Saving money for your dream vacation can be challenging. You work hard to afford what you want and need in life, and sometimes there’s not much extra to set aside for the pricier “I’ve wanted to visit this country since I was a kid” splurges. But saving for travel doesn’t have to be as daunting or difficult as it seems. Forget auctioning off your firstborn for money—all you need is determination, flexibility, and the willingness to sacrifice!
Before you even think about traveling, consider whether your dream destination is actually financially feasible or if you’re setting your sights too high. Be optimistic but not wildly so. Once you’ve determined that yes, flying to Buñol, Spain to hurl tomatoes at a bunch of strangers is within your means, let the saving fun begin! Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Live below your means. Maybe you can afford a shoe shopping spree, but should you really spend the money on eight new pairs of heels just because you can?
- Organize your daily and monthly expenses into two columns: Wants and Needs. Slowly start eliminating the Wants.
- Open a travel savings account with your bank. Make a habit of transferring over a few dollars every time you log on.
- Instead of spending $5 on a fancy specialty coffee, why not try an exciting cup of drip?
- Cut down on restaurant meals. Cooking for yourself is a lot cheaper—and more gratifying!
- Reduce your utility bills. Take shorter showers, wash fewer loads of laundry, and put on a couple extra layers when it’s cold out so you can turn down your heat.
- Think about cutting your cable and gym membership. Local trails are a great (free!) way to get some exercise.
- Research travel credit cards. Many have no (or minimal) annual and foreign transaction fees, and offer great incentives and rewards. Some will include travel insurance.
- Consider traveling in the offseason when flights and accommodations are cheaper. In the northern hemisphere, that would be January through March. Traveling during this time can save you up to 40% compared to the peak season of May – July. The offseason in the southern hemisphere is the opposite, with a lull from June through August.
- Ask for cash or travel-related gift cards for you birthday, graduation, and other gift-giving occasions.
- Employ the use of the trusty change jar.
- Sell that pile of stuff you’ve been meaning to get rid of but just haven’t gotten around to it. Not only will it make you money, but deep cleaning can be so satisfying!
- Understand that you may need to sacrifice convenience and comfort to save money. Instead of a non-stop flight to your destination, it may be cheaper to book a flight that has a layover or two.
- Consider hotel location. Staying 10-15 minutes outside the city center can offer significant savings with use of public transportation. Be sure to research how best to get around before deciding which hotel is right for you.
- If you want to travel at a certain time, be flexible about the location. If you want to choose the location, be flexible with the timing.
Of course there are many more ways to go about saving for your travels. Don’t sacrifice what you deem essential in your life, but think about saying goodbye to the rest. Remember that the tiniest changes in your expenses can go a long way toward helping you save. Start small and make saving a habit. For tips on how to save money once you depart, check out go-today’s post on Everything You Need to Know about Traveling on a Budget. Happy saving!