Intelligent Ways to Save Enough to Fund Your Dream Vacation
Money was probably never been dearer than it is now, and though the cost of travel has come down, it has nevertheless not vanished. Moreover, if you are traveling with kids, you may be thinking that you will never be able to have the budget to go on a dream vacation, as the costs seem appalling. However, like all financial goals, your travel goals can be met too, quite realistically if you do forward planning and discipline yourself to save rigorously for that dream vacation.
Once you set yourself on this direction, you’ll be surprised that there are a lot of ways you can save money to have a comfortable budget to travel to your dream destination. Moreover, you will be able to save a considerable amount of money during your travel using some of the smart travel ideas that can help you have all the fun without burning a hole into your pocket. Therefore, let us start looking at the ways this dream may become a reality. Actually, most of the saving tips that we will discuss can very well be used for any other financial goals that you may have, like may be paying off your debt earlier or buying yourself a house, etc.
So, let’s start looking at the road map that can get us to our goal:
- Setting A Realistic Travel Goal & Prioritize
The most important part of the planning is to set yourself a realistic target, getting a clarity of exactly where you want to go and for how long, and most importantly what sacrifices are you willing to make for the same. It is no fun planning a trip around the world when you are willing to or able to set aside only $1500 for the same. This may be a bit too ambitious or optimistic; hence, a careful planning and a realistic goal are the core to the success of your efforts.
You should be able to decide where you want to go and for how long, considering your work commitments and your budget as well. The other thing to consider is your personal preferences, like, if you’d like to stay in five star resorts or if you’ll be willing to look at the B&B accommodations and the other less expensive options. Obviously if you would not want to give up the five star accommodations, you will need to have a larger budget.
Another important thing is make your goal a priority, as this will help you have all the motivation to cut down your spending and pool in the money into your travel fund or any other financial goal that you may have set for yourself to realize.
- Assess Your Cash Flow and Cut Down the “Unnecessary” Spending
To start with, it is a good idea to assess carefully your monthly income and all the fixed expenses (large) that you will need to meet. These may probably be at your fingertips already, like your mortgage or rentals, electric car and insurance expenses. It is best to use a pen and paper or your computer to record these. The tricky part is then to assess all the other day-to-day miscellaneous expenses that you incur, those little ones that seem harmless by themselves, but are devastating when they add up each month.
Most of us have no clue about these little reckless spending that actually deprive us reaching out for our goals. There are numerous online sites and applications like Quicken that can help you set up and track every dollar that you spend. This will give you a much clearer view of where your money seems to be vanishing each month. If you are clueless at the start of the exercise, you should have a fair idea once you’ve keyed in the details for a few weeks. You may be shocked to realize how much that daily Starbucks cappuccino and lunches and regular dining out may be costing you on an annual basis, and the savings can very well be a huge boost to your travel fund.
All you will need to do is make some adjustments in your lifestyle, a few minor sacrifices, to make your travel dream come true. You could replace the expensive coffee with a cup of tea or maybe brew your own coffee. Similarly if you start cooking simple meals and carrying your lunch to work, you will manage to save quite a bit too. Moreover, not all these need be very time consuming, you can get enough help online to put together a quick, healthy yet tasty meal for yourself and carry the leftovers for lunch. Limiting your dining out and movies can be a huge savings on a monthly basis, and this can be replaced by walks and watching TV with the family can help you spend quality time with the family while saving the extra cash for your travel fund. In addition, to keep the motivation up for you and the family, keep adding up the savings and marking it for a specific travel expense, like tickets, accommodation, travel gear etc. For e.g. the cash, that you can save by sacrificing a movie and popcorn expense can cover your full day expense in a many Thailand destinations
- Prioritize Your Goal
You cannot let go of your necessary expenses and commitments but if you continue to have a lukewarm approach, you may not be creative enough to look at ways to save money while carrying on with your life as usual, well almost as usual. There can be some luxuries that you will have to let go, but it might be well worth the effort if you keep in mind the fun you will have during the vacation and the fact that it will be without the stress of having an extra financial burden that you will have to bear for months after the vacation. You can return from that vacation truly rejuvenated, as you will have no worry about paying back the expenses incurred, since your travel fund will be sponsoring your vacation… Aah! A truly liberating thought, isn’t it?
To make this effort more effective, carefully assess your true needs, separate from the wants, focus on the former, cut down, replace the latter with more reasonable options, and eliminate wherever possible.
- Save Before Spending
This calls for a mental shift in the way we manage our funds. Instead of spending your pay, check throughout the month and then keeping the residual amount as your savings, assess your budget and the amount that you can comfortably set aside and transfer the same to your savings account before you spend your month’s income. You may even consider opening a separate savings account specifically for this purpose and you can keep putting together the funds in this account to avoid it being mixed up with other funds and being spent on other things.
