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Everyone deserves a vacation. But if you’re on a tight budget, an excursion can seem out of reach. The good news is that getting out of town doesn’t have to be an extravagance you can’t afford.
With a little planning and modification to your saving and spending habits, you can take a trip without going into debt for years to come. Keep reading for some of my top tips on how to save for a vacation that won’t break the bank!
Start a Travel Fund
A lot of people find it beneficial to start a dedicated savings account for their travel fund. This reduces the temptation to spend what you have saved on something other than a vacation. If your will power is weak, it may even be helpful to open a separate savings account at a bank that you don’t use for anything else. Less access to the account will make it that much more difficult to break into before you’re ready to book your trip. If you have an emergency fund, dipping into your travel reserve should be less tempting. If you don’t already have an emergency fund, have a look at how to set on up right here. (Insert link).
Set a Goal
Create a line item on your budget for vacation. To determine what amount you will need to save, price check your ideal vacation. Don’t forget to include spending money for your trip and the cost of meals. Once you reach a total, divide that over twelve (or even twenty-four) months. For example: If your estimated vacation cost is $3,000, you will need to set aside $250 per month if you plan to take the trip in the next year. If that’s not feasible, you can try saving $125 a month for two years.
Cut Back on Entertainment Expenses in the Short Term for Long Term Savings
$250 a month may sound like a lot of money if your budget is a little tight. But, in reality, it breaks down to a little more than $8.00 per day. Just giving up one night per week of dining out or cutting your daily latte and pastry allotment would have you well on your way to accomplishing that goal. And when you put it in those terms, it feels a lot more achievable.
Take on a Side Hustle
If your goal still feels unattainable, don’t be afraid to take on some extra work. Freelance gigs, home sharing, or rideshare driving are a great way to bring in additional income that you can funnel directly into your vacation savings fund. One weekend a month of rideshare driving could easily bring in an extra $250. And if you’re feeling really ambitious, you could add a few extra driving shifts to your schedule to ensure you have a little extra to kick into your vacation fund or even supplement your retirement savings.
Not sure how to get started as a rideshare driver or Airbnb host? Check out this article on what you will need and what you can expect as an Uber or Lyft driver. (Insert link here). And look here for my top tips on finding success with Airbnb (Insert link).
Look into a Travel Rewards Credit Card
I’m typically not a big fan of credit cards but if you are able to use one judiciously, a travel rewards card can result in huge savings on flights, lodging, and more. Putting regular expenses on your card and paying off monthly is a great way to rack up points that you can redeem when you’re ready to book your trip. Just make sure you don’t fall into the trap of carrying a balance. Interest charges will quickly offset any savings and render the exercise fruitless.
(Possibly a good place to insert affiliate links for credit card companies).