Are you one of those people who sit and dream about visiting that beautiful tropical paradise? You know what I am talking about. That paradise with sandy beaches, sparkling blue waters, and palm trees galore. Well, I admit, I am definitely one of those people. Which is why I put together these simple steps to budget for future travel and live a more frugal life.

Pro Shot Case. Take your IPhone underwater!

Day dreaming of travel

I am not someone who really yearns for stuff and things. Even at a young age, I spent lots of time day dreaming about traveling to many places. Most of these places are ones I had only seen on television. Guess what? I did visit these places and here’s how I did it.

Simple Steps To Budget For Travel and Live A More Frugal Life!
Simple Steps To Budget For Future Travel and Live A More Frugal Life! Maui, Hawaii

My humble beginnings to learn how to save money for travel

Before I go into more details about these budget and planning ideas, here is a little background. Although I grew up in a very small town in North Dakota with little opportunities, I am someone who had big dreams. Like I mention here, there are little opportunities in these rural small communities for work and making money. However, I began working summer jobs and planning at an early age so that I could one day visit the places I dreamed about. These places include California, Florida, and Hawaii primarily.

La Jolla Cove. California.
Simple Steps To Budget For Future Travel and Live A More Frugal Life! La Jolla, California

Small town girl with big dreams

By the age of 17, my travel dreams came true! I did travel to the gorgeous places I mention above. Of course, a few years later I joined the military. While serving, I was able to see the world and did some traveling to incredible places I never even knew existed.

Diego Garcia, B.I.O.T. Footprint of Freedom.
Simple Steps To Budget For Future Travel and Live A More Frugal Life. Diego Garcia Military Travel

Meanwhile, the years following my service obligation, I was asked the question: “It must be expensive to do all that traveling, how do you afford it?” My reply is the same every time; “No, not really. It just takes some planning and a little bit of budgeting.” So, take out your pen and paper, and take notes if you would like. Let’s begin.

Planning to budget for travel

In order to successfully travel and be able to have the things in life that you desire, you must form a plan. One of the first things to do in planning is determine where you desire to go.
Simple Steps To Budget For Future Travel and Live A More Frugal Life!

The most important question to ask yourself is; can I afford to take this trip? The next critical question to ask is; how much is my current overhead? (How much do I spend monthly/annually). One of the goals for me in this case is I always try to keep my costs low. Therefore, you must also consider the other elements of travel such as transportation, lodging, activities, and other various items.

Budgeting for other things in life

  • Travel
  • Where
  • Cost
  • Transportation
  • Lodging
  • Activities
Simple Steps To Budget For Future Travel and Live A More Frugal Life!

Travel: As an example, travel is the thing I desire to do, but you can apply any goal or topic to this. Of course you can apply other items such as the following; depending upon your situation. See examples scenarios below.

  • Need for a new vehicle
  • Upgrade to a larger home
  • Wanting your kids to attend a good school

Where: Decide the place where you want to travel to. I am always looking for a stunning coastline with ocean views, mountains, adventure and hiking trails. So, I enjoy places like tropical islands, national parks, and challenging hiking adventures. These are the things I am passionate for and work to achieve them.

Ventura, California. Channel Islands 
Budget your trip
cheap vacation ideas
Channel Islands National Park, Ventura, California

Cost: The cost of airline travel is still reasonably affordable if you are willing to be flexible. For example, by booking ahead of time, saving money on airport costs such as airport parking by booking with companies like, and also being flexible with travel times/dates. Depending on the situation, you might also consider a cruise ship, driving or taking a train for more sustainable travel options. Here are a few tips to consider for airline or other transportation when traveling to your destination.
Photo sourced from Pixabay.

Tips to budget for travel and get better deals

  • Consider taking a route with 2 or more stops
  • Traveling on Wednesdays or Saturdays may be lower price options
  • Low cost airlines including Allegiant Air or Ryan Air are great, but the airport may be located out of your region.
  • You can also get free points or miles enough for a round trip ticket when you sign up for credit card offers. Visit the airline’s website for offers. Currently, American Airlines has an offer.
  • Car rentals might be similar to airline reservations when reserving early you might find lower rates.
  • Sometimes, you can get better deals when booking in a bundle, but I’ve always reserved individually.
  • Book budget airport parking in advance with companies like Flyparks to save on unnecessary costs. (For example saving costs with Airport Parking Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane)

Cheap Vacation Ideas and Budget Travel

Transportation is usually essential when visiting a new place. You most likely do not plan to travel somewhere and just sit in the hotel room. Car rentals can be expensive as well, but you can sometimes get a lower cost if you reserve it early or use rewards and/or points. Also depending upon your destination, you might consider using the train or bus system.
Cabin in Switzerland

Lodging is one of the biggest expenses you can incur while traveling. Especially in places like Hawaii. As a youth, I chose places where I knew people who lived there.  My first trip to California entailed visiting relatives. Additionally, one of our trips to Maui, Hawaii, we stayed in someone’s condo; which was lower cost than a hotel at that time. Consider signing up for a hotel reward program as well.

