttered my room, I sold $425 worth of CDs, books, craft supplies, and never-used clothing/skin care. That was enough for half my plane ticket to South America.

5. Cut Your Daily Coffee in Half

If you spend less on what you don’t value, you have to use towards new experiences and goals you value. A typical ‘leakage’ is the money spent on daily coffee and snacks. In many cases, these purchases are out of boredom or excuses for breaks from work.

Not only does your daily $4 coffee add to $1,400 a year, but you could also use this money to sip beverages at small European cafes instead of your corporate cubicle. $1,400 is also enough for a flight halfway around the world.

If you cut your $4 daily coffee in half by drinking cheaper or less coffee, you’d still save over $700 in a year. That’s enough for at least one week in Peru, India, or Thailand, just to name a few places.

If you commit to cut your coffee habit by $10 a week, add this amount to your automatic savings plan.

Vacation Funds

6. Give Your Fund Time To Grow

When you start building your travel fund, let your fund grow for a few months before peeking at the balance. You’ll be more delighted with your fund’s progress and feel encouraged by how your travel fund has grown.

Slow and Steady

If you use these tips, you may surprise yourself by how much you grow your travel fund over a few months or a year – you may even go on your next trip sooner than you expected.

To put things in perspective, if you:

  • Save $2/day, by buying fewer snacks; you’ll have $725 after a year
  • Save $4/day, by drinking or smoking less; you’ll have $1400 after a year
  • Save $7/day, by bringing your lunch; you’d have $2600 after a year

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