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How I saved 16.000 $ for my trip in less than 5 months





In this post I will share with you a few tips and tricks from my personal experience and will tell you how I managed to save 16.000$ in just 5 months.


In the past few days I went for my last vaccination shots  (5 in 1) and I also requested  the international driving licence for my crazy motorbike runs in Vietnam and Indonesia.

In both places, when I explained my plans, they asked me for how long was I going to be away and where.

As soon as they realized my plan to stay away for so long, just for the sake of travel, they  probably thought I just won the lottery:). They paused, eyes and mouth wide open..and stuttering a bit they asked me ” Do you travel just like that?”

Their mind probably couldn’t contemplate 2 basic concepts:

1) You don’t need to be a millionaire to travel the world.

2) Work or study are NOT the only reasons why a common person decides to travel extensively.

After the first moments of confusion, they were really happy for me, and with a longing voice they said ” I WISH I COULD DO THAT TOO! YOU ARE VERY LUCKY!”

Oh really? am I lucky?  I had to explain to  them that to be able to leave I decided to quit my job and  that I was going to use all my savings  to finance my dream trip. At this point their curiosity was aroused big time. They wanted to know the one million dollar question:



Was I a prostitute? (how charming).  Were my parents financing my trip? Did I inherited uncle Gustav’s flock of sheep? Well none of the above is correct I’m afraid.

In this post I’m going to share  my “secrets” with you.  Because so many  people ask me this question and I thought that it could be interesting to give you the details:





Good news: Everyone can achieve similar results. Unless you have 10.000$ debt or similar. Other than that, it is possible to save this kind of money.

Bad News: It takes a LOT of sacrifice and planning ahead (or you have your personal Uncle Gustave in your pocket!)

Below I wrote down the details , split by category, and the total savings in GBP and USD:


  • RENT: London is crazy expensive and my biggest monthly expense was the rent (around 800£), so I asked my good friend,and soon to be travel mate Paolino, if I could stay at his place. He agreed and I paid him 300£ per month. This way I was saving more than 500£ per month in rent, and I was also helping him saving his bit for the trip. A win – win situation! Ok we lost our independence but it was also a very good test for our resilience during the trip!

     TOTAL SAVINGS : (600£x3 months =1800£) ——>2800 USD



  • SELLING MY BELONGINGS: I put all my stuff in 4 boxes: To sell, to give away, to keep, to ship back home. It took me more than a week to sort everything out. In the end I catalogued the “selling stuff” , I took pictures, created a Power Point presentation with prices on it, and put together a separate price list in excel. I sent it out to my friends and acquaintances, explaining my project and asking to help me out. It worked! 🙂 It took a few months and a lot of patience, but the response was incredible. In addition to this, I sold the remaining items (dresses mainly) on eBay.

    TOTAL SAVINGS (in 5 months): 550£——->865 USD



  • REDUCING MY GENERAL EXPENSES: For 6 months I forgot about going out for drinks, eating out, movies, shopping, expensive care products and accessories (unless it was something I needed for the trip). My only expenses were: RENT, FOOD, TRANSPORTS. That’s it. Was it hard? not for me, my dream was so big that these “sacrifices” were just a way to reach my goal. But if you foresee  less than bearable suffering I suggest to either take more time to save or to splurge once in a while with a couple of drinks or a movie to keep your own sanity!

    TOTAL SAVINGS (in 5 months): 700£——>1100 USD



  • CREATING A SAVING ACCOUNT FOR THE TRIP:  I already had a saving account, and as soon as my project was definitive I devoted it to the trip entirely. This implied that every 25th of the month, when I got paid, I transferred a fixed amount of 1400£ into it. No exceptions. I could not touch it for any reason. This was my biggest saving income. I was very lucky as my job allowed me to save that much every month. I’m aware that not everyone is that lucky. Reading other travelers experiences, when they didn’t earn this much, they make more sacrifices (I.e find a second job) or delaying their departure until they reached their ultimate goal. Doesn’t matter how long will it take, it is so worth it!

    TOTAL SAVINGS: (In 3 months): 4200£——-> 6.600 USD



  • COMPANY SHARES PLAN: Even before planning my crazy  trip, I set up a monthly saving scheme with my company: every month they deduct a fixed amount of money from my salary to buy company shares at a discounted price. They were blocked for  3 years so I couldn’t sell them, but I had the option to collect the money if ever I decided to quit my job.

     TOTAL SAVINGS: 1400£—->2200 USD



  • UNPAID HOLIDAYS: When I quit my job I had many days of vacation left and by contract they had to pay for them.

     TOTAL SAVINGS: 1700£——>2600 USD






Part of this money went into the “pre trip expenses” :

  • Flight to Thailand
  • Flight from London to Sardinia
  • Vaccinations
  • Travel insurance  

I’m leaving with around 14.000USD, which I hope will last enough to fulfill my travel plans! 

I hope this mini guide can be useful for those of you in the process of saving for your own super adventure. As you can see, I’ve been there too and I though that I was a LOST CASE, since my family could not help much, and I had considerable monthly expenses to cover.


My story only proves one thing: when you really want something, you will find a way and creative solutions you’d never considered before.

I think it all boils down to your priorities and how badly you want your dream to become true! I know of people who spend 600/700 $ per months in drinks alone, or dresses, shoes and so on. Nothing wrong with that.

I understand that not everyone has my set of priorities. What I’m saying is that if you have the travel bug like I do, Saving the money for your trip is POSSIBLE.

Believe in it, plan it, work hard on it and finally take that plane to your favorite destination!

