What’s the first move to push yourself to explore the world? It’s creating a travel fund.
We will get into what this is and how to set up an automated travel fund.
But real quick, I want to set the scene of why you need to save money before you go for an extensive trip on your own dime.
Rolf Potts, author of one of the best travel books Vagabonding, has a knack for travel (what he calls vagabonding) and inspiring others to visit new places.
Read this quote from Mr. Potts:
Thus, the question of how and when to start vagabonding is not really a question at all. Vagabonding starts now. Even if the practical reality of travel is still months or years away, vagabonding begins the moment you stop making excuses, start saving money, and begin to look at maps with the narcotic tingle of possibility. From here, the reality of vagabonding comes into sharper focus as you adjust your worldview and begin to embrace the exhilarating uncertainty that true travel promises.
There are a lot of gems in that excerpt, but I’m going to focus on this: “vagabonding begins the moment you stop making excuses, start saving money.” Because he’s absolutely right!
Now I believe that you can travel for cheap and get scrappy. I’m all for that. But unless your daddy is bankrolling your trip, you still need to have some money saved—whether that’s a few hundred dollars for a short road trip or a few thousand for a three month stay abroad.
This is just basic supply and demand: If you want to travel, then you need to pay for the transportation and cost of living to do it.
And that’s where the travel fund comes in to save the day.
What’s A Travel Fund?
What’s a travel fund? Good question. It’s just a separate savings account that is dedicated solely to travel.
It stores every single penny that you’re eventually going to use for transportation and living expenses. And by keeping this travel money in a separate account, you protect it from being spent on regular day-to-day expenses.
That means you’re not mixing your checking account balance with your travel fund. You’re not mixing your regular savings with your travel savings.
No, the travel fund is its own savings account that’s only purpose is to save money for travel.
Now as much as this travel fund is used for function (which we’ll get into in the next section), it’s also a powerful symbol of your adventure. The more money in there, the closer you are to takeoff.
This symbolism will inspire you to save more money because you’re in control now of how soon you get to leave. For example, that expensive dinner won’t be as appealing anymore, because you’ll want to eat at home to save money and leave for your trip sooner.
Maybe most important, a travel fund gives you the freedom to have a great time overseas without going in debt or regretting your spending.
It’s much more enjoyable to spend an extra two weeks in Portugal to do more sightseeing than end your stay early because you don’t have the money.
I hope by now you see how powerful it is to set up a travel fund.
All that’s left to do is check out the best way to set up your own travel fund.
How To Save And Set Up A Travel Fund
Like I wrote in my post titled Best Savings Account for 2017, if you want to get serious about saving your money, then you need to set up an automated system.
Nothing can compete with its efficiency. Set it up once, and then it’s a 100% hands off system that guarantees you’re making progress to save money.
Plus, it requires no willpower—where manually saving money is decision-heavy and often ineffective.
And here’s how this automated system specifically works for you and your travel fund. Once it’s set up, it goes like this:
- Your checking account receives income.
- The next day, your checking account automatically transfers money to a separate (different bank) savings account—aka your travel fund.
- Transfers repeat every month.
- You end up with a big, fat travel fund to see the world.
To get this automated travel fund set up, I personally use and recommend you set up a savings account through Capital One 360.
What I love about Capital One 360 is they have the highest quality customer service I’ve ever experienced with a bank. Plus, there are no fees or minimum balance required, their 0.75% interest rate is higher than most bank interest rates, and you can name your account.
The screenshot below shows my Capital One 360 travel fund and other funds.
Once you have an account and name it Travel, the next step is to go check the calendar date you normally receive your paycheck. Then schedule an automatic transfer for the day after you get paid (or two days after to be safe). And that’s it! You’re all set up.
I think too many people overthink travel and take some enjoyment out of it in the process leading up to and during it.
Let’s make your life easier. This is all you need to do.
Do some research to figure out where you want to go and for how long (could take as little as 30 minutes). Roughly estimate how much you have to save to get there and live there (could take 30 more minutes). Save money (could take a few months or more). Go travel!
As a final send off, I’m going to highlight three more quotes that will get you to fall in love with travel:
- “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch
- “Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all of one’s lifetime.” – Mark Twain
- “Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.” – Ray Bradbury