Ready to plan your dream vacation but not sure how you’ll pay for it? No matter how out of reach a destination seems, with planning, you can make the trip work. Your finances may not allow a big trip each year, but there are some ways to make travel more affordable.
Get an Idea of the Cost
You can’t really save for something if you don’t have an idea how much it will cost. Doing the research on travel, accommodations, and expenses while you are there allows you to project a budget for your trip. Sure, things will change, but this gives you a guideline to start your planning. While you are researching these costs, look at ways you may be able to make the trip more affordable. For example, traveling off-season is a great way to save funds, but it may not provide the experience you are looking for. Read up on your dream location, researcher other traveler’s experiences, and decide if an off-season trip makes sense for you.
Find Money to Fund Your Travel
Find money for your vacation fund by creating, or adjusting, your budget and allocating funds from each paycheck. Squeezing a little extra money from your pay can be a challenge, but eating out less and being a more conscious shopper at the grocery store may be enough to free up 100 dollars or more each month. Another option is to look for ways to lower expenses that you consider fixed and directing those funds into savings. Call your cable company and ask if you can switch plans. They may offer a lower-priced package to keep you as a customer.
Look for ways to lower your electricity bill. The electric company may be willing to come out and perform an energy audit at no cost. This can give you some ideas on how to lower your bill aside from the obvious advice of adjusting your thermostat to keep your home warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter. If you are paying student loans, look at consolidating your existing loans with a single loan from a private lender. You can combine into one payment and free up money each month to dedicate to your vacation fund.
Set Up a Dedicated Account
Online banking has made the process of setting up and maintaining new accounts a breeze. Take advantage of this to open up a dedicated travel account. Keeping your travel funds separate provides two benefits. You can tell at a glance how much you have saved and you resist the urge to spend it on something unrelated to your trip. Seeing how quickly the money adds up is a powerful motivator as well.
Depending on the timeline for your trip, you may want to put some of your funds in a savings vehicle that offers higher interest. Even high-yield savings accounts are not offering much in the way of interest recently. Look at safe options such as 12- or 18-month CDs that may allow your money to grow until you need it.