An island resort; a mountain top getaway; a vineyard stay. Whatever your idea of a “dream vacation” is, it’s likely just that – a dream. But what if you didn’t have to simply wish, and could come up with the finances to make that dream trip transform into a reality?
With a bit of patience, and some creative strategy, saving up the funds for your dream vacation may be more in reach than previously imagined. Read on for our top tips to make this the year you finally take that vacation of a lifetime – without having to take out a loan or second mortgage to make it happen!
Set a Budget and Savings Timeline
Whether you hope to travel overseas or are dreaming of a local staycation, be sure to conduct the proper research so you know exactly how much you need to budget for your trip. This includes everything from airline and travel costs, lodging, restaurants, and experiences while you’re there (like trips to a museum, excursions, etc.).
Identify your must-dos and nice-to-haves, then set your budget. This is the magic number you’ll want to ensure you have saved – in cash – to fund your vacation. Once you’ve identified your budget, determine how much cash you can put aside each month and divide that by your total budget.
So, for example, let’s say your dream trip will cost you $8,000, and you’d like to set aside $500 every month in savings. Divide $8,000 by $500, and, by following this simple math, you’ll be able to fund your dream vacation in just a little over a year (16 months, to be exact).
Pro Tip: If your travel destination has a different currency than your primary residence, don’t forget to factor in currency exchange rates (which you can find by running a quick Google Search!).
FYI… most credit unions, some banks, and some employers have vacation clubs set up where you can have a certain amount taken out of your paycheck (I think before taxes) and put into a vacation club savings account that pays out once/year.
3 Tips to Reduce the Cost of Your Trip
So now that you know exactly how long it will take you to save to afford your dream vacation, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to speed up the timeline, and save you extra cash throughout your trip!
1.Pay with Points
If you have a credit card that accumulates travel points, consider increasing its use each month to help boost up your points earnings – but only with purchases you’d already be making (like for groceries and gas). This way, you can collect extra points and miles, which you can use to save some cash from your vacation budget on the more expensive items, like lodging and airfare.
2. Buy Budget
If you can be flexible with your travel accommodations, you could save hundreds of dollars on your trip. Search for flights on sites like Hopper to monitor when and where to buy your airfare to guarantee the cheapest rate, and book lodging on affordable sites like AirBnb.
3. Book Off-Season
Depending on where your dream destination is, booking off-season can help you score lower pricing. For example, during peak seasons, more visitors to certain tourist locations means more competition, so everything from attractions to restaurants can charge a premium.
During off-seasons, although the weather may not be as nice, visitors can expect lower prices and fewer crowds, which can be nice on both your wallet and peace-of-mind.
Finally, it’s important to remember that while a dream vacation can be in reach, it shouldn’t put you in debt. By developing a budget and savings timeline in advance, you’ll put yourself on a faster track toward taking the trip of your dreams, while lowering the risk for financial surprises and mishaps along the way.
The opinions expressed in this post are for informational purposes only. To determine the best financing for your personal circumstances and goals, we advise you to consult with a licensed advisor.
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