I like to travel, a lot. Often when I’m talking of my vacation travels I hear “I could never afford to do that.” The truth is that if you really want to, you can.
Here are 5 tips for saving for your dream vacation…
- Decide where you want to go. I mean where you really, really want to go. Get an idea of what you want to do when you are there (or even along the way). Don’t pick a place because it’s cheap. Pick somewhere that you’ve always dreamed of going so that when you think about blowing the money you’ve saved on a new couch or the latest stamps that you don’t really need, you stop and picture yourself on your dream vacation and leave the money right where it is.
- Know how much you need to save. We always shoot high on this number because we like to pay cash for our vacations and not owe more money when we get home. Do an estimate of how much airfare, hotels, food, souvenirs, museum entrance fees, surfing lessons, etc will cost. Think about what you want to DO while on vacation because often those things cost extra. You might also research package deals from places like Costco or AAA, or contact your local travel agent to help you out.
- Set up a separate bank account that’s hard to get to. We do most of our banking at a local bank, but we have our vacation and car savings accounts with an online bank. It’s easy to transfer money into the accounts, but it’s not as easy to get the money out. As in we don’t have a debit card attached to the accounts and we have to wait 4 days for the funds to be available when we transfer that money to our regular checking account. That means it’s easy to pay for the vacation when we need to but not so easy to grab that money and spend it on other things.
- Would you rather? As we are saving up for a big trip we are constantly asking ourselves and our kids “Would you rather?” Would you rather go out to dinner tonight or eat in and put the $50 we would have spent on dinner in the Hawaii account? Would you rather take gymnastics class or play in the yard with your friends on Saturdays and put that $150 in the Hawaii account instead? Would you rather have that new stamp set even though you have a similar one or would you like to put that $25 in the Hawaii account? Sometimes the answer won’t be the travel savings account and that’s okay. But it really makes you stop and think about where you are spending your money and what is important to you.
- Have a garage sale. What can you sell that you already have? Maybe you have extra stamping supplies that are clogging up your craft room or shelves of books that you never read. Maybe you’re like me and have a Cricut in your closet that you haven’t opened even though you’ve had it for 2 years. Declutter your house and have a garage sale to sell the things you don’t need. Put this money directly into your vacation fund. Garage sales can be a lot of work, but if you have a lot of extra stuff they can be worth it. If you have only a few larger items to sell, you might try selling them on Craig’s List or if you have collectibles you might try eBay.
Where will your dream vacation take you?