save 5000 for travel

I’m going to level with you here. I’ve read 1,001 blog posts exactly like this. In fact, Adventurous Kate’s, blog post “How I Saved $13,000 in 7 Months”  was one of the posts that inspired me to travel.

But you know one of the most annoying things about 90% of the posts I’ve read?

These people are already making a dream salary and are able to save thousands of dollars because they’re not living almost paycheck-to-paycheck.

So let’s get real.

I make exactly $38,500 a year at my job in social media marketing.

I live in a rather expensive city and my rent + bills + car payment + student loans equal exactly how much I bring home every single month. So how’s a gal who wants to travel ’round the world gonna save money when there’s no money to save in the first place?

It’s. All. About. The. Hustle.


Rent Your Apartment on Airbnb

On a good month, I make half my living expenses including rent and bills through Airbnb. On a better month, I make enough money to cover all my expenses and then some through Airbnb. This allows me to to pocket every dollar that would have been spent on rent, and put that money directly in my savings or travel fund.

This is my real life Airbnb dashboard earnings summary. In 19 reservations (usually weekend visitors) I’ve made almost $6,000!

airbnb make money

That’s $6,000 to spend toward flights, future Airbnb stays while traveling, excursions, and so many adventures. If you’re open minded to the idea, I 100% recommend dipping your toes in the Airbnb water. In fact, I’ve met some amazing people from all over the world including Denmark, Australia, Korea, Canada and more!

Drive for Uber

Saving money by skipping the bars on the weekend? GOOD IDEA. Making money while skipping the bars on the weekend? Even better.

Spend a couple hours on a Friday or Saturday night during peak times and pocket a couple hundred dollars by driving for Uber.

For an extra payday, take advantage of the referral sign up bonus and refer all your friends to drive for Uber. This Guy made over $90k in 6 months mostly by referring new drivers.

Buy Groceries

“What? How does spending money at the store help me save?”

If you order lunch everyday for a week, you’re likely to spend between $50-$75 every single week. If you took that same amount to your local grocery store, that’s enough to feed you 3 meals a day for almost 2 weeks!

Spend a little more at the supermarket so you’re not tempted to spend $10 on a delivery sandwich from Jimmy John’s during the work day.

I tested this for 1 month and didn’t order lunch once. When I compared my spending, I saved $200 by bringing meals from home! In 5 months, this trick has allowed me to save $1,000 alone. That’s a roundtrip ticket to Europe right there 😉

Freelance Writing

If you’re a writer, you can make hundred of dollars side-hustling for various freelance sites.

My recommendations for the best sites with the best pay are, Media Shower, and Emphatic.

Take Surveys

If you’re going to watch TV on the couch or lounge around on your computer, be productive during that time! Every Thursday from 8pm – 11pm (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How To Get Away With Murder) I would take mindless surveys. They don’t have a huge payout, but if you take enough surveys, you can rack up close to $100/month.

My favorites:

Opinion Outpost



Get a Travel Credit Card

If you’re smart about using credit cards and responsible managing money, I can’t recommend this enough. I’ve paid for so many flights using free airline miles from purchases I would have made anyway. Find a credit card with the best current sign up bonus, The Points Guy always gives his recommedations at the beginning of each month.

Once you find one that suits your needs (and be cautious of annual fees, though most are waved the first year) start paying your rent, groceries, phone bill… – basically any purchase you would already make will help you earn airline miles that equals MORE FREE TRAVEL! I started with a Barclaycard Arrival+ and here’s why I think you should too.

Also check out E-miles to accrue rewards miles!

I incorporated all of these things into my every day life to save $5,000 for travel in 5 months on a shoestring budget. And of course, use your very best judgment in your spending habits. To save a lot of $$$ in a short amount of time, you’re going to have to tighten your wallet in all aspects of your everyday life. Now is your chance to get started today!




Hi, I'm Chelse! I am a Digital Nomad obsessed with traveling the world and seeking adventure beyond the 9-5 office life. When I turned 25 I decided that I was going to stop making excuses and do what I've always dreamed. I went from having 0 stamps in my passport to 15+ countries in one year. I encourage anyone who wants to live a Digital Nomad lifestyle to buy the ticket first, and figure out the rest later!

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