This post is not sponsored. However, it does contain affiliate and referral codes. If you use my link to sign up for these apps, I will receive a small compensation at no additional cost to you. You can also earn money toward cash back, Etc.

5 Insanely Easy Ways to Save for Travel and Build Your Travel Fund Quickly

One of the biggest issues I hear in family travel is the expense. I get it, Travel is expensive! The flights, multiple nights at accommodations, activities, food and more. Plus, imagine having 2,3,4,5 or more kids. The average family of 4 can spend $5,000 or more on a vacation. It adds up quickly! So, today I am sharing 5 insanely easy ways to save for travel and teach you how to build your travel fund quickly. These 5 ways work for anyone or a family of any size. You’ll be super thankful that you implemented these strategies into your travel budget.

Passively Saving with Apps


We all know that having a good savings strategy is a good idea. However, sometimes It feels like an unmotivated task instead of something enjoyable. That’s one of the reasons why I absolutely love and advocate for passive savings. Saving passively helps you mindlessly stash money away without feeling like you’re taking away from another area in your life. My top favorite way to do this is with an app called Qapital.

How do Passive Savings Apps Work?

The Qapital app allows you to set a savings goal and let your bank account do the work got you. My favorite goal is the round up feature. I set mine to round up to $1 or $2 and forget about it. For example, if I buy a coffee for $4.50, the app will round up to $5.00 and put that .50 into my travel savings account. It’s AMAZING how quickly those purchases add up to meet your goal amount. They also offer sign up bonuses often like invite 10 people to sign up and get $1000. It’s totally free money to help you save for your travel.

If you use my referral link to sign up, you and I will both get a free $10 sign up bonus. Click HERE to sign up and start saving money for your next vacation.

Reward and Cash Back Credit Cards

My next favorite easy way to save money for travel is signing up for reward programs and select reward credit cards. If you’re going to be spending the money anyway, you should at least have your money working for you and gain something out of it.

Reward Programs

Reward programs are absolutely free to sign up for but when you get a loyalty number and start applying it to your purchase, you start to earn points that go toward future travel. This is of no cost to you! The more points you accumulate, the less money you spend on future travel. In fact, if you accumulate a ton of points, you can travel for absolutely FREE.

My favorite rewards programs to sign up for are:

Hilton Honors

The Hilton honors program has amazing perks and benefits and it’s easy to accumulate points toward free stays. We are currently GOLD status with Hilton which means free breakfast for 2, late check out, room upgrades and 18x the points per $1 spent on Hilton properties and more. Hilton Honors Is completely free to join and you can start receiving perks today! Click HERE to join.

American Airlines AAdvantage

The AAdvantage loyalty program is under American Airlines. I tend to frequent and prefer American to any other airline so it made the most sense to me to sign up. It is free to join. So, you should sign up for the rewards program of any airline you fly with. Depending on the distance of your flight, you can accumulate points quickly toward free travel. Click HERE for more information.

Another important thing to note about travel rewards with airlines is that isn’t important to pick an alliance. There are 3 major and common alliances: One World, Sky Team and Star Alliance. To learn more about airline alliances click HERE. You’ll want to join each if you can but it’s more beneficial to choose the one with the most airlines you fly often. For us, it was one world and sky team. Joining these alliances will give you special perks, status and your points can be transferred between alliances. For example, if I frequent American Airline and I find a flight to Asia with Cathay Pacific, I can transfer my American Airlines to Cathay Pacific to pay for my flight. This is your first step to travel hacking.

Reward Credit Cards

5 Insanely Easy Ways to Save for Travel and Build Your Travel Fund Quickly

There are two types of people in the world. Those who avoid credit cards at all cost because debt is the devil and those who get them and use them to advantage. I figure, if you’re responsible credit cards are the best thing you can do for free travel. Plus, if you’re going to spend the money, you want your money to do you a favor in return. The best way to accomplish this is travel credit cards or reward cards.

There are a ton of credit cards out there for rewards: cash back, reward points, etc. You really have to do research to find out which card is best for you and your lifestyle. Also, find out what’s more important. Would you rather redeem points for free travel? Get cash back to go toward whatever you want? Do you want exclusive perks? Are you okay with an annual fee?

