Chefchaoaen, Morocco | Travel

When money is an obvious necessity, it may be difficult to imagine being able to somehow gather enough spare cash to take the step to go away for a while.

“Yes, I want to travel, but how?”  I’ve received this question so many times from people on my instagram and facebook.

The truth is, I simply don’t have enough money to go to all of the places that I want to go, and I still have to work my a-s off to pay my rent, my bills and for the everyday expenses of living and working in New York City.  (READ: So You Want To Quit Your Job To Travel The World?)

But I promise you that traveling is every bit possible. I took my very first international trip when I was 25, and I paid for it all by myself. Here’s how.



1. Plan ahead.

Flying over the Alps

I started preparing for at least 6 months before I took my first trip to Iceland. It took months of daydreaming at work, drooling through photographs, researching travel blogs, reading articles about specific destinations, browsing flight prices on Kayak and Google Flights – before I even thought about booking a flight.

Budget out your trip beforehand. Find out where you want to go, and how much money you need to get there. This is the very first step. 

Once you know where you want to go, research hotel/hostel prices, food prices, local transportation prices, and of course – flight prices. Google absolutely everything. The more you know, the smarter you’ll be. (READ: 10 of the Cheapest Countries to Travel To)

I know it’s frustrating to want to go somewhere so badly and not be able to go right away, but if you stay patient and start preparing for your trip, you’ll be smarter about your decisions and most likely get better deals – making your trip less of a silly dream, and more of an attainable goal. Just know that it will take time, but at least you’ll have something absolutely amazing to look forward to and work towards.


2. Re-prioritize your spending.

Blue Lagoon, Iceland | Travel

Before I started traveling, I spent too much money – on dinners, on clothes, on furniture, on a luxury apartment – the list goes on. Because I didn’t prioritize travel, I never felt like I had enough money for it.

If I had 300 extra dollars one month, I’d buy a pair of shoes at a department store. I never thought to book a flight somewhere or save it for an upcoming trip. When I started planning for my trip after making the decision to prioritize travel, I started to cut out all of the unnecessary spending that wouldn’t allow me to make my dream trip a reality.

That meant no more eating out during the week, and buying groceries to cook dinner instead. Instead of going out to get drinks and paying $14 a cocktail at a bar, I bought a $10 bottle of wine and enjoyed a quiet night inside with a friend. It was still just as much fun, I promise.

I stopped buying clothes that weren’t comfortable. I actually stopped buying clothes period. I realized I spent way too much money on taxi cabs, and started walking more and taking the train instead. No more $5 lattes at Starbucks every morning – I decided to make coffee at home and take it with me to work.

Take a deep look at how and where you spend your money on a weekly and/or monthly basis.  Do you go out to eat often? If so, how often? Is there a way to decrease that number? (The answer is yes.)  Do you spend a lot of money on clothing? Electronics?  Do you really need that cable plan? Can you remember the last time you left on the lights before leaving the house, and can you remember to prevent that from happening? Shave off your expenses, little by little, and track your spending. Hold yourself responsible for your unnecessary expenses, and save little by little. Over time, you’ll turn that $5 here and there, into hundreds of dollars.

There are always going to be ways to save money – you have to re-prioritize what you spend your money on, and every time you stop spending on the things that you don’t really need, you’ll be able to save up for your trip.


3. Sell the stuff you don’t need.

Moroccan Metals | Travel

I was a hoarder. Actually, that’s an understatement. If you would have seen my closet, you would have freaked. It was the size of a bedroom – tiny, but it could have fit a twin-size mattress. It was filled with so many ridiculously unnecessary things – shoes I couldn’t walk in, chairs I didn’t sit in, makeup I didn’t use, and clothes that I had bought only to wear “when I lost those last 10 pounds.”  Ha. Yeah right.

I did, however, realize that there were items that could hold value for other people. 

I had furniture, jewelry, and lots and lots of clothes. I started using online resources to sell back some of my things. Sell your gently worn clothing and accessories on Threadflip or Poshmark.  Take the time to try to sell your extra electronics or furniture on Craigslist and eBay. You can use Diamond Lighthouse to sell diamonds that you don’t wear or want anymore.

Over the span of 4 to 5 months, I made over $3,000 selling my unwanted clothes, furniture and jewelry. All of that went to my travel fund, and helped make my dream trip possible.


4. Find a different and/or additional source of income.

How To Save and Make Extra Money For Travel

Have a career? Do you like it? If the answer is no, update your resume and try to find a new job. And when you are looking for a new job, place higher value on your experience and ask for a higher salary.  If you want to stay at your company, and have been there for at least a year, it’s time to request a review and ask for a raise.

Yes, I know it sounds easier than it really is – and you might be sitting at the computer saying, “Ha, already tried” or “There’s no way I’m getting a raise.”   Well if that’s the case, maybe it’s time for you to try to find a different job at a similar company, or work towards a career that will pay you a higher salary.  And remember: the answer is always no if you never ask. It never hurts to ask. 

If you have a skill or trade (mine was photography or graphic and web design), build up a portfolio and try getting freelance work. I helped redesign blogs, and offered to take headshots for a few hundred dollars here and there. This was all additional income that went straight into my travel fund.

