What is your dream vacation? A cruise along the Bahamas? A backpacking journey across Europe? Or is it a trip to Disney World with your family? For some people, their dream vacation feels like it will be nothing more than a dream. However, with proper planning, budgeting for vacation is easier than you may think!
Planning for Vacation
Saving money takes time. However, it gives you the ability to plan the details of your trip. Use the time to your advantage. Pick the time of year you want to go on vacation. By planning ahead you can get the best prices on airfare. Airlines tend to hike their rates during certain times of the week and year. In her article The Best and Worst Days to Fly Caroline Costello gives suggestions for the best times of year and the best days to take flights. By avoiding popular travel dates you can really save a lot of money.
A good decision to make early on is your type of lodgings. If you know someone who lives in the area you’re visiting ask them if you can stay. Make arrangements with them as soon as possible to know if they’re available. Keep in mind that hotels aren’t your only option. Try Airbnb, camping, or hostels.
Budgeting for Vacation
Creating a budget is probably just about everybody’s least favorite thing to do. However, this necessary evil is the key to affording a glass of wine while you stare in awe at the Eiffel Tower. Budget everything like your plane ticket, food, museums and attractions, and travel fares for when you get there. Be sure to also budget for some splurging. If it’s a trip to New York City, budget your the cost of getting into The Statue of Liberty.
Often, people forget to budget the money they need to spend before leaving. So include things like your passport, toiletries, and luggage if you need it.
If you find yourself struggling with the budget, keep an open mind. Perhaps you’ll need to rethink it. Realize that’s okay. You may be able to find a cheaper hotel or pack some meals rather than eating out for all of them.
Saving for Vacation
Now that you’ve planned and budgeted your vacation you know exactly how much you need to save. If bills are tight or you’re on a fixed income this can feel impossible. Don’t give up! We have some great ideas to help you.
Figure out how much you need to set aside each paycheck or each month. If you plan many months in advance, the amount may be negligible. Set that amount aside right after payday. You might not miss it at all.
Review your short-term savings plans to make sure they earn the best return. Talk with an advisor to consider options like switching to a savings account with a higher interest rate or investing in a certificate of deposit.
Also be sure to review your portfolio of credit cards. Pay one off and use the money you save on interest toward your vacation goals. Better yet, switch to a rewards card that can actually help you pay for that flight or hotel room.
Find the Money Elsewhere
Sell your old or unwanted but valuable belongings. Many people own jewelry or collectibles that go unworn or unwanted. Quit letting them collect dust. Sell them and use the profits towards a tour of London on a double-decker bus. Likewise, do you have designer clothes you don’t wear anymore? Sell them at a consignment shop. Are you a bookworm? Sell your old books. The sale price may be small but every little bit puts you closer to your goal.
You might even consider a “side hustle” to earn extra money in the short-term. Taxi companies like Uber or Lyft provide a great way to make some extra money. You can choose your own hours and stop when you’ve made your weekly or nightly goal. If none of these is your style check out thepennyhoarder.com.
Keeping Your Money
Once you’ve saved up the money to hop on your cruise through the Mediterranean Sea there are many things that you still need consider. One is keeping yourself and your hard earned money safe. An unfortunate reality of tourist areas is that pickpockets are pretty common. Hide your money in concealed inner pockets of your clothing. Don’t put all of your money in one place. Hide some on your person and some in your luggage. Also, carry multiple methods of payment. Take a credit card or two and some cash, and have an electronic form of payment like Paypal at the ready if you need it.
When it comes to traveling no dream is too big! With a little bit of planning, budgeting, and saving, you can make your fantasies a reality. Don’t forget to take plenty of pictures. You’ll want to share these memories with everyone!