How to save money to travel AND buy things

How to save money to travel

Everyone talks about the need to save money to travel. They tell you to stop spending money completely but that’s not very practical when you have to buy things FOR travel such as clothes and equipment.

So here are a few tips that will help you to buy those necessary things without the need to spend a small fortune on them:

Ditch the magazines and go digital
The first question you need to ask yourself is why do you buy them? Is it a tech magazine to keep up to date with the latest in the digital world? If so, there are websites like Mashable and TechCrunch to keep your eye on things. If it’s travel magazines, head on over to Lonely Planet and Wanderlust Mag for your dose of destinations. Or if it’s just gossip, the Daily Mail has a good section for the UK and tune into TMZ for America.

Buy your stuff in the sales
Most stores, now that we’re in recession, have offers on all your round but depending on when you travel, you can save yourself a chunk of cash in the Christmas and Summer seasonal sales. So buy your bkinis in July/August and your jumpers in December/January. That way you can still afford a great new wardrobe (if you want to stock up on clothes you don’t mind ruining) for travelling at a fraction of the price!

Use pound stores
These are great places to get the essentials such as batteries for any gadgets you have, toothpaste, shampoo and baby wipes etc. They’re usually smaller sizes than the supermarkets but that works out even better for fitting it all into your backpack! Likewise, they’re also great places for stocking up on colouring pencils and pads etc if you’re planning to volunteer when travelling and want to take something to give.

Shop around
There are a huge number of comparison websites out there these days and whilst it can be confusing and time-consuming, it could be mean the difference of a couple of hundred pound, if not more. You can always find the cheapest flights and travel insurance comparison websites are always worth checking out. When you ‘lose’ in time comparing prices you can nearly always make up in the amount of money you save!

Use discount stores
These are great place to find bargains when the sales aren’t happening. TKMaxx (TJMaxx in the States) sells everything from backpacks to ski wear for up to 60% off the retail price…a good place to go if you’re looking for that all important quality but don’t want to pay the price for it. I bought everything from clothes to my daypack and even camping equipment saving at least £100!

Buy magazines for the freebies
Sometimes in women’s magazines such as InStyle and Glamour they have miniature make-up freebies attached so for £2-4 you could save approx £10 and get a ‘great read’ at the same time! The cosmetics are usually travel-sized too; even better!

Use voucher codes
As said above, these can often be found in magazines BUT if the store itself publishes its own seasonal magazine, they may have their own voucher in the back which could potentially save you up to 20%. Likewise, some discounts are only available online so check out any offers they may have going on. Money Saving Expert is a great resource for this and if you sign up to the newsletter it will update you with the necessary codes on a weekly basis.

Flash sales
Just like shops have sales and offers, so do travel companies. If you can be flexible in your first destination and dates then this can really help you. If you’re looking for offers and flights sign up to the facebook pages and twitter accounts of airlines and travel agencies for competitions and quick deals.  Newsletters are also a great way to find out when sales are happening so sign up for the airlines newsletters to hear about their latest deals in advance.

Save money AND socialise
Many chain restaurants have offers to get butts on seats during the week so why not go out for dinner on a Thursday instead of a weekend? You might get buy one get one free on main meals or a main and desert for £10. Money Saving Expert, again, is a great place to keep track of these deals which can often change on a weekly basis. One night you could have French cuisine and the next, Italian. Again, many of these restaurants have newsletters so sign up for exclusive offers!

Make use of loyalty/store cards
Many places, whether it’s a clothes store or restaurant, offer student discounts of approximately 10-15% just by showing your university/college card so don’t forget to take it with you. You can also get ‘young person’ discount on rail and bus travel around the UK and there are even ‘young person’ travel agents that give you cheaper prices because of your age. If you work for a national company, check if you have a card that you will allow discounts in several stores.  Some stores offer loyalty cards where you get points on every pound you spend so buy your necessities throughout the year and then use them all up on what you need before you leave.

How do you save money before you go travelling when you still need to buy things?

Note: The links in this post are MY suggestions; no one elses.

Leave a Reply


  1. Jen

    Such good advice! I swear I haven’t bought a lipgloss in years thanks to the freebies in magazines! The pound store and places like Home and Bargain are great for toiletries too – I even get my fake st. tropez tan from there when I’m strapped for cash! Fab post lovely xx

  2. Jen – Aww thanks hun 🙂 Glad you liked the post. Magazine freebies are the best!

  3. You and your damn sales hahaha I’m the same way, I only buy stuff when it’s on sale or if it’s super cheap. I get way too bored with clothes for me to shell out big bucks for them.

  4. Tiffany @ theUnimaginedLife

    Excellent tips! I think we all prioritize spending differently, but these are basic ways to benefit everyone! (Even if you don’t live in the UK!) Well done! 🙂

  5. I’m all about buying clothes on sales or off season. Who says you can’t look cute on a budget?! 😉 Nice tips.

  6. Elle – I get bored too so cheap clothes = more clothes 😀 And you know you love my sale tactics! :p

  7. Tiffany – thank you 🙂 You’re right, we all think differently over spending…this is just an overall guide but glad you like it 🙂

  8. Audrey – I’m all for looking cute on a budget! Just because we’re backpackers, doesn’t mean we can’t look gorgeous 🙂

  9. While traveling I usually prefer to choose budget hotels for stay. Acting in such a way, I save money and can spend more on attractions and entertainments. The tips provided in this post are extremely useful for people, who travel on a budget.