Use your network and ask people around you – friends, family, family friends, your coffeeshop barista or your professor.

Browse through the ‘gig’ offerings on Craigslist – you’d be surprised at how many different jobs there are, and even if it’s for $20-30 an hour, it’s still additional money that you wouldn’t have had before.  Fiverr is a place where you can buy or sell creative gigs, starting at just $5.  You can draw someone’s logo, or sing someone a song for $5. If you are a great writer, you can offer to write a press release, or maybe you can do a voiceover for their new commercial – it might only be $5 at first, but if you grow your network and get better reviews, you’ll be able to charge an additional amount to make more money.  TaskRabbit is a site where you can offer your services to help around the home.

If you have the time and the energy (and don’t think you have a specific skill or trade), I would recommend picking up a part-time job to help you make a little more money for your trip. Because if you do, it will most definitely speed up the process.  Can you waitress on the weekend, or bartend at nights?  Maybe you can try tutoring, or ask your neighbors if they need help with their lawn.  There is always going to be someone who needs a babysitter.

When I came to New York City, I worked a full time 40-50 hrs/week job during the day as a sales assistant, and served cocktail waitresses at a rooftop bar at night. I would wake up at 7 AM, go to work by 8 AM, get off of work at 5:30 PM, go into my other job at 6 PM, and get off at 3 AM. Then I’d go home to sleep for 4 or 5 hours, and do it all over again the next day.  I did that five days a week for three whole months. 

I took on as much work as I could to make additional income. It was hard, exhausting and it took a long time to save enough money, but it was every bit worth it. I just kept my eye on the prize – that trip to Europe – and I made sure that every dollar counted.



Do you have any recommendations/tips on how to save money or make extra money to travel? Please share your story in the comments section below for not only myself, but everyone else in our community reading this article! Thank you so much for reading.


With love,



10 Secrets To Traveling Smarter, Cheaper, & Longer

  • This is so true!! I always say if you want to do something badly enough you will find a way! Sacrifices may have to be made but they will all be worth it in the end. Great post!

  • shelby

    awesome tips! I love that put where you sold your clothes I have been looking for these kind of websites for so long! I have 4 garbage bags full of awesome clothes that don’t fit anymore
    Thanks :]

  • These are really great tips, especially planning ahead and re-prioritizing your spending / money. Have a great day 🙂

  • I have really got to get better about saving. Literally every extra cent I make goes toward traveling. Thinking now that I’m creeping toward my mid-30’s it’s time to think about the future. Ikes! 🙂

  • What an inspirational post. Your hard work and commitment certainly paid off…from the looks of your blog you’re living the dream! Of course ‘glamour’ may just come with the name and might not be a reality 24/7 as is the case with anyone’s life, but you have definitely achieved a lot thanks to your cautious spending and determination.

    With love ♥︎ » Paris by Friday

  • Rachel Sturz

    We made a monthly budget, analyzed all of our necessary expenses, decreased the ones we could, and started automatically transferring money to our savings. We have a “regular savings” and a “trip savings,” so every month we split our savings between the two. We set up automatic transfers so we never see it or miss it. This was it is out of the account and you’re not tempted to spend it.

    Also, if you work overtime, put that into your trip account. Maybe pick up a few extra shifts with the sole intention of saving the money for a least you know you’ll get extra time off in the future, so it makes it easier to stomach working more hours some weeks.

    Look to hostels as a viable option instead of a hotel – most hostels have double rooms so you can still get your own space at a lower cost. Definitely read the reviews though! Also, Airbnb, home stay, and home away are all great options for cheaper accommodation.

    Bring a travel companion! Can’t afford to go on your own? Splitting accommodation will cut your major trip expenses in half.

    Buy food at local markets/make some of your meals using locally sourced ingredients to still get a taste of the culture, but save a bit of money on your trip as well!

    Hope these may help inspire others to make traveling a priority and get out and explore the world!


  • The re-prioritizing your spending tip is so real. It’s so easy to take the extra few hundred dollars a month on happy hours or food or a new pair of shoes. Dialing back a little bit on your monthly “leisure expenses” can make a HUGE difference!

  • Mima Isono

    You are absolutely right on prioritizing. Many (including the old me) always say “no money for travel” but there is always large sum of money spent on shoes, bags, fine dining and many other things we don’t even need.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  • Bianca Christelle

    Great tips. I really want to go to France. It is so expensive, but I will start planning!


  • I don’t have any other tips besides the one you gave. I always think ‘If you don’t need it, don’t buy it’.

  • Diana

    Thanks for such an inspiring post 🙂 One more tip from me – save at airport transfers while travelling with international taxi companies ( Lyft, ) – English speaking drivers will help you to reach a certain place as soon as possible.

  • Linda

    Hi Jinna and everyone, I’m gonna guess this advice (and blog) are followed mostly by women, (not that men couldn’t gleam anything useful). I wish I had realized all this when I was younger (that would be at least 40 hrs ago!!) I want to add this bit of advice: it is so much easier and do-able when you are single, or at least without children to raise. Embrace Jinna’s saving strategies now while you can. The world truly is your life changing adventure land. Empower yourself, girls! Thanks for your posts, Jinna. You’re young enough to be my granddaughter……and I still find your blog inspiring.