Tried & Tested Methods to Save for a Gap Year

Whether it be working in a chicken shop earning $1 an hour, or slaving your way through janitorial duties, some of us are willing to do whatever it takes to save for an extended trip overseas.

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From our offices to our Social fans, we reached out to our community of nomads and asked for their advice on how they save for travel. Here are some of the best stories and lessons:

1. Know that Saving Means Sacrifice

“If you want to travel, you need some funds. Not everyone can be a cash king or queen – but with a couple of tips, it's not that difficult to start building your savings.

First step is realising it takes sacrifice. The sooner you wrap your head around this, and realise it will be worth it, the easier it is.

The next step is opening a savings account that's not connected to your card, has a high interest rate, and requires a deposit each month.

Then, you need to work out a rough budget that you refresh every single month to include events, birthday presents, and admin costs.

Add in a good-sized chunk that you can afford to save each payday, and the rest is spending money.

Any pennies left over just before payday should go straight into your savings.

Finally, if you're going hard-core, every time you save money using a discount card, such as at the supermarket – deposit that coin into your savings account.” – Brooke Hobson, via Facebook 

2. Cut Back on Spending Before You Go

Think of it like this: for the cost of an organic smoothie, you could literally dine like a king for three nights straight in Southeast Asia. So, do you really need that $9.75 smoothie?

Cut back on extravagant things, like going out to eat and going to the movies. Look for local, free activities instead. Focus on your goal, and budget accordingly.” – Justin Boot, via Twitter

3. The Trick is to Budget Overseas

“Choose to camp or stay in hostels over hotels. Take a light, fruit-market breakfast and a hard meal for lunch – but once a week, enjoy a special dinner.” – Naila, Twitter

"Walk everywhere. Live by the reduced food section. Learn how to fix things. Volunteer abroad – more skills, culture, and better health! Enjoy what’s available to you for free – a meet up cycle-tour in Amsterdam, or just a trip on the bus to somewhere local.” – Jennifer Ratcliffe, via Twitter

"Shop at a grocery store rather than eating out for every single meal. You can of course allow yourself a few cheat days – the food is half the fun of traveling! Try to budget as if you’re going to eat out for every meal – that’ll leave wiggle room if you run out of options." – Fort Wayne Famous, via Twitter

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4. Keep Reminding Yourself Why You’re Saving

Sometimes, all it takes is a little reminder to stop you in your tracks.

“I have a photo of where I want to go in my wallet. That way, I see it each time I think of buying something." – Sandra Robinson, via Twitter

5. Routine to Keep You Busy

No matter how unhappy you might be in your job, just keep in mind what’s ahead. If that means all sleep and work, no play – so be it!

On Twitter, Tony Carne says the magic formula to saving for a trip is to, "Work. Sleep. Work. Sleep. Work. Sleep. Travel. Travel. Travel. Travel. Travel. Travel.”

6. Save What You Don’t Spend

"Every time I debate buying something or saving it for my next trip, if the buy isn't worth it, I save that amount instead!" – Shannon Farhoud, via Twitter

7. Plan Ahead

“Prior planning prevents blowing your travel budget! Have an idea of where, what, and how you'll get where you want to go before arriving. That’ll help avoid blowing your budget on last minute travel costs.” – Alexis Zahner, Mermaid Tales Adventure

How did you save for your gap year? Share your stories in the comments below!

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