However, it is important to open a travel savings account with zero balance, good interest rates and easy redemption options; otherwise, you may end up spending portions of your savings that you have worked so hard for on penalties, charges and fees. Therefore, consider these at the very start to avoid depleting your resources later. To help you get into the habit of saving
- Reduce Debt Burden
In these times, it is important that you keep your debt as low as possible. This is needed for your general financial health and well-being. On top of that, if you have a travel goal or any other similar dream to realize, it is best to reduce your debt and keep your finances healthy, to reduce your overheads and keep your cash flow positive, it is important to assess your needs and spread your debt only on the most necessary ones. If you need to have a car, you could go for a used cheaper car than an expensive car lease. If possible, you could even consider using public transportation, which helps you
Save the cost of car loan, insurance, maintenance and fuel. One of the most important measures as most experts’ advice is to reduce your credit card debt at all cost. You cannot afford to spend anything on your card that your paycheck cannot cover and hence will attract interest.
- Reduce Your Monthly Overheads
However, there are some expenses that you will not be able to eliminate them, like your grocery or cell phone bills. However, you can really look around to see if there are cheaper options available that can help you save money. For example, instead of paying for a fancy Smartphone, you could go in for a less expensive phone that gives you basic features but helps you save quite a lot each month.
In the same way instead of shopping at the most expensive department stores, try to pick up your grocery from the more reasonable outlets that gives good discounts and various offers that help you save. Make sure each dollar that you save goes into your travel kitty, to keep your motivation for saving up.
- Reduce Clutter by Selling All That You Do Not Need
More often than not we have things that we do not need, but never able to look for that motivation to do away with those things. However, if you plan to put all that on eBay or Craiglist and add the money that you make to your travel kitty, it might give you the necessary push to get going. Other stuff that you do not need can be given away, to reduce the clutter and good for your soul too. The less stuff that you have the less space that you’ll need and you may even be able to reduce the rental by moving your home. For, people with long term travel plans, reducing the rental overhead by moving in with their parents or sharing the apartment with flat-mate or roommate can give a further saving avenue.
- Supplement Income To Achieve Your Goal Faster
If you are only a few months away from the holiday season, during which you’d like to take your family on that much-awaited vacation, then you think of increasing your income by making use of your creative talent to help you earn a few extra dollars each week by sacrificing a few hours of your free time. Either, you spend a couple of hours each day or spend a good portion of your weekend to make your creativity contribute towards your travel fund.
- Make The Travel Saving A Common Goal For the Family
Get everyone hooked onto the idea of pitching in every possible way to fund this vacation. Let each person, including the kids think of creative ways of saving. You could even let the kids save their pocket money or allowance to fund for things like an extra ice cream or souvenirs during their trip. Set the ground rules as to what all expenses the parents will cover and all the unplanned, sudden cravings can come from their own savings. This way you will have a more predictable set of expenses to work with (travelling with kids can be taxing on your budget) while instilling the right values in them.
- Use A Change Jar to Collect All The Loose Change
When it comes to having a kitty, every dollar that you are able to put together will go a long way in adding up a decent amount. As saving every bit that you can from your regular expenses, it will be helpful if you are able to collect all the loose change from your wallet, the kitchen slab, car floor that keeps being neglected. This can really add up to over $500 in six months time, if you and your spouse are each contributing $ 1.5 dollars a day! Surprised? Therefore, get into the habit of putting all the change that keeps lying all over the house, into the change jar, and even get the kids to do it to help you collect all that you can. In addition, when you take it out to the change machine, make sure you use one that doesn’t charge you any fees, or you’ll have to give up a portion of your savings…not a good idea, isn’t it?
Get the Best Out of Your Travel Kitty
In addition to these few tips, you can think of more and more ways to save money each day and keep transferring them into your travel savings account to help you stay motivated and focused on your goal. In addition to saving for your vacation, it is also important to do your groundwork and plan your trip well, so that you are able to save mostly on your travel expenses too. Here are some smart saving ideas that can help you get the best value for your money and you are able to maximize the fun while staying strictly within the budget that you’ve created after all this hard work.
- Plan Your Travel -To get the best offers and deals and to choose your destination well, it is important to plan, so that you have enough time to do your groundwork and shop around for the most reasonable flights and great deals on your accommodation. Most hotels and flights offer cheaper deals when you book a few months in advance. In fact, you could even choose the right destination when you have a few months on hand. Also taking a hopping flight instead of a direct on can prove to be less expensive. Some bit of research can save you a good amount, as these are expensive parts of the trip.
Visit during off-season and take mid week flights. Both these are going to help you get the best possible rates as far as the accommodation and airfare is concerned. Hence, savings again for that lavish lunch or an extra day at the resort!
- Check For Hotels and Vacation Rental Condos – These can prove to be as much fun though at lesser the cost. Try to register with your local embassy for options and help. You can even look for comfortable and reasonable hostels too.
- Get a hang of the local transportation system- Hiring a car or using radio taxis can prove to be a big dent in your travel budget. So, if you are in a place that has a good local transportation system, try to make the best use of it and the saved cash can be used for bigger family treats and adventures.
- Choose the Destination carefully – If you choose a destination, which is more expensive than your home country, you are likely to need a bigger budget and a more rigorous saving plan. However, if you choose a country with low cost of living, you are not only to get more fun within the same budget but also spend less than you would have likely done for that period in your own country!
- Look around For Lunch Deals- That will help you save the cost of your lunch. Also, try to carry readymade stuff so that the family does not need to go to restaurants all the meals. Getting a free breakfast with your accommodation can also prove to be a good option, where you can have a heavy brunch before you leave for your sightseeing and carry some munchies for lunch. This way you’ll only have to plan for one big extra meal each day