What are your tricks to save money? Feel free to leave a comment below!

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Your explanation is very real and truthful…Thanks for that… I had a plan to proceed my career course in one of the University in European and was told by their embassy to raise $14.000 for that study…It wasn’t easy at first but to be truthful, I had to stop so many things that eats off money from me…And within a year, I got the money. Excluding the fact that I was paying house rent, two kids in school…feeding the family of 4 and fueling the car…e.t.c…Still saved the money…Thanks for sharing…

Very insightful and helpful. I might start doing the same for my one year long trip! I should!

[…] than half a year later, she had saved over $16,000 (~ £11,200) and set out for her first destination: Southeast Asia. Four years later, Mattana is still on the […]

[…] than half a year later, she had saved over $16,000 (~ £11,200) and set out for her first destination: Southeast Asia. Four years later, Mattana is still on […]

[…] than half a year later, she had saved over $16,000 (~ £11,200) and set out for her first destination: Southeast Asia. Four years later, Mattana is still on the […]


I think there is quite a bit of double counting here. If you earned £2k a month and saved £1.4k a month, rent and expenses savings are overlapping with that and you can’t add them. I am surprised nobody spotted that.

By the way this is not saving. This is called liquidation: selling clothes, cashing in shares, getting paid for untaken holidays. By the end of it you had more cash, but you were overall “poorer” than before.

I am not trolling – I think someone largely followed on the web owe her followers some better fact checking.

[…] had sacrificed my social life for months to save enough money for my trip, and that was enough to rock my world. The future? why worry about it?  Screw the […]

[…] Clelia is an inspiration for all wannabe travellers, especially those who may feel like they are at a crossroads in their life and can’t decide what to do next. Showing that following your dreams at any age is completely possible, keep calm and let Clelia give you some guidance. She’ll even show you how to save wisely! […]

I so envy you guys traveler, my dream is to go from an expat to a traveler status… lol But what keeping me is not the money but I have a family, a husband who travels the world with his job so he is not really interested as he saw it all… and 2 teens… we move every 3 years and right now we are in Dubai but it is not enough for me, I so want to back my bags and travel the world but for now… I have to wait and travel though reading blog posts of travelers… Read more »

[…] Bajo este título, la autora de Keep Calm and Travel cuenta cómo pudo reunir esa cantidad antes de emprender un largo viaje. Por si puede servir, traduzco algunos  de los curiosos secretos de su post How I saved $16,000 for my trip in less than 5 months:   […]


Thanks for this post! This is particularly inspiring for me. I’m living in Shepherd’s Bush at the moment and the rent is a killer – it’s draining my money fast. Living in London has been a massive learning curve for me! Now, time to start saving for my next escape!

[…] One word: SACRIFICE, SACRIFICE, SACRIFICE. (I wrote a detailed article about it on my site.) I moved in with a friend to save the money of the rent, I opened a separate […]

Kle, Ge, Weeeee… I found you before your trip started. Then I lost you (my mistake) and now I rediscovered your page; needless to say you left me gazing and gaulking with amasement. Ma caro ragazza…you are amasing. An inspiration. I sincerely hope and pray you are enjoying every single second thoroughly (I think I know you do) and I might (when I am done reading your splendid tales in october…2017!) have to ask you a few pointers since I HAVE A DREAM; to roll a dice around Bella Italia for 365 days…stay well dear, fare well and farewell. Bissoux… Read more »

No eating out or drinking for 6 months!? Sounds like you were backpacking before even leaving home 😉 Hopefully now in Thailand you are drinking your heart to Chang paradise…

Wow, that’s really impressive! Maybe when I already have a job and my own place, I’ll do the same thing 🙂 Right now I’m still a student with no part time job whatsoever, so I can only save my allowance. Luckily I’m a determined saver. Right after I receive my allowance I would take up to 50% of it and save it in my “travel envelope” (I don’t have a separate bank account like you do, so envelope it is! LOL). Also, in my first semesters I spent a lot on books, but now I usually buy second-hand books. I’m… Read more »

Well done Kle! I agree London is super crazy so I’m really impressed with you being able to save so much money on your travels. I really like the idea of putting all your belongings into 4 different boxes. You sound like a very organised person!

Hey Chris!oh i know it so well! when friends ask you to go out and you invited them home…it’s been my policy for months, but it’s fun for me!
Sometimes people don’t realise that they can do exactly the same… i was the first one not believing that i could save so much. And as you said, even saving for 11 months and then spend them all in a memorable trip is so worth it! Thanks for stopping by!! it was such a nice surprise 🙂


i’ve been there too, saving like crazy, just work and then back home. friends would ask me to go out, i’d tell them “come home and let’s cook dinner and watch a movie, i need to save traveling money” lol.
yes, ppl call us lucky but they just can’t get it’s as simple as setting THE GOAL as you said. still i’ve been told, by the same ppl, that it’s not worth it to sacrifice everything for 11 months just to travel for one.. the little they know..
have a great trip kle, thx for the
great post!

Wow that’s an amazing amount to save in such a short period of time. I’ve been saving for a bit longer, although I’m a student so I don’t have as much money coming in. Congrats on your hard work 🙂

Hi Marvin, ah! you asked me a good question really! i dont have an exact amount, since i stopped tracking it after a while. But let’s say that the main expenses (flights, insurance, backpack etc) were around 1400£….not bad! Where are you heading first for your trip? good luck!


Thanks so much for sharing it. This is so inspiring!
How much did you spend for your pre-trip gear? i’m trying to collect as many info as possible as i’m planning my rtw trip too..