How to Balance Travelling with Saving for Retirement

Travelling to new destinations abroad is always an enriching experience. Yet, there is no denying the fact it can be expensive. You may be among the many people who find they have to weigh the costs of travel against their ability to save more money for their retirement years. After all, many countries in Europe have increased their state pension age, meaning you’ll need to have alternative financial arrangements if you want to retire before 65. 

However, there are ways you can save for retirement while also gaining some incredible travelling experiences. We’re going to dive into a few of the strategies you should consider adopting. 

Set Your Goals

One of the areas many people slip up in both travelling and retirement savings is by failing to plan. Yes, saving a little of your salary here and there can make a difference, and following some travel money-saving tips can help. But if you take the time to set solid goals and stick to them, you can overcome challenges in an informed and generally more successful way. 

Areas of consideration should include:

  • Retirement Age

Having a target age for your retirement is essential for your planning process. It helps you to better understand how much income you are likely to need, and therefore, how much you’ll need to save. Retiring before the age of 50 is attractive but comes with both benefits and drawbacks. It can give you more time to travel and pursue hobbies, but you’ll also need to allot more of your current salary for savings. By setting clear goals here you can develop strategies like working with a financial planner to prepare for your later income needs.

  • Projected Income

It’s not everyone’s favourite thing to do, but it’s worth sitting down on an annual basis to project your income for the year ahead. This is especially important if you’re an entrepreneur or freelancer where your income may change from month to month. From here you can map out some solid budgets and gain a good impression of what your disposable income is likely to be. You can then allocate amounts you set aside for retirement and those you can apply toward travel.

Keep Budget-Conscious

Setting a budget for your trip doesn’t mean you don’t have room to have some fun. But you should find ways to reduce your costs. Transportation is among the highest areas of expenditure but there are ways to minimize this. Particularly in mainland Europe, you’ll usually find travelling by train is cheaper than flying. Not to mention you get to see more of the landscape. 

Though if you’re taking a road trip, it is good for your budget and the environment to adopt methods to reduce fuel expenditure. Utilize trip planning apps to pinpoint stations with the lowest fuel prices. Keep your vehicle running efficiently by attending to regular maintenance. This can also have the added bonus of reducing the potential for costly breakdowns. 

It’s also worth looking into tourist deals for the areas you’re visiting. Often, hotels will partner with the local tourism board to offer discounts on activities. Travelling off-season is also a good way to save cash. Many attractions will have reduced ticket prices and accommodation providers push their rates down a little. If you don’t use up your entire budget on this trip, you can put the difference toward your next travel venture or even beef up your retirement account.

Supplement Your Income

Many people don’t travel simply for a vacation. Indeed, immersing yourself in the culture of a new destination can be the most fulfilling way to experience it. Travelling can provide you with new perspectives and even looks great on your resume. But spending long periods abroad isn’t usually conducive to saving money for retirement. After all, you may have to both take time off work while also tending to your travel expenses. An effective way to overcome this concern is through earning money while you’re travelling. 

There are several ways you can approach working abroad to pay for your trip and offset any wage losses. Freelancing or remote working is increasingly popular in this regard as you can usually operate from wherever you happen to be in the world. As long as you have a laptop and a stable internet connection, you’re able to work. You may also be able to pick up some seasonal work. If you have writing or photography chops, you could also consider performing travel writing or documentary work. Teaching English as a second language can be an option, too, as long as you have the relevant qualifications. 

However, it’s important to remember you must adhere to your host country’s visa regulations. As a result of Brexit, British citizens can’t currently work in the EU without permits and vice versa. That said, there are forms of passive income that can support your travel and protect your retirement fund. Consider subletting your home or allowing its use as vacation accommodation while you’re away. Though it’s wise to arrange for a friend or family member to take care of this for the time you’re out of the country. This helps to minimize potential issues and give your renters a host to liaise with.


Travelling experiences are a valuable part of life but it’s equally important to ensure you have funds for your retirement. By setting clear goals and reducing your travelling expenses, you can help keep your outlay within manageable limits. It’s also worth considering how you can supplement during longer spells abroad. It’s not an easy balance to achieve, but with some consistent effort, you can serve both of these lifestyle imperatives.