Travel BudgetOriginal photo via Flickr

As previously mentioned, for the next two weeks, we will be taking a quick break from our regularly scheduled programming and our A World Of Wanderlusting posts to share a special series with you: The Twenty-Something’s Guide to Traveling

Welcome to Part III of our Twenty-Something’s Guide to Traveling series. Last week, we discussed how to decide on your destination. Previously, we talked about making the commitment to travel (you can catch up here in case you missed it!).

Maybe it’s the case that you’ve had a a burning fire in your heart to pack a suitcase and set off to the destination that has been playing in your mind for years. Maybe you thought you could never afford it and never tried to save for it. Let us convince you otherwise.

I guess it is easier said than done to convince a generation just starting out in life that they should leave town at the drop of a hat and not think about how it is going to affect their savings (or lack thereof). Despite the words, “rent, loans, and car insurance,” popping in your head right now, we will advise you on how to re-direct certain expenses in order for you to take the trip of a lifetime. 

Changing Your Mindset

So you say there is no way you can afford to travel, but you have new flat screen, a running tab at the local bar, and the inventory to run your own Coach purse outlet in your closet. Maybe some re-evaluating is all you need. Sure, we all want nice things, but let’s step back to back to Part I for a moment; when you are 90-years-old, do you think you will be grateful for the experiences you gained in your twenties, or will you just be glad you had a lot of really expensive shoes?

So before coming to the conclusion that you don’t have the money to travel, decide what you value as important.

Determining Your Travel Budget

Your expenses may vary based on where you are planning to go, but the main categories you need to consider follow:

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1. Transportation: Airfare, rental car (including insurance and fees), gas/fuel, train or bus tickets.

2. Accommodation: Hotels, motels, hostels, friends or family, Airbnb, couch surfing.

3. Food: Restaurants, fast food, delis, grocery stores, markets, street vendors.

4. Activities: Anything you want to do at your destination. Pro-tip: Balance your paid activities with free ones to still have a well-rounded trip but to spend far less cash than you would if you paid for everything.

5. Souvenirs: You might be a souvenir person, you might not, but it’s always a good idea to at least include a small amount for this in your budget.

6: Extra expenses: Anything you might need in an emergency. Forgot a jacket? Need to do laundry? Give yourself a small buffer for these types of things.

Setting a Financial Timeline

This is the easiest way to track your financial progress in preparing a trip. Use a calendar, spreadsheet, money saving phone app – whatever you need, as long as you put it down and keep track. Check your headway on a weekly or monthly basis.

Check with your bank to set up a new travel savings account where “x” amount of your paycheck goes straight into it. Keep in mind of the costs you will have back at home while you are away. You will probably still have to pay all of your bills as usual.

Remember: The Little Things Add Up

Think of some things you buy on a regular basis that could be cut in order for you to afford to travel, like your morning Starbucks or going out to eat a couple times a week. Limit those expenses or better yet, terminate them. You will quickly see how much money this saves you. Spending $4.00 on a daily coffee adds up to close to $1,500 a year. That a round trip flight to London y’all!

Do the extra shift, a side job, overtime. If you think your current income is not going to get the job done, see what other possibilities are out there to earn some extra cash.

You can pad your budget in your free time by doing things like selling some old clothes or picking up a weekend job. You could also take it back to those high school years do some babysitting, petsitting, or tutoring. Just use some free time you have to support your upcoming travels. Invest all of this extra income to your travel fund. 


When preparing your flight arrangements, hotel stays, and activities, take advantage of discounts and freebies. It’s true that there are a lot of scams out there, but there are several legitimate vacation packages that will save you time and money. Groupon has some great packages available! 

You may want to think about traveling in the off season where rates tend to be cheaper. Also, those last minute flight arrangements, though risky, can save you some serious dough. 

Shop Student Universe for Hotels, Airfare + More

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Travel Internship, Semester Abroad, and Working Holiday Visas

While boosting your resume why not travel the world? There a so many programs out there for students and post-grads to further their education while working and learning in a foreign country. You can get hands on experience in a particular field related to your degree or explore a new one. Check with your school to see what semester abroad programs they offer whether volunteer based or if they can credit towards your classes. While traveling, certain countries offer holiday visas, that give you the option to make money while you’re there. 

GoAbroad: Your International Experiential Travel Resource

Traveling in your twenties is a very easy, attainable goal, and we can only hope that with our help, you are able to take such an opportunity. If you have anything you’d like to add or share, please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

If you are interested in more details about how to plan and pack for your trip, you will want to stick around for Part 4 of our series.