Do you want to go on a vacation? Do you know how to save for a vacation?
The two go hand in hand!
Because vacations can be expensive, many people try to “afford” them by taking on more debt, and this is something I never recommend doing. Vacations are supposed to be relaxing, and coming back home to a pile of debt is the opposite of relaxing.
So, today, I want to help you learn how to save for a vacation. These are actual things you can do to save money for your trip and have money to spend without taking on any debt.
There are many ways to save money ON your vacation, and you can read those here – How To Travel On A Budget And Still Have The Time Of Your Life. Today's article is a little different from that, though.
With the tips in today's blog post, you'll learn how to save for a vacation by creating a savings plan that allows you to actually save all of the money you need before you leave for your trip.
I hear a lot of people say that they don't have any extra money for a vacation, and I hope that with today's advice, you can start setting aside money to finally go on that long awaited trip.
Related content on how to save for a vacation:
- Yes, You Can Save Enough Money For Long-Term Travel
- How To Save Money On Hotels And Go On More Vacations
- How To Take A 10 Day Trip To Hawaii For $22.40 – Flights & Accommodations Included
How to save for a vacation:
Figure out how much money you need.
Before you can even plan how to save for a vacation, you should calculate how much you plan on spending. While you won't be able to do an exact calculation, you will be able to estimate your average expenses by researching your destination. This can give you a good idea of what you will need to save.
Everyone travels differently, so no two numbers will be alike. You'll want to determine how cheaply or luxuriously you'll want to travel in order to figure out how this will fit into your monthly budget.
Some of the expenses you'll want to think about include:
- Your accommodations
- How you will get to and from your destination, airline fees, Visa fees, etc.
- Whether or not you will rent a car once you get to your destination
- How much you will spend on food and snacks
- If you need to purchase any specific clothing (such as hiking gear, swimwear, etc.)
- If you need an international phone plan or wifi
- ATM fees or exchange rates
Put money into savings before you spend it.
After you pay your monthly bills and set aside money for retirement, the next thing you may want to do is to put money aside for your vacation fund. This is money you set aside before thinking about your budget for going out to eat, entertainment, etc.
This will allow you to save more money and cut back on unneeded spending because you'll have less money each month to spend. This will cause you to think more carefully about each dollar you spend.
Think of it as something similar to a “pay yourself first” budget.
Open a travel savings account.
If you want to separate your vacation savings from the rest of your finances, which can help you see how much money you have saved, you may want to create a vacation bank account.
Many banks allow you to have more than one account, so I recommend simply asking your bank if you can open a separate account with little hassle and no extra fees.
Doing this is also a great way to see exactly how much you've saved – think of it like a travel fund jar.
Follow a budget and cut expenses.
Budgets are great because they keep you mindful of your income and expenses. With a budget, you will know exactly how much you can spend in a category each month, how much you have to work with, and what spending areas need to be evaluated, among other things.
This is an important step in learning how to save for a vacation because it can help you save as much money as you can for your travel fund.
So, if you need to find extra money to put towards your vacation, then you may need to find ways to cut your expenses. This may mean doing things such as:
- Cutting your own hair or going a little longer between haircuts
- Bringing your lunch to work
- Cutting cable
- Eating out less
- Negotiating your bills, such as your cell phone, insurance, etc.
- Quitting smoking and drink less
- Riding your bike more instead of using your car 100% of the time
- Eliminating your gym membership and finding more frugal ways to work out
Remember, with every dollar you may be able to save, that's one more dollar that you can use on other things, such as the vacation you are planning!
Read more at The Ultimate List of Over 50 Money Saving Tips.
Make extra money.
Whether you have just one free hour a day or if you are willing to work 40 to 50 hours a week on top of your full-time job, there are many options when it comes to earning extra money.
This extra money can then be saved and put towards your vacation.
If you want to make some extra money to help you figure out how to save for a vacation, here are just a few of the many ways you can make extra money:
- Teach English – Did you know that you may be able to teach English online to children? VIPKID is a company that allows you to work from home, create your own schedule, and earn $18-21 per hour (many teachers are earning over $1,000 per month) all while teaching English online. You don't need a teaching degree, but you do need to have a 4-year degree in something.
- Sell your stuff – There are many ways you can make extra money by selling items. We all have things around our homes that can be sold instead of collecting dust, or you can even search for items that can be bought and resold for a profit.
- Answer surveys – Survey companies I recommend include American Consumer Opinion, Swagbucks, Survey Junkie, ProOpinion, Pinecone Research, and Harris Poll Online. These survey companies are free to join and free to use! You get paid to answer surveys and to test products. It’s best to sign up for as many as you can, as that way you can receive the most surveys and make the most money.
- Walk dogs and/or pet sit for extra money – If you love animals, then you may want to look into how to make money on the side by walking dogs or pet sitting. With this side hustle, you may be going over to your client’s home to check in a few times a day, you may be staying at their house, or the animals may be staying with you. Rover is a great company that you can sign up with in order to become a dog walker and pet sitter. Learn more about this at Rover – A Great Way To Make Money And Play With Animals.
- Become an Uber or Lyft driver – Spending your spare time driving others around can be a great money maker. Read more about this in my post How To Become An Uber Or Lyft Driver. Click here to join Uber and start making money ASAP.
- Work overtime – One way to make more money at the job you already have is to see if your company will allow you to work overtime. In many cases, overtime is welcomed and you can earn a decent amount of money through this. Plus, what’s an extra hour or two when you’re already there? And, if working overtime is your answer to the question “how to save for a vacation?”, then that vacation will feel even better when you achieve your goal!
- Mystery shop – Yes, you can actually get paid to shop at stores and eat at restaurants. A few years ago, I mystery shopped a lot to make extra income. I made anywhere from $150 to $200 a month mystery shopping and received free meals, makeup, and more. I only used Bestmark for mystery shopping, so I know that they are a 100% legitimate company. There are other legitimate mystery shopping companies that exist, but you do want to do your research.
Remember, these are just a few of the thousands of different things that you could do to make more money as a way to figure out how to save for a vacation.
- 7+ Ways To Make $500 By The Weekend
- 12 Work From Home Jobs That Can Earn You $1,000+ Each Month
- 70+ Ways To Make Money On The Side in 2018
Make your vacation goal visual.
Turning your vacation savings into a visual goal is a great way to find motivation and make saving money fun.
Having your financial goal displayed in front of you can make it that much more real, plus it’s nice to have a constant reminder of what you’re working towards.
Various ways to make your financial goal visual include:
- Print this simple printable and cross out each goal as you complete it – Free 12 Week Travel Savings Plan
- Create a graphic that demonstrates your financial goal. I did some research and found a blog post on A Cultivated Nest about many creative ways to do this.
- Keep a picture of your goal on hand. Having a picture of your long-term travel goal will keep it on your mind. You can even go all out and create a vision board on Pinterest or on a poster board that shows all of the destinations you want to visit.
Hack your travel
Travel hacking may allow you to travel for cheap and even close to free.
I know someone who churned several credit cards for their bonuses and saved up a ton of points before they left for a full year of travel, and they were able to get all of their flights for nearly free by doing this.
I am currently earning several thousand dollars a year by easily using my credit cards to pay for the things I could normally pay for with cash, a debit card, or bank account.
Hacking your travel is a great way to spend like you normally would while earning points for free travel. However, I do want to say that please only do this if you can trust yourself with a credit card. If you are bad at managing credit cards or can't trust yourself with the temptation, then there is no need to go into debt in order to get cheap travel.
Where are you going for your next trip? What else would you recommend for a person who wants to learn how to save for a vacation?
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