Summer is the perfect time for relaxation, but we spend it scrolling through our social media. We watch others post photos and talk about the vacations we could only hope to go on. Traveling feels like too much of a luxury when there are bills to pay. So, we settle for daydreaming. But why should everyone else have all the fun? Saving money for your ideal vacation is easier than it seems. You just need a plan.
DECIDE ON A DREAM DESTINATION
Everyone has a different idea of what a “dream vacation” looks like. Some want adventure under tropical skies, while others crave a quiet place to relax. It all depends on the break you need from your everyday life.
Therefore, you’ll want to research the type of location you want to stay in for a while. Visit AAA's Trip Canvas or read up on some real-life accounts that describe your ideal place. Take into account what experiences you want and what will be financially reasonable for you.
MAKE A BUDGET
Once you know where you can and want to go, it’s time to make a budget. Sit down with your monthly expenses and see which costs are “wants” vs. “needs.” It’ll show you where you can cut back and put money towards your travel fund.
Remember that the goal is to save up for something that will make you happy. You don’t want to punish yourself in the process. Even if you can only put away a little each day, you’d be surprised at how it adds up.
OPEN A SAVINGS FUND SPECIFICALLY FOR A DREAM VACATION
You’ll have to put those savings somewhere (other than under your mattress). Setting up a savings fund solely for your vacation-dedicated money is a great way to trick yourself into being disciplined. Since you’ve entirely put that money off to the side, you won’t be as tempted to touch it. Furthermore, you can get excited watching the amount shoot up over the months you save, thanks to your hard work.
You’ll want to check in on that account frequently to motivate yourself, and an online savings account can help you do that. For example, Discover’s deposit products are a valuable option for those who just want to worry about their growing funds. Their online savings account offers a .40% APY (Annual Percentage Yield), and that interest will increase the money you have to play with once you make it to your vacation destination. Plus, there’s no minimum balance, monthly fees, or overdraft fees, making it easy for you to focus your energy on the task at hand.
LOOK FOR WAYS TO INCREASE SAVINGS
Looking for ways to boost your savings is the perfect way to pad your vacation dream fund. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Cancel those subscription services you no longer use. You can always pick them back up later.
- See if your credit cards have points that you can put towards the trip expenses.
- Avoid expensive group hangouts. Even just a couple of drinks can add up. Try to prioritize low-cost or free plans instead.
- Pick up an old cookbook and choose to eat at home more often.
- Set your vacation during the off-season. Prices will likely be lower since there’s less demand at specific points of the year.
- Look for discounts or coupons. They can apply to your day-to-day life or your trip. You can even contact a travel planning service to see if they offer any deals.
- Start a side hustle. It can be a hobby you turn into some extra cash or a part-time job on the weekends.
IDENTIFY TRAVEL DISCOUNTS
If you look around, you’ll probably find that different services will offer a variety of travel discounts. For example, you might find a site that advertises a deal on transportation. That could include cheaper airfare or a discount on a rental car. Alternatively, you may see opportunities for travel packages that encourage you to stay at certain resorts. Research your options and see if there are any deals you can take advantage of for your dream vacation.
Dreams don’t come without a cost. It will be hard to work for a vacation that fits your vision. There will be nights your friends are going out and you can’t join or new things you’ll want to buy. When those moments get you down, you have to remind yourself what you’re working towards ultimately. A vacation is more than just a break. It’s an opportunity to build memories and enrich your life. And you’ll enjoy it even more, knowing all the effort it took to make it happen.