Reward Cards for Travel Hacking

These are just a few questions to ask yourself when choosing a card. Nonetheless, you’ll want to start with a card that has the most use to you. Most reward cards come with a signup bonus. Spend $xxxx amount of dollars in 3 months and get 50,000 points+ or a travel voucher for $500+. I highly suggest signing up for a reward card when you know you have a big purchase to make. That way, you hit your threshold easier and collect your free travel points faster.

Additionally, choose a card that fits your lifestyle. If you travel often, looks for a card that gets you 3x the points on travel. Like dining out? Get a card that gets you 2x points on dining, etc.

Envelope Method

Okay, we’re taking it back to the basics. If you want to save money for travel, the easiest way to get started is the envelope method. It’s simple and you can start right now.

There are multiple ways to start:

  1. Come up with a trip budget. Say you want to save $1000 toward travel. Then, divide that number by the number of months until you take that trip (or have to pay for it). That number is how much you should put in your envelope a month. This method takes a lot of stress off coming up with the money immediately and lets you save over time.
  1. Put away money as you get paid. Sometimes you know that you want to travel but aren’t sure where yet. Thanks okay! You can save without a goal (although you should have a general goal as motivation to keep saving). Every time you get paid or get extra money, out the money away in an envelope labeled “travel”. Even if it’s just $20 here or $5 there, it will add up quickly!


$5 or 1 year Saving Challenge Method

Similarly, the $5 method is a fun and easy way to accumulate travel funds. Basically, every time you break money and get a $5 bill you put it away for travel. You can put it in a piggy bank, a jar or an envelope. It doesn’t matter! This can really add up quickly. If you really want to increase your savings in a short amount of time, consider changing the variable to $10 or $20. This works best for a shorter savings time frame.

The 1 year savings challenge is a fun way to save for a trip because it doesn’t require much work or money out of your pocket. It also works best if you have a year to save for a vacation. The method is simple. The first week of the year save $1, second week $2. Keep going in this pattern all the way up to week 52. By 52 weeks, you should have saved $1378 to apply toward travel.

Cash Back Apps

The last way to save money for travel is using cash back apps. Again, if you’re going to be spending the money anyway, you should at least be getting a perk out of it. I tend to use cash back apps when I’m doing everyday spending like grocery shopping or purchasing meals. By signing up for the app, you’re able to get anywhere from 1% to even 50% cash back on your purchases. Then, you can cash that out for travel expenses. It’s a slow process but worth it for extra money on dining and experiences during travel. Some of my favorite cash back apps are /


we use this app for grocery shopping. To get the best use out of the app, try to search cash back deals ahead of time on grocery shopping day. That way, you already know what brands or items qualify and you can pick those up on your trip and guarantee cash back. You can cash out at $20 and apply that to your travel savings. By using my referral link to sign up for Ibotta, you and I can earn a bonus. Click HERE to sign up!


This app is amazing for booking hotels. Their new hotel cash back feature can get you up to 40% off your hotel booking which is huge cash back and savings. These savings can be cashed out to cover dining and experiences during your trip so you’ll definitely want to check the app before choosing a hotel. The best part is that you can still accumulate loyalty points. Call the hotel to add your loyalty number and get double the rewards that you would otherwise get. Sign up HERE and receive bonuses.

Ebates by Rakuten

Ebates is another amazing cash back system that includes travel, shopping, dining experiences and more. Again, simply sign up and use the app to get a percentage of your coins back. You literally can’t go wrong with getting your hard- earned money back and putting it toward something you care about. If you’re military, you can still use a military discount on top of your cash back savings which is awesome. Sign up HERE and receive a $10 cash bonus.

Check out my post ” 5 Military Travel Discounts and Freebies You’ve Never Heard About

I hope these insanely easy tips get you on the ball and on your way to saving money toward your trip of a lifetime. What are some ways you like to save money for travel? Have an amazing idea? Share it with us below!

If you loved this post, you may also be interested in reading…

5 Military Travel Discounts and Freebies You’ve Never Heard About

9 Must Have Travel Apps to Download Before Your Next Trip

Military Travel Discounts: How to Save Big Money on Travel Accommodations




About Sierra Redmond

I am Sierra Redmond; a mom, military spouse and travel industry expert on a mission to inspire families to travel near and far. On the blog, you’ll find travel and food guides, tips for traveling with kids, Military, all things Disney and our chronicles as new Las Vegas locals.