How we saved $40,000 to travel around Europe

Saving for a four month trip, especially a trip to Europe. Seemed like a daunting task, how much money would we need? We only have 10 months until we are planning on leaving, is that enough time? How can pay $5,000 off my credit card first?

I found the biggest motivator to go was to book our tickets. Once we had paid the money for our tickets we couldn’t back out.

Disclaimer: I understand that for some people, saving the amount of money we did in the time we did is not possible for everybody. My partner and I had just moved in together (literally a few weeks before we bought our tickets) and we both work full time as teachers. I am just sharing our experience and how we saved money for our trip

Use cash

I found it to so much easier to save money if I was spending cash. I would work out how much spending money I would have each fortnight and take that out of my bank. For me, I spend less money if I have to hand over cash than if I can just tap my card.

Save your change

We literally have a money box in our room that says “Travel Fund” that we put any loose change in. I made it a habit to never spend my coins and at the end of the day I would put them in my “Travel Fund” container. Once the money box was full (and I was super surprised how quickly this happened) I would put the money into my bank account

Set up your bank accounts

I made sure to have a few separate account and label them so I knew exactly where my money was going. I had an account labelled “Europe 2019”, “Money to Spend” and “Extras”. This way I knew which money I could spend and which money was put aside for our trip

Round up

I love that my bank has the “round up” feature, so any time I do use my card, it rounds up to the nearest dollar and transferred that straight in to my savings account. I never noticed this money going out of my account and it added up nicely in my Europe account

Don’t buy new things

I find this quite difficult at times but I had to remind myself that I could either buy a new outfit, drinks etc here or I could have an extra money for our trip to Europe – I was super annoyed when I had to pay $400 to get my car tyres replaced!!!

Make bookings

I booked our first weeks of our trip around the UK. We knew that we would need to hire a car and that we wanted to go on the “Harry Potter Train” and go to the Harry Potter set so we booked and paid for these before we left. Our car hire, some of our internal flights and a few nights of accommodation were paid before we left. This meant that we didn’t have to worry about holding on to that money because it had already gone to where we wanted it to go.

Use cashback websites

Why not get a cash back on something you are going to need to book anyway? Anytime I booked anything, I booked through a cash back app or website. The main app/website that I use is Rakuten and also Shop Back, for most of my bookings I received between 1 and 10% cashback. This may not seem like a lot but when you are booking accommodation every night every dollar adds up pretty quickly.

Change how you have date nights or socialise

We changed from going to the cinema and out for dinner to dates we could have at home. When we caught up with friends we would stay home and have dinner and drinks. In general, we tried to go out less and at time this was real challenge but we just kept reminding ourselves it was make some changes now to be able to have an epic experience in Europe.


The thing I found the hardest was checking my emails and reading “35% off”, “new-in”, “must haves,” so I had to unsubscribe from all shopping related mailing lists! It is so much easier to resit buying things if they are not in front of you!

Further Reading

Some times starting with a smaller goal can be a great start! Check out “How you can save $1,000 a month” to get you started.

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