This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Varo. The opinions and text are all mine.

Many of of our readers focus on earning miles and points to finance their travels, we think it is important to also save money for travel and life in general.  We had both already visited over 30 countries and all 7 continents before discovering miles and points just by focusing on saving as much money for travel as possible.

Why Save Money for Travel

Even if you use miles and points for all your flights and hotels, it is also nice to have some extra money to splurge on travel experiences like a meal at a great restaurant, admission fees for attractions, etc.

smart banking tips will help you save money for bucket list trips like a cruise to Antarctica

You can also use savings to pay for a dream trip that you can’t use miles and points for (like a trip to Antarctica or trekking gorillas in Rwanda).

smart banking tips will help you save money for bucket list trips like trekking gorillas in Rwanda

Banking Tips to Save Money for Travel

Pay Off Credit Card Debt ASAP

If you carry credit card debt, try to pay it off as soon as possible.  Most credit cards charge a high rate of interest for balances that is much higher than the value of any cash or points that you earn using that card. If you are unable to pay off your credit card debt and need to carry a balance, choose a credit card that offers 0% introductory rate on new purchases and transferred balances.  Keep in mind that high credit card balances negatively affect your credit score (making it harder to be approved for new credit cards) since one of the factors that make up your credit score is how much of your available credit you are using.

Maximize Credit Card Rewards

Many of our readers are already maximizing credit card rewards by applying for new credit cards with high sign up bonuses and paying attention to credit card bonus categories for every day spending.  For those of you not familiar with credit card bonus categories, some credit cards will offer extra points for purchases at certain merchants. Some credit cards always earn extra points for certain categories (such as travel, dining, groceries) while some credit cards (such as the Chase Freedom and Discover it cards) pay 5% on rotating quarterly bonus categories.

Also when shopping online, make sure you go through a cashback or miles/points rewards shopping portal to earn extra points for purchases you would be making anyway.  We use EvReward & Cashback Monitor to compare the payout rates of various cashback and rewards portals before doing any online shopping.

Avoid Unnecessary Bank Fees

There is no reason to pay unnecessary bank fees (either credit card fees and savings/checking account fees).

If you travel or plan to travel abroad, make sure to have a credit card (such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred) and an ATM card that does not charge foreign transaction fees.

If you are thinking of applying for a new credit card that charges an annual fee or deciding whether to keep an annual fee credit card past the first year, make sure you are getting enough value or benefits from that credit card in order to justify paying the annual fee.  While annual fee cards have more benefits that no annual fee cards, make sure they are benefits that you actual use.  If you don’t want to pay the annual fee but want to keep the card, call the bank, tell them you are thinking of cancelling the card and ask if there are any retention offers. Sometimes banks will give you a credit or extra points for keeping a credit card and putting some spending on that card.

Choosing a savings account that does not charge you fees is an easy way to maximize your savings.  Unlike big banks that charge you for almost every single transaction, Varo is totally fee-free. By avoiding fees, you’re already ahead of the game. Stop for a moment to consider every banking fee you paid last year and how much money you would have back in your bank account if you’d kept it.

Make Sure Your Bank Account Offers a High Interest Rate

It is surprising how much interest rates on savings accounts vary from bank to bank.  When opening up a savings account choose a bank like Varo that offers a high interest rate to help your money grow faster.

Varo Savings Account

Varo (rhymes with borrow) makes it easy to jump start your savings by offering high interest rates without bank fees. A few other things to know about Varo savings accounts:

  • Varo offers fee-free, high-yield savings accounts that don’t require a minimum balance and automatic tools help you deposit money into your savings without thinking about it.  Varo pays one of the highest Annual Percentage Yields (APY) of any other bank in the country!
  • When you use Varo, you can get paid up to two days earlier with Early Direct Deposit – that’s more money to pay bills, earn interest, and save for that travel fund.
  • The Varo app is available on iOS and Android.
  • Varo currently does not support joint accounts or business accounts. However, if someone is running a side business and wants to use their Varo account as a way to receive their pay, Varo can support these customers since this is still an individual account.

Kickstart your financial future with a Varo Savings Account. No fees, early direct deposit, auto savings tools with high interest rates help you see all your money in one place. Check out for more information.


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