Three Tips For Saving For Travel on a Minimum Wage

Yes, you CAN do it!

It’s not all about how much you can save each week, it’s a matter of how you go about delegating it each payday.

World travel has been a major goal of mine, but not too long ago I felt like I would be able to achieve it. Working an average thirty hours a week at $19.10 an hour, there wasn’t much room to put away for savings, and what I could put away seemed to be sapped up by some bill or expense sooner or later. It was proving impossible to save a large chunk of money toward my goal, and not only this, I was also developing feelings of unworthiness toward world travel. I was starting to think that because I didn’t have a job that paid very well, that I didn’t deserve to travel the world. But I simply couldn’t accept that. I had to make it work. I couldn’t live with myself otherwise.

Through talking with a few friends about their travel experiences, I began to realise that I could look at my savings plan in a whole different way. Around the same time I was thinking seriously about a trip to Ireland to research for my first crime novel. I had made a list of all the elements of the trip, from accommodation to transport to food, and while this helped me to work out how much the trip would cost, it also presented an opportunity for a savings checklist.

I started out by getting a quote for my flights, and ended up paying just short of $1,500 return to Dublin with Etihad Airways. I used a travel agent, and put my flights on lay-by for just $100. I paid a little off each fortnight, and was not restricted to a specific amount, just whatever I could afford. Sometimes it was $50, sometimes $100, sometimes only $20. I would advise to book flights as early as possible so you give yourself plenty of time to pay them off.
Alongside this, I also tried to put aside a little into my savings account for my trip expenses and spending money. It took me six months to pay off my flights, just in time for the cut off date (the condition of putting the flights on lay-by was that I had paid them off two months prior to my departure date).

Here is a breakdown of my list of expenses/savings targets:

  • Flights
  • Accommodation (broken down to each location for multi-stop trips)
  • Airport Transfers
  • Daily Costs (transport/food/activities)
  • Spending Money

I then broke those expenses down to days where I could, e.g. accommodation and daily expenses. For example, I planned to stay in Dublin for three days, so I wrote the list this way:

  • Dublin Accommodation: $215 ($43 per night x 3)

Each fortnight I took out my list and looked at what I could afford to put money toward. If I put money toward the above expense, sometimes I’d put aside only $43, or sometimes $86, or even the whole amount if I could afford it (rarely). Alongside the listed expense, I would keep a tally of how many times I’d contributed to that listed item, and take great delight in crossing the item out when it was completed!

Part of the frustration of trying to save earlier was that my money would disappear into an expense or bill sooner or later. In my savings plan, where I could, I paid off an expense for the trip along the way. For example, if I had put enough money aside for my three-day stay in Dublin, I would then book that accommodation straight away, so as to secure not only the accommodation but the money I needed for it.

So in summary, here are my three tips for saving for international travel on a minimum wage:

  • Lay-by flights where possible
  • Break down your costs into a list
  • Break the list down again into daily expenses where possible


Travel is NOT just for the ‘lucky few’. You CAN make it happen, no matter what stage of life you are at, and no matter what your circumstances! It’s just about how you go about your savings plan!

To read more about my recent book research trip to Ireland, click HERE

To read the first chapter of my Irish crime novel for FREE, click HERE

To learn more about my other books, click HERE 

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