Saving for travel: a great idea, but not easy to do. We want to afford more than a long weekend, but everyday needs get in the way. A trip to Bali sounds heavenly…but the water heater just broke. How about that Mediterranean cruise? Fabulous…but you could use new boots and there’s a great sale at Macy’s.
We’ve all been there.
I’ve written about saving for travel before. Small, sneaky efforts can really add up. Coin jars, $5 bills, stashed money. Everything matters. Now you want to up your game. Or maybe you just need more methods to maintain your momentum. Let’s get started!
Saving for Travel: 3 Ways to Succeed
Open a dedicated savings account. Keep your travel funds completely separate from other cash flow. In the modern online variation of old-time Christmas and Vacation Clubs that banks once offered, it’s easy to automatically transfer money to a different account. As the adage goes, “If you don’t see it, you won’t miss it.”
Take on a new challenge. I’ve had success with the Classic 52-Week Challenge: $1 on Week One, $2 on Week Two, etc. It’s satisfying to see an envelope get fat with money. SavingAdvice.com offers alternatives to this system. You can customize and print a savings sheet for the year, starting any time. The Classic Challenge yields a sweet $1,387 for the year. Need more? You can adjust that, too.
“Look what I saved!” We could probably all cut back on expenses. Buy fewer cappuccinos, eat at home, use the library, shop the sales…you could easily recite the list of ways to spend less. The thing is, it’s hard to see the savings. So, get a jar and actually put in the money you didn’t spend. Pass on Starbucks? Add $5 to the jar. Got the book club read at the library instead of from Amazon? That’s $10 toward your trip. Once you start, it gets to be fun. Warning: No dipping into the jar!
Non-money ways to prepare for your travel adventure
Make it real. Decide where you want to go; having a firm goal is more motivating than saving for a generic “vacation.” Do some research to get excited. Get tourist information to read. Then develop a budget for your trip. Include transportation, hotels, meals, activities–you’ll likely modify the itinerary, but now you have something real to work toward. If you change your mind about destination and budget, start again.
Sign up for email alerts. Find a few companies that offer discounted travel or flash sales. While you can’t take advantage of all of them, you’ll get an idea about prices and places to travel. There are bargains out there, so get acquainted with the possibilities! I like Booking.com, ShermansTravel and TravelZoo. Here’s another list of discount travel websites.
Saving for travel is important. You deserve to take the trips you want–and not go into debt. The only way to do it is to put aside the money. And start planning!
More travel tips about saving and money: