How to save for your bucket list adventures – Travel Edition

“Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.”
 Paul Theroux

Here’s the truth, travelling is going to cost you money, but the good thing is, it’s not as scary – or expensive – as you think if you’re smart about your savings and your spending before, during and after the trip. It’s all about priorities and if you’re really ready to commit to travel. In this section, discover how world travelers fund their adventures before the adventure.

Depending on the length of time and where you go determines how much you should have put away for your travels. We compiled a handy chart on the next page with the 30 most popular bucket list worthy destinations and their average cost per night. Of course, this is just an estimate, but it is a great place to start your budget. I recommend using the chart as a starting point to your expenses for the trip.

 Check out the Top 5 Travel Destinations to Add to Your Bucketlist

The list below is selected from Travel Eye. They conducted a survey with participants from all over the world and extracted the top travel destinations.

In coming up with the cost per day, we took into consideration, food, transportation, lodging, activities and, of course, a little extra for spending on adventure tourism activities. All costs are in U.S. dollars to help make your estimates easier. The costs below may also seem like a jump from the typical backpackers guide, but we factored in activities and attractions as well, an additional cost that is sometimes overlooked in the traditional backpackers travel guides.

Sydney, Australia


London, England


Paris, France


Venice, Italy


New York, NY, USA


Cape Town, SA


Las Vegas, USA


Rome, Italy


South Island, New Zealand Region


San Francisco, USA


Rio De Janeiro, Brazil


Dubai, UAE


Auckland, New Zealand


Singapore, Asia


Phuket Thailand


Bali, Indonesia


Durban, South Africa


Bangkok, Thailand


Vancouver, Canada


Cairns, Australia


Melbourne, Australia


Cairo, Egypt


Madrid, Spain


Dodoma, Tanzania


Suva, Fiji


Amsterdam, Netherlands


Agra, India


Beijing, China


Berlin, Germany


Glasgow, Scotland


As you can see, European countries will most likely cost you close to or over $100 a day, on average, whereas Southeast Asia can be as low as $40.

If you’re planning on traveling around the world, it’s important to be prepared for price differences in cities and have the appropriate budget in each. On the other hand, we know that in cities like Phuket and Agra you shouldn’t be spending more than a mere $50 a day. In fact, in these cities, that is even a high estimate.

do the impossible

I’m going to sound like your mama here, but remember to always be smart. Traveling is an amazing thing, but sometimes people do not always have your best interests at heart, and if they see you as a scam-able/gullible tourist, chances are they will either try to oversell or flat out take advantage of you. Travel smart and be prepared to know what things should cost you.

Tips for saving for your travels

I once read a quote – and if you’re a fan of Pinterest or Tumblr I’m sure you’ve seen it too – that said,

“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” – Anonymous

A bit of a soppy sentiment, but you get the point. Travelling is an investment in your well being as a human. But with any investment, sacrifice is sometimes essential. Here are a few of our favorite money saving actions you can take to start pinching the pennies now, to live an amazing bucket list life later.

First thing I would recommend is to use a personal finance tracker. Apps such as Mint make budgeting a cinch, and it is free to download. Finding out where your finances stand to start with will make it easier to see where you can cut back and save. I’m suggesting Mint because it is the app that I personally use. It is easy – and safe – to connect your banking information to, and it creates handy charts to see where you spend your money. It can sometimes be a bit of an eye-opener, especially when I saw the money I was spending on coffee each week. It’s a fantastic place to start because you can track your spending and evaluate where your expenses are heading.


 Once you begin to see where your finances lie, it becomes a little easier to see where you can start saving money. For me, just saving the money I would spend on coffee or buying lunch was a great place to cut back. Additionally, rent, coffee, eating out, and sadly booze are some great places to cut back and put away. If you are truly committed to having an ultimate journey, giving up some freedoms like living on your own is a key place to save the money you’ll need to travel.

Moving in with your family or staying with a good, good friend for a few months before your journey can save you upwards of $1800 – $2000 depending on where you live – a low estimate if you’re in Vancouver like I am. Travelling in Southeast Asia, $2000 is equivalent to almost 40–50 days of worry-free enjoyment! Eating out and drinking are also budget busters. Choose a number that you want to save up and stick to it. The rewards are far greater than a regular old night out with your coworkers and friends. Remember the goal setting habits I discussed in the early chapters of this book? Evaluating why you want to travel and reaffirming it to yourself on a regular basis will help with keeping you on track to the jet-setting lifestyle of your dreams.

Finally, if you are a working professional, chances are you probably have some unique and talented skills. Try contracting yourself out to take on a few additional hours of work a week. On sites such as O-desk you can pick up contracted work where the earnings from each project could go directly to your travel fund. With the additional income you’ll have the funds you need in no time – potentially without even changing your current lifestyle.

Even if you start to put $50 away from every paycheck, you’ll have saved $1200 in only a year. From my experience, once you begin cutting back and experiencing how other cultures live, you’ll realize how much excess surrounds us all, and you’ll begin to question your spending habits on the regular.


Sara Ruthnum

Sara is the marketing and community outreach coordinator for She is passionate about all things travel, culture and sports, and is excited to start knocking off some of her bucket list dreams in the near future. Connect with Sara by emailing or Check out Sara's bucket list here