Have you ever wondered how so many people can travel so much, for so long? These are some incredible money travel tools (plus alternatives) that you can use to save enough for your dream trip! It’s great to budget, but your budget is limited by the funds you first save up! Here’s how to stretch what’s already in your wallet:
Use these resources to start saving BEFORE you even plan your trip:
- Acorns is incredible software and a fantastic tool! Link your bank accounts and cards securely, and Acorns will round up each transaction and invest that amount. If you spend $5.62, it will take the $0.38 and invest it for you! Those add up quickly! Choose a conservative investment and it is similar to a savings account. Note that investments have the potential to go down and are not FDIC insured.
- Alternatives: Digit, Mylo (for Canadians)
Your Bank: Save Monthly
- Set up an automatic transfer every month to a bank account that you can’t touch! It could go from your checking account to another checking account, or a savings account without an ATM.
- I use a small, automatic transfer to my savings account with the same bank that my checking account it. That way, if I need the money, I can transfer it back instantly! Most inter-bank transfers take 1-5 business days.
- Alternatives: PayPal
- Get a hold of your spending! If you know where your money’s going, it’s less likely to go places you don’t like. Mint (completely free) helps you keep track of all your transactions and sends weekly reports about how you spent your money.
- Alternatives: Personal Capital
Save money WHILE PLANNING your trip:
- The worst thing about getting from place to place is picking the wrong mode of transportation! Whether you should have taken the boat, the bus, the plane, or the train should no longer be a concern! Rome2Rio allows you to choose any two cities and see every option of transportation and the times it takes to go between them using those options – especially public transportation. It’s completely free, too! While you usually can’t book directly through the site, it’s been the most amazing guide for me planning schedules that include bus and train travel, weeks in advance.
- Alternatives: Google Maps
Booking.com: Get Great Accommodations and Cancel If You Need!
- There are times that I don’t want to book accommodations in advance – though I usually do. Even if I don’t, I use Booking to see prices, pictures, reviews, maps, and availability of all my options! From what I’ve found, Booking is the best choice when it comes to pure research.
- I love Booking’s policy because you can book without paying, though often you have to leave a credit card! Most times, the accommodations will ask you to pay when you arrive in person. In rare cases, they will try to charge your card the day of your booking before you arrive. However, they have no-fee cancellation for a good portion of rooms (clearly marked) up to 24 hours of your planned arrival.
- Alternatives: Agoda (especially good for East Asia), Expedia, TripAdvisor
Swagbucks: Get Cash Back!
- Swagbucks is a comprehensive money-earning site that you can use to earn cash back! There are many ways to earn, but you can get a certain percentage of your spending at sites like Booking.com and Agoda, but also non-travel websites like Amazon or _____. You can swap the points you earn for cash through PayPal or gift cards. Even if you only use your account for cash back on shopping, install their browser extension to get notified every time you shop on a website that offers cash back.
- Works in US, UK, and Australia
Stretch your savings WHILE ENJOYING your trip:
Charles Schwab High-Yield Checking Account: Don’t Pay Bank OR ATM Fees
- If you’re paying fees to your bank, ditch it! There are fee-free banks in every country, so don’t settle for one that tries to bite into your savings.
- My Schwab account not only charges no fees, including no ATM fees, but refunds all ATM fees that other banks charge me – worldwide! I have never had a fee not refunded, even in Peru or Malaysia. It’s amazing!
- The catch is that you have to open an investment account too, but you don’t have to put any funds in it. Mine has sat completely empty the entire time I’ve been getting refunded ATM fees!
Train Websites: Public Transportation >>>
- Seat61: Sometimes, trains are the best way to get from city to city. Seat61 is a tremendous website with information about basically every train system in the world! If it doesn’t have details about the route you’re interested in, it certainly has a link to a site that does. If you’re interested in overland travel in a carriage, check it out!
- Hyperdia (for Japan): Hyperdia is an official website from Japan that translates fully into 3 languages – English included. Search any two stops in Japan’s vast, interconnected web of train stations. Hyperdia will tell you exactly how to go from any A to any B, along with all the times and platforms of the trains you should take. Traveling Japan without it is a mistake!
Disclaimer: A portion but not all of the links are affiliates. I may get some compensation if you choose to use my links! The commission helps keep Wherever I Want alive! I do use every main tool listed. I may or may not have used the alternatives I’ve listed.
What are some great money-saving tools that you use?
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