Saving money as a student for traveling

Written by Maria Aardal

April 29, 2020

One of the most difficult aspects of traveling while studying is money. How do you get it, how do you save it, and how do you spend it wisely are all difficult questions. It can seem impossible to be able to save enough to travel while being in school. Keep reading to find out my personal best tips for how you could be saving money as a student to travel. These tips are not about ways to earn money, but how to save money. I can stand by these tips and say that they have worked well for me. They have made it possible for me to travel and save money for traveling while being a student.

Save change

This first point is something that might seem unnecessary and kind of stupid, but it really does help. Personally, I always use a credit card, so it is not that often that I have cash. When I am saving up for a trip something that I will do is save all the cash I come across. No matter how little or much. It can be anything from cash that I get for my birthday to change I find in an old jacket. These small amounts really do add up, and no matter how little it still counts towards your goal. What I do is whenever I get some cash I put it in a jar, and then I leave it there. When I eventually put it in a bank I put it straight into my travel savings account.

Saving money as a student for traveling - save all your cash

Savings account

That brings us to the next point, which is that you should create a travel savings account. There are multiple reasons why this is a great idea, and how it can help you saving money as a student for traveling. The first is that it is motivating, you can see the money grow towards your goal. It is also motivating because it is much more organized than just saving it with your “spending money”. You can see how much you have saved and there is no need to keep track. It also helps you to not spend the money that you have saved up. If you keep it in your “normal” account it is so easy to just end up spending it.

The other reason why it is good is that you can earn interest on your money. This is mostly if you are saving for a long term goal with higher amounts of money. How much interest you get depends a lot on your bank, your account and the amount of money you save. Many banks offer special “high-interest saving accounts” where you get a lot higher interest than normal “spending” accounts. You also often get a higher percentage of interest the more money you have in your account. If this sounds like something for you, reach out to your bank to see what they offer in terms of saving accounts. You can also consider opening an account in a different bank with better offers.

Get a credit card with an airline

This is something I wish I had done earlier. Getting a credit card with an airline is great for two different reasons. The first is that a credit card can be safer to use while traveling then a debit card. This is because if someone steals it or scams you it is most times a lot easier to get the money back. It is also safer because you have a credit limit where you are able to spend more money then you have in case of an emergency. This can be for example if you need to pay for a hospital stay while waiting for your insurance to reimburse you, or if you need to fly home for an urgent reason.

The other reason why airline credit cards are great, and how they can actually help you saving money as a student is that you can use it to collect miles or cashpoints. This works a bit differently from company to company so I will just use the Norwegian credit card (the one I have) to explain it. Whenever I buy something with my card I get back 1% in cashpoints. This means that if I buy something for 700$ I get back 7$. For Norwegian one, cashpoint is equal to one krone (Norwegian currency).

A credit card from an airline can help you save money for traveling

I use my credit card for all my purchases and in that way collect cashpoints that I can spend on flights. With Norwegian, you can also pay with however much cashpoints you want to and the rest with money. You do not need to save up for the entire ticket in cashpoints. Whenever you fly with them you also get 10% cashpoints from your ticket. This is a great way to earn some extra money and save money on flights.


Setting up a proper budget is essential to start saving money as a student. You should set up a budget both for the trip you are going on, and a “normal” budget for your income and expenses at home. Creating a budget can really help you get an overview of how much you earn, spend and how much you could be saving. You should start by adding in your income then adding in your expences. After that, you can see how much you have to spend and save. That way you can set goals for how much you get to spend and save the rest. Remember that it does not have to be really high amounts. If you can only save 50$ a month, that is 600$ a year which is enough to fly New York to London and back, TWICE!

Create a budget to help you save money as a student

I personally use Excel to create my budgets and I love it and recommend it to everyone. It can take a bit of time to get used to, but once you got it, it is so easy and practical.

Set goals and reward yourself

Once you have set up your savings account, credit card and made a budget it is time to set your goals. After you have made your budget you know about how much is possible for you to save in a month and therefore you can set a reasonable goal. There is no point in setting your goals too high, as you will only be disappointed and unmotivated. You can also create a bigger goal and create smaller milestone goals for the way there. Goals should be fun and motivating to work towards. You can also create rewards for yourself for each milestone that you hit. What these rewards can be is personal and you should find something that motivates you!

It is also a good idea to start with smaller goals and work your way up. If you are not used to saving a lot, do not plunge right into the deep. Start off with something that you know you can do, and work off that. It will be a lot more motivating and it will be easier. Saving money can be really hard. There is a lot of prioritizing. If you are used to splurging and spending money, stopping cold turkey can be hard. Start small and when you feel like you got this set bigger and bigger goals for yourself.

Food, budget, and planning

So now, over to some more specific tips. Food is one of the things where you can often save a lot of money, but it can also be a difficult transition. Here, planning is key. When I am saving, (or just low on money), I plan out my meals in advance. I do it for the week and go shopping on Mondays.

The way I do it to save the most money is that I buy things that can be used for a lot of different meals. An example of this is to buy dry beans, beans can be cooked and prepared in many different ways, so with just one simple ingredient you can have so many different flavors. I use it in soups, stews, pasta, and much more. This way you save money by only buying that instead of a different “main” or protein for each day. Also, remember to use all the food. I love dinner for lunch and I will pack up leftovers and bring them to work for lunch. Great for saving money, and not waste food. Also, utilize your freezer.

Planning meals will help you save money as a student

You should also create a budget for food and try to stick to it. Set an amount of money for food each month. If you spend it all that is great, and if you have something left at the end of the month, transfer it to your travel savings account.

What are your best ways of saving money as a student for traveling?

If you are a student who loves to travel check out this article about why you should be an exchange student


I am Maria, a 20 year old student. I am here to show you that traveling is possible for everyone, including you. I belive that traveling can be done in a lot of different ways and that you never have to limit.

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