"At some point I'm going on a trip around the world…" A lot of young adults don't just dream of a happy working life after graduating from school or university. And for many of them the wish to spend a lengthy period abroad is as much part of a self-determined life as a selfie is of Instagram. Discover the world, learn new languages, immerse yourself in foreign cultures. If only there weren't the immense costs… But don't despair. We’ll give you the best savings tips so that you’ll be able to look forward all the more.

True, you won’t already be on your way to the airport tomorrow to start your world trip. And probably not next year yet either. It takes a bit of time and discipline to fill up the piggy bank and finally make the dream of a long stay abroad come true.

However, that’s not a reason for giving up on your dream journey. Depending on your savings potential, the length of your trip and your destination, you may be able to pack your bags and set off within 5 to 10 years. The sooner you start saving, the more you’ll benefit in the end – not least because of the compound interest effect. Because as the saying goes, "anything worth having is worth waiting for."


Step 1: Plan your trip

What is your destination and how long do you want to travel for? Your travel plan will form the basis for your budget. As an au pair in France you’ll certainly need less money than if you go on a trip around the world. And in any case, the costs will vary hugely according to your personal requirements. That's why you should carefully decide what your dream trip involves before you start planning your budget.

Image source: Unsplash, Daniel Gonzalez

In 2018 each person resident in Switzerland undertook on average 3.2 trips with overnight stays. 67% trips with overnight stays had a destination abroad.

Step 2: Establish your budget & your savings potential

Once you have your travel plan, you should start planning your budget. What do you earn and how much do you spend at present? How much can you and how much must you save in order to fulfil your travel dream in 5 to 10 years? Are there any additional income sources you could tap into or any costs you could avoid in order to save even more?

And remember: every little bit counts. It doesn’t take much to set aside the odd few francs every month: cook your own food instead of eating in the canteen or in restaurants; use public transport, your bike or a car sharing scheme instead of your own car. Our Life Story "Savings in everyday life: exclusive savings tips from the Thrifty Coyote" will give you some interesting ideas.

Budget calculator

Are you looking for a way to plan your travel budget? Get an overview of your income and expenses now and determine your savings potential.

Step 3: Determine your fixed costs

Remember that on your trip you may still have fixed costs that you’ll need to pay for or otherwise settle:

  • Rental costs: Are you looking for an interim tenant or will you give up your apartment completely?
  • Insurance costs: Which insurance policies will have to continue, and which can you dispense with? As long as you are registered in Switzerland, for example, basic health insurance remains mandatory. On the other hand, you won’t need motor insurance if your car stays parked in the garage – or you decide to sell it. 
  • Membership costs: One thing is certain: you won't be able to visit your local gym or tennis club when you’re away. So you can save money by cancelling or suspending your subscriptions.
  • Subscriptions: You can surely pause your public transport season tickets before a lengthy stay abroad. What about your mobile phone or streaming subscriptions for music, films and series? Think about which subscriptions you really need while on the move and which you can do without.

Step 4: Find the right savings model: savings account or investments?

If you start early and stop late, you’ll save the most – not least because of the compound interest that accrues from year to year. The longer you delay your big trip, the more you’ll benefit: the last few years will be the most effective when it comes to compound interest.

But don’t forget: interest rates on savings accounts are currently very low. If you only want to set off in five to ten years’ time, investment products could be of interest to you. If you pay into an investment fund, you could be earning a higher return than on a savings account – depending, of course, on the development of the financial markets and on how well your fund performs.

Step 5: Arrange a consultation

You don't have the foggiest idea about financial matters? Don't worry: Swiss Life will be happy to advise you and accompany you on your journey to your savings target.

Image source: Unsplash, Guilherme Stecanella 

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