Monday, January 12, 2015

6 Steps to Making Your Dream Vacation a Reality

The hardest part about buying a plane ticket across the world is finding the money to do it. It’s a big decision and commitment to make for sure, but it doesn't have to be a hard decision. You can plan for a special trip or vacation and save all the money that you need so when you go to purchase a ticket you have peace of mind, knowing that your trip is paid for. The following are six tips on how to save money specifically for a travel destination, trip or vacation.

1. Figure out how much the trip will cost. The first thing you will have to do is find out just how much your trip will cost. Include travel, lodging, food and other miscellaneous expenses. Knowing this overall cost will help you determine a realistic savings plan and give you an idea of how much you will need to save in order to take the trip when you would like to. Set a date for when you want to travel. Based on your expenses and your departure date, you are now ready to make a budget!

2. Figure out how much you can save each month. Look at your monthly expenses and determine just how much money you can put away every month to reach your savings goal. Eliminate any unnecessary expenses that you can live without for a time (things like a gym membership, Netflix, morning coffee stops, frequent haircuts, eating out, etc.).* Put that money toward your trip instead. Getting rid of small expenses here and there can add up to a lot of savings.

3. Open a dedicated travel savings account. Create a new account and title it something like “Travel Fund” or “Bon Voyage” and feed it monthly (or even weekly) with all that extra cash you have from cutting back (in step 2). You should have a goal of what you can save each month and make sure to put at least that much in your travel fund every month. Having a dedicated savings account just for your trip will help you see your progress and encourage you to keep building it up.

4. When you get your paycheck, deposit funds to your travel account right away. And do not touch your travel account! This little tip is so helpful. Knowing that you can’t touch your trip funds and purposing to transfer money there right when you get paid each month will ensure that you are saving what you need to.

5. Travel in the off-peak season. The best time to get low priced fairs and avoid large tourist crowds is during the off-peak travel season. This is in September-October and January-February. Plane ticket prices will be lowest in late January and September. Besides that, you won’t have to deal with as many crowds during these times as well. Also, take advantage of money saving travel sites and apps like Kayak or SkyScanner which compile prices for hundreds of airlines, hotels and car rentals to show you the best prices.

6. Saving money takes work and a little sacrifice. It’s not always easy, but remember what the end goal is. Your dream trip, that amazing two week vacation you have always wanted, the sights of Paris at night, whatever it is, it will be worth it! 

*If you're feeling really ambitious, here is a great article with 94 ways you can save money. This could come in very handy.

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