More suggestions below:

  • Stay with relatives or friends
  • Hostel
  • Hotel
  • Cabin

Activities: When you arrive at your destination, you are ready to enjoy it! Depending upon where you go, you will need to choose what you enjoy doing and activities you are interested in experiencing.

General budgeting tips

I learned many lessons as a kid, and one of the most important one is how to save money. As I continued to earn money during the summers as a teenager, I allowed myself to purchase a few things. They are nothing extravagant but merely a simple radio, clothing, and some travel. The rest I put away in my savings.

Budgeting for the things or experiences you want in life is two-fold. First thing is to know how much you spend on daily needs and wants. The second is how to save money in your daily life.

A Simple Guideline.


Create a worksheet/spreadsheet or write down all your expenses and bills. You would be surprised at how many folks out there do not have any idea of what they spend every month. You must include everything that you purchase. I will name a few to give you an idea.

Item and Expense

  • Home  
  • Rent or mortgage amount
  • Healthcare
  • Utilities
  • Water
  • Insurance
  • Taxes
  • Cable or Entertainment
  • Vehicle
  • Loan payment
  • Insurance
  • Gas
  • Maintenance
  • Food
  • Groceries
  • Dining Out
Simple Steps To Budget For Travel and Live A More Frugal Life! 
Budget your trip
Like it, Pin it.

Saving Money Strategies


  •  Use cash or debit card. (So you actually know what you spent).
  •  Follow brands or shop generic brands
  •  Use coupons
  •  Buy foods in season for the best deals
  •  Eat lunch at home, or pack a lunch every day.*You will be surprised at how much money this can save.


  • If possible, pay off your car loan as soon as you can.
  • Do most of the maintenance yourself; for example, change oil yourself.
  • Order parts on discount junkyard or auto part websites.
  • Do your research online for best prices; filters and oil.  


  • Do your own yard maintenance. Cut your own lawn, trim your shrubs.
  • Pavers: Power wash, sand and seal yourself.
  • Clean your own home.
  • Dishwasher; run the dishwasher just once a week. Otherwise, wash them by hand.
  • Hang clothes on a rack or outside line, avoid using the dryer.
  • Clothing: Shop at second hand stores or local boutiques.


  • Home: Hot climates; keep your blinds closed and windows secure.
  • Cold: Use extra blankets and wear sweaters, etc. Use the fireplace if you have one.


Research online; ask for any type of discount that might be offered. Good driver discount, military discount.


  • Sports: Golf – Use Tee time reservations and apply coupons when offered. Play during off days/times.
  • Movies-go to the matinee.
  • Limit your online/TV subscriptions- Determine how much you really use these. Services perhaps choose one. Drop your cable TV service or downgrade to just basic option.


Depending on your situation, you may be someone interested in building your nest egg or simply just wanting to grow your money. You might consider investments. This could include both stock equities or real estate hard assets. Make sure to do your homework if you are in this category.


I hope you will find these tips helpful and practical to apply to your life scenario. This guideline is only suggestions and ideas. Please add all that would apply to you in your life circumstances. I have created a sample worksheet/spreadsheet that I would be happy to provide to you. Contact us here and provide your email and we will send the worksheet directly to your inbox! Totally free! We hope to inspire you to go after your future travel dreams as well as many other experiences you want out of life! So, stop sitting there day dreaming about that beautiful tropical paradise; take action and go for it and start planning today!

Budget For Travel!
How To Budget For Travel.

Thank you for reading. Please share more ideas on how you can budget and save for traveling in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!


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  1. Ryan |

    Thank you for the great money saving tips. Always looking for ways to save more and do more.

    1. Thanks so much for reading, Ryan! I know,.. we always like to stretch our dollars!

  2. Shannon, fantastic ways to afford traveling! So agree with bringing your own lunch- really does add up! Would add instead of costly Happy Hour/Dinner out, invite friends over & ask each person to bring a course: drinks/appetizers/side dishes/main course & switch it up each month so that everyone contributes – both fun & frugal! Could do themes (travel of course) like Night in Italy, French Foods, Mexican Yumminess etc!!

    1. Wow! Cindi, what a fabulous idea! How much fun does that sound! I love it! Thanks so much for adding your suggestions!

  3. This is such a practical post and a necessary one! Great tips 🙂

    1. Thank you Lannie! Definitely practical and these are the things that we mostly apply to our own lives. Nothing fancy or difficult, just simple common sense ideas to help stretch our own dollars. So we can travel more! ha lol! Thanks for reading Lannie!

  4. I’m all about the experience also (I grew up in a small town in Iowa). So grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had to discover new worlds. Great tips to turn those travel dreams into reality!

    1. Yes! The experience creates the memory! I may not have had much growing up, but I had plenty of dreams that’s for sure! So happy you enjoyed the article, thank you so much for reading!

  5. Great tips Shannon and ones that we pretty much use to be able to travel too.

    1. So glad you enjoyed these, Wendy! I know these ideas have helped me to be able to travel and do fun things that previously might not have been able to.

  6. […] Simple Steps To Budget For Travel and Live A More Frugal Life! […]

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