If you are ready to get away from the daily grind and recharge on a vacation, you know planning ahead is key, especially if you’re working with a limited budget. Here are a few tips to help you save money for your next vacation:
Set aside funds
Whether it’s an extended weekend at a luxury hotel, a glamping trip, a trek to a family-friendly amusement or water park, or a flight-necessary getaway to a foreign land, it’s important to start saving up as soon as possible. The best way to build your vacation fund is to open an account dedicated to your adventure, according to Sarah Kuta, contributor to ThePennyHoarder.com.
“Set up automatic payments into the account, and with a little restraint, leave that money there until it’s time for your trip. Bulk up your account balance by depositing any $1 or $5 bills that you receive as change from everyday purchases. Funnel any extra money — like a work bonus or birthday cash — into your vacation fund as well,” she adds.
Investigate pricing and deals
Once you have determined the dates of your vacation, it’s time to outline the activities and attractions you and your family want to experience and of course, where you’ll be resting your heads after a long day of fun and exploration. With thoughtful research and a thorough understanding of your trip’s big ticket items, you can have a better estimate of your vacation’s total cost. Don’t forget to calculate for transportation — if you’re flying, you’ll probably need to factor in the cost for a rental car or the cost of your destination’s public transit fees, too.
“Block off a few hours on an evening or weekend for detailed research. Use multiple online booking and price-comparison sites to narrow down what you’re likely to spend on each major item given your origin, destination, travel times, and expectations for quality and comfort,” according to Brian Martucci, writer for MoneyCrashers.com.
You also want to have a contingency fund sent set aside for unexpected fees for items such as baggage and taxes, he adds.
Ask for a break
You are a loyal customer and the companies you’ve patronized for years should be reminded of your commitment! It may seem a little unnerving at first to ask your cell phone provider or your car insurance company for a discount or a break on your current plan, but the worst they can say is no.
“Be kind, but firm when bargaining with the customer service representatives,” according to Joni Sweet and Lisa Milbrand, writers for RealSimple.com. “Spending 20 minutes on the phone could help you come up with another $20 per month to toss into your travel fund.”
Take on a side hustle
The current “gig” economy has opened up opportunities for many people looking to earn extra money or forge a nontraditional career path. If you have extra time to pursue a side gig, it may get you that much closer to the vacation of your dreams, suggests Kuta. There are plenty of online sites dedicated to such entrepreneurial endeavors, which could be a great match to your availability, skills, and talents.
When you’ve arrived and are in vacation mode, be sure your hard work at saving isn’t obliterated. When it comes to buying souvenirs or splurging on gifts, have a firm budget in mind. You can always purchase a memento online before or after the trip, which can help you save, advises Trent Hamm, writer for U.S. News & World Report. Other low-cost ways to come away with a tangible memory of your vacation include taking photos and creating a scrapbook after the trip or collecting found items like rocks or seashells (as long as it’s legal to do that!), he adds.
Getting away from it all, whether it’s for a few or many days, is essential to recharging your spirit, reconnecting with family, and making unforgettable memories. These five tips will help you manage financial challenges so you can embark on an adventure with less stress and more funds in your pocket!