Israel, saving money, travel tips

Time for Another Travel Savings Challenge!

Several years ago, you followed along as I recorded my savings leading up to a trip to The British Isles followed by a cruise to The Bahamas. Now, it’s been two years since I’ve been outside of North America. I just got confirmation that I’ll be heading to a new country very soon, so it’s time to start another savings challenge!

But first, let me tell you a little bit about the trip I’m going to take. It’s not the kind of trip I normally go on. In fact, it’s different from any other trip I’ve ever been on or will ever take in my lifetime! In February, I applied to Passages, a leadership program that takes college students to Israel. I had heard about Passages years ago, but did not fulfill the requirement of being a college student at the time. This year, I’m back in college and just barely squeaked by with the upper age limit, so it truly is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me.

Photo by Haley Black on Pexels.com

One of the greatest parts about Passages is that the trip is heavily subsidized. Israel is an expensive country, and while I’ve always wanted to go there, I didn’t know how I could do it on my backpacker budget. However, there are still associated fees, but the cost of my trip should come in under $2000. (I normally wouldn’t pay this much for a 9-day trip, but the retail value would be over $5000!)

I got my acceptance letter on Friday, March 25th, with the stipulation that I had to send in my program and administrative fees by April 1st. That only gave me one week to earn and save that money! So instead of giving you monthly updates, I will be giving you weekly updates on how my savings challenge is going. Even after the April 1st deadline, I will still be saving money for my pre-trip expenses and Israel lunch money.

Here are a few ways I plan to enact my savings challenge:

  • Because a lot of my 2021 salary was socked into retirement funds, the majority of my trip expenses can be paid with my tax return.
  • I set up a Facebook fundraiser so those who want to support this mission financially can do so.
  • I switched to a high-yield savings account (HYSA) where I get a weekly payout. Even though that’s usually under $2, every dollar counts!
  • I’ll likely do some no-spend challenges, where I set a length of time where I can only spend on necessary bills and travel expenses. Instead, I’ll walk around, eat out of my pantry, and find ways to entertain myself that don’t cost a dime.
  • When I do have to spend, I’ll look for ways to save, such as promo codes, coupons, and price comparisons. (Example: I need to get a filling before the trip, but I’m going to drive the 30 miles to the Mexican border to get it done there instead of paying extra for a dentist in California.)
  • I’m not doing any freelancing right now due to work, school, and now the added responsibility of the pre-trip educational course, but if a doable opportunity comes up, that money can go toward the trip.
  • There’s sure to be more… but you’ll have to read my weekly updates to find out what they are?

What’s your best tip for how to pay for a big trip on short notice?

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