How to raise over €5000 in 6 months (for your travels)

In early 2010 I managed to raise the equivalent of €5000 in the space of 6 months for my travels around Europe. All of this money was raised through a) selling my belongings to raise extra cash, and b) making cut backs on my existing spending and putting those savings in the bank. At the time I was earning next to nothing as I had not long started my travel blogging career, so I probably had less money coming in than most people who will read this article. My earnings were certainly below the national average in the UK. So the question is how exactly did I do it, and more importantly – how can you do it too? As at the end of the day that is the point of this blog - to help people who want to travel based on my years of travel experience...


What items tend to sell fast?


The easiest way to raise immediate cash to go travelling is to start selling some or all of your possessions. How much you can raise will depend a lot on what you have available to sell and also what you're willing to sell.


Before deciding what you want to sell it may be worth thinking about the fact that it may be easier to just sell all of your possessions anyway before heading off on your travels. Sometimes it's more hassle to find storage facilities while you're away than to just offload everything and make a bit of cash to take with you.


Typically fast and easy things to sell on internet auction sites are electrical/computing equipment. Laptops, tablet computers, cameras, smart phones etc can quite easily get you €50 – €600 per item depending on how new they are, the condition, what it is you're selling, and whether or not the model you have is the latest 'in thing'. I've also noticed selling items before and after Christmas usually results in more/higher bids than other times of the year. Also, the key thing about these types of items is that they are easy to ship out to people compared to some other 'high value' items you may be able to sell online, but that are larger or have more red tape.


Tip; If you're reluctant to sell something like your iPhone or laptop, what I would say is – do you really want to carry expensive equipment around with you in foreign countries? If people are going to have things stolen it's usually when they are in a foreign country and stick out like a sore thumb compared to the local people. Why not cash in now and take a cheap phone with you instead? 90% of backpackers do not need a laptop as they travel. A small tablet would do, or just check your emails at internet cafés wherever you are. This way you make extra money to prolong your travels, and you have less risk of being pick-pocketed for expensive items abroad.


How much did I raise from selling my belongings?


I managed to raise €1500 of the €5000 mentioned above simply from selling electrical appliances such as second hand phones, computers, and cameras. I made around a further €200 from selling lots of other little things such as old CDs, DVDs, books, and lots of other low cost items such as shoes and clothes. I did have a lot of electrical equipment that I could sell at the time (which not everybody has), but even if you just sell your computer second hand you could make an extra couple hundred Euros that would pay for a few extra weeks of accommodation in a hostel like PLUS while you're away.


How much could you raise from selling your belongings?


For those of you who have a house you could rent out/sell, or a high value item like a car, making a lot of cash for your travels may become a little bit easier – although it will obviously take a lot more time to sell these types of items. For most young people who travel such as myself though, it's unlikely that you will have a house to sell, and you may not have a car. That is why I wanted to use this €5000 figure. If you have a few expensive electrical appliances you could sell like those mentioned above, you could already be well on your way to matching that figure.


Cutting back...


One of the reasons I was able to save €5000 in a relatively short amount of time was that I moved back in with my parents. Instead of paying 380 GBP per month + bills on a room in Edinburgh where I was previously studying, I was now only paying 100 GBP 'dig money' per month to my parents which included 'rent', all utilities, and food. Including the utility & food bills I was saving more than 480 GBP per month (approximately €592 per month). This in itself was what got me to the €5000 mark within 6 months quite easily. In fact, if you do the calculations of what I sold and how much per month I saved on rent and bills, I managed to go just over €5000.


The important factor of all this was that I did not need to alter my going out habits or how much I was spending on eating/drinking out, buying clothes etc – although admittedly I probably spend less on this than most young people my age. If you can move back in with your parents you'll find saving money for your travels comes a lot more easily. If that facility is not there, down grading your accommodation or renting out a room in your property could still potentially save you hundreds of Euros per month. There are also further cuts you can make like cycling to work instead of driving (and paying fuel money), or bring in some extra by getting an extra job or doing overtime. If you spend a lot of money on alcohol at the weekends then cutting back on this is another common sense way to save some much needed cash. There will be plenty of time for drinking when you're away!


- Sometimes the people who write these types of articles give you unattainable figures when they quote you what they say you can save, but usually these figures involve selling a house or a business that a lot of people just don't have in the age band where they want to travel. I think €5000 is an attainable figure for most young people on a low or student type income if you're committed enough to saving. €5000 is also more than enough money to spend a summer in Europe with (trust me, I do it on less all the time) if you are staying in hostels like PLUS. Depending on where you're flying from it should also cover the cost of flights too.


So what are you waiting for? Travel could be just around the corner...