9 Tips & Tricks To Save Money For That Next Big Vacation

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9 Tips & Tricks To Save Money For That Next Big Vacation

Traveling is one of life’s most rewarding experiences to me.   I think it all started when I was younger and my parents would set off across the country on a regular basis in their Airstream camper, as part of the Wally Byam club with a caravan of trailers and like minded people in tow.

The open road, the unknown adventure, meeting new people along the way, seeing new and experiencing what this great world has to offer.

Needless to say, I developed a travel bug from the early days of my life that continues on even more as an adult.   I Love to Travel!   It’s pretty obvious that we have a love for travel based on the emphasis we put on it in our budget.  It’s important to us, so it receives a fair share of attention when we are “bucketing” our money, as we call it.

Yes you need to budget for vacation, just like everything else.   You have to set a goal on what you need to save in order to take the vacations you want every year.

Here are some tips and tricks on how we tackle our vacation goals each year.

Have An Dedicated And Automated Vacation Savings Account

We talk about this one often because it works great for us.   We call it bucketing our money and you can read about it in a recent post we did last month on the topic.   To make a long story short, we automatically pull money from our checking account to various savings accounts on a regular basis.   The saving just happens automatically without any thought.   By the time comes to book that vacation, we already have the money in cash on hand to pay for it.

Our budget is $75 a week through out the year.   That totals up $3900 per year by default.    On top of that, we also automatically take any bonuses or extra money that we get through out the year and by default throw that into that account.   But we figure that if we don’t get any extra money, we still can take a nice vacation for $3900.   The money is already there each year.

Make A Vacation Budget

You have to make a budget and stick to it.   There is no use saving the $3900 that I mentioned above if you are going to ignore all that and spend $7000 on the vacation in the end, leaving you with $2100 in credit card debt.

That is only going to set you up for disappointment for the next year when you have to pay this vacation off, before you can even think about taking the next one.   Budget first, stick to your budget and pay in cash.

Cut Back On Expenses

This goes along with setting an overall household budget for your finances.   Get my free budget planning worksheet to help you with this.  It’s actually pretty awesome I must say, as I use it myself.   Once you go through this worksheet and see where you are spending all your money, it will be clear where you can shave off some expenses that you could dedicate to a vacation fund.

Maybe consider going out to eat less often or that expensive gym membership you could think about cutting back on.  There are plenty of ways to stay fit without spending money.   AKA, a jog around the neighborhood costs nothing, grabbing the bike and hitting the trails cost nothing.

Earn More And Pick Up A Side Job

You may say Drew, I don’t want a 2nd job.  Well I am hear to tell you that you don’t need to go get a second job.   In fact, there are hundreds of ways to make a few extra dollars through out the year.    In a recent post, I laid out over 100 different ways to earn some extra income with side hustles and other sure fire ways to make some money on the side.

Just keep in mind that finding $100 extra dollars a month equates to $1200 a year that you could apply to that vacation.   So you don’t have to make much extra to make an impact in a yearly vacation fund.

I recently participated in a technology and work life research study where I earned $500 on and off over a 2 week period.  That went straight into our vacation fund without passing GO (Sorry had to throw the Monopoly reference in there for some reason…).

Sell Some Stuff

I guarantee if you look hard enough in your own home, that you will find something that you could sell and make some extra money from to put towards a vacation.

In a recent post, I dived into 11 places where you can make money by selling your stuff.   It just takes a little bit of effort and you could be socking away plenty of money for that next big trip.

Credit Card Rewards

I have a love/hate relationship with credit cards, I call it a healthy fear actually.   Which if you are wondering, that’s a good thing for you to have a healthy fear as well.   We talk a lot about the $75,000 + credit card debt we found ourselves in after we got married and how we paid every cent of it off to be debt free.   Don’t get yourself into debt!

However, if you can be responsible with credit cards and pay them off every month, they can reward you with a significant pay off, especially around travel.   For example, I posted a few months ago now how we were able to get accommodations at Walt Disney World for free with our Marriott credit card rewards.      We stayed on a Marriott on Disney property for 10 nights last year and it didn’t cost us a dime.   You can do this too.

Be sure to research out the different credit card offers and see what is right for you.   Some companies offer points on hotels or flights or even cruises.

Find Deals Locally On Vacation Gear

Don’t forget to buy and pack all your vacation gear before you leave on vacation.   Of course, if this is feasible.   I’m not suggesting buying large gear and attempting to shove it on an airplane.

Whether you are going skiing in Colorado or kayaking/camping down the river or hitting main street at Walt Disney World, you will want to make sure you have all your gear covered ahead of time.   Why? Because it’s likely to be more expensive in location of where you are headed.

For example, we bought $5 spray bottle fans for each of the kids to go to Disney in July.   Why?   Because it’s super hot in Florida in July.   Secondly, their spray bottles on property are $19 each.   I got 3 of them for less money that 1 in the park.

Plus, on top of that, if you plan far enough ahead of time you might be able to score used equipment that you can buy at a fraction of cost of buying new.

Instead of buying equipment, you could also look into renting the equipment if you don’t plan to use it again.

Be Creative In Your Vacation Journey

The first step to saving money for that next big vacation may not be the saving part at all.   If you are creative on how you land on your vacations, you may need a lot less money than you think to travel.

I wrote a post a bit ago that talks about unique ways to travel for free or at a low cost.   Some of the ways may surprise you so I highly suggest if you are open to being flexible and creative, that you check out my 10 Ways To Travel On The Cheap post.   You might be able to get your accommodations for free and meet some cool people along the way as well.

If you decide to travel by air, being flexible in when you land could be a benefit to your pocket book as well.   Take a look around the dates that you plan to travel because if you are flexible on when you depart and return, you flight could be significantly cheaper.

Also, speaking of flights, never book your flight on a Friday.   According to a study done by The Wall Street Journal recently, flights booked on Friday’s tend to be 13% more expensive.   Why is this?   Well most vacations are booked on the weekend when people have more time on their hands and the deals expire on Friday.   Don’t do this, book during the week and expect to save a little bit of money.

Set A Goal And Develop A Plan

In anything you do, you should set a goal and develop a plan, even if it’s a small one written on the back of an envelope.   Set a hard time frame that you want to travel and stick to it through thick and thin.   Back up from that date to now, take your budget and develop a plan to meet that date with the amount of money you will need to comfortably make that vacation happen.

Goals are important, especially for a reward of this magnitude for yourself.

By the way, where are you planning to take your next vacation?  We are targeting a cruise to the Caribbean this May.

 

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