  10. London4Travelers – Budget hotels are a great way of saving money on our travels, especially if it gives us more money for better things such as attractions etc; really good point!

  11. Whenever I go for shopping or planning for vacation then discount coupons always beneficial to me.. this is the perfect and easiest way to save our pocket money. thanks for sharing such a wonderful information. that’s really helpful to all.

  12. Susan – coupons are a great way of saving some extra cash on the things you really need! Glad you found the post useful 🙂

  13. That is so true! Sales, sales and more sales. That’s the key to saving up the money. I hate shopping but I spend way too much money on food 🙂

  14. Agness – I’m not a huge fan of shopping but when I have travel plans my mind suddenly starts telling me to buy pretty things 😀 And food is always a weakness for me on the road 😉

  15. Great tips. I am saving at the moment and it is incredibly annoying ha ha. I always feel a bit embarrassed using coupons but they are a great way to cut your spending 🙂

  16. Ally – I know what you mean about using coupons; you somehow feel like a ‘desperate person’ but hey, if it saves you some money then I’m all for taking the hit to my pride 🙂

  17. What wonderful tips. People do waste so much money when travelling. I think it’s best to pay out for a few basics that are good quality and last years.xxxx

  18. How about you give me all your money and I’ll save it for you. Whether you get it back, it’s another thing 😛

  19. Snowbird – well said; if you buy more expensive but quality things, it can really help you save money! It’s as they say – you get what you pay for!

  20. Ed – ummmmm, how about no?! 😉

  21. I am definitely with you on the online shopping, although, I recently picked up a new day pack for about 70% at a sale. Totally unexpected, but fantastic!

  22. Oceana – I LOVE unexpected bargains; that make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside! You should have seen the look on my fellow overlanders faces in Africa when I told them I’d spent a whopping 35% less than them on their trip because I booked early haha 😀

  23. Great advice, I personally need to stop booking flights so late! We save so much when I can get organised and book them a few months in advance.

  24. Becky – I can see how that would be a problem! I booked mine for Oz 10 months in advance and it cost me about £600 for a one way which I was pretty pleased with. Definitely get organised lady 😉

  25. Wow, some great tips to save money for travel, Toni! After reading the comprehensive list, I can’t think of any other 🙂 Thanks for the ideas!

  26. Salika – you’re very welcome 🙂 They’re all tried and tested methods which is why I was happy to pass them on 😀

  27. Many thanks for these tips. 🙂 Whenever I travel, I often choose apartelles where I’m allowed to cook my own food over hotels. This way, I’ll be able to save myself from shelling out money by eating at expensive restaurants. It’s also a bit helpful to earn passive income online through blogging.

  28. Love these tips! Pound stores are the best for essentials. In London, my friends and I used Taste Cards to get discounts on meals out. BYOB is also a great little money saver!

  29. Jemma – Cooking your own food is a GREAT way to save money so that’s a good idea as ingredients are far cheaper than eating out. Hostels with kitchens are a good idea to when you’re on the road. Thanks Jemma!

  30. Arianwen – Tastecards are amazing for London; so many bargains to grab whilst you’re socialising!

  31. What a fab selection of tips 😀 I’m currently trying to save as much money as possible and find myself really mulling over decisions now before I part with my money. It’s painful when I have to put that beautiful dress back on the rail, but I think of the adventures I’ll have soon and it makes it all worth it 😀 x

  32. Ha, you said “Pound Store” I never thought about what our Dollar Stores would be called outside the US. Great tips, I’m always browsing Amazon Lightning Deals IF I am going to need something, and well as seasonal sales and clearances. And even though I love the feel of a book, everything is on my iPad now and way cheaper.

    Thanks for the tips darling!

  33. Ryan – If you go to Japan it’s 100yen stores 😉 I think ‘flash sales’ and bargain end of season deals are a definite must if you need something expensive because even if you only save a few bucks, it soon adds up and could be the price of a meal in the country you’re travelling to! 🙂

  34. You are right! I have been totally slack lately on saving money… The biggest thing that helped me was putting aside the money I spend on coffee and making my own! haha Every dollar counts!

  35. Great post! Saving for travelling really doesn’t have to be miserable, I completely believe in still living your life up until your trip. Excellent advice, I’ve discovered a new found love for cooking since saving and find receipts online rather than eating out!

  36. Rebecca – cooking is a great way to save money and I’m pleased to hear that you’re enjoying it; I always feel so proud when I make a new dish and it works out 🙂

  37. What amazing guidelines. Individuals do spend so much cash when traveling. I think it’s best to pay out for a few fundamentals that are high top quality and last decades.. Thanks.

  38. Sally – Glad you found the tips useful 🙂