How to Budget a Great Vacation and Still Come Out Ahead
Sometimes it’s good to rethink the way we take vacations in order to get the most out of the experience, save money, and plan for the next one. In this post, we explore options to consider for saving money for, during, and after vacation. These are practical travel tips that you can do not only when you’re on vacation, but year-round.
- Plan ahead. Sure, this sounds simple and obvious. But really do it! This means, planning exactly (not generally), where your next vacation spot will be, finding out how much it costs, and planning to save gradually until you reach your goal. For example, if you plan to go to Destin, FL (see our other posts for info on this gem of a city), and you know it’s going to cost around $2000 for 2 weeks in a beach house, plus food and other accommodations, then plan to save around $200 per month for 6 months to reach your goal by the summer vacation season. Do remember though, that many beach houses require a down payment of half of the balance in advance to hold it, with the rest payable within 30 days of your arrival. So study the online destination sites carefully and plan accordingly.
- Start a separate account just for saving for vacation and pay for your entire trip in cash. I use the Simple.com goal-setting feature for my vacation fund. They are an online bank backed by Bancorp Bank, and they have many neat features that are definitely worth checking out including tracking your spending and specific goal-setting that will allow you accomplish your travel goals.
- Great Ways to Save for that Memorable Vacation. Part of the success of such a plan is in the planning, and the other part is in the “doing.” Little by little, you can reach your goals if you plan in advance and follow the plan. For those of you who prefer the “tough love” approach, please check out what financial guru Dave Ramsey says in the video below.
- Sell something you don’t need. Sometimes you’ll find valuable goods you can sell on eBay or other online locations for quite a handful of cash. This can turn into large amounts of spending money and vacation funds that will enable you to escalate your vacation savings faster than you thought.
- Pool your resources. If you have a friend or significant other that can pool resources with you, you will be surprised at how fast you can rack up the savings for future vacations. So get with a friend that has a mutual destination in mind and start saving those pennies and dollars.
- Refer to vacation and travel blogs and brochures often! OK, so you might think we’re just tooting our own horn here. Sure we like folks to read our travel blog! But we’re really just talking about keeping your goal in mind while you are saving for that trip you’ve always wanted. This is just basic psychology. If you keep your goal in mind, you will never be far from making it come true.
These travel tips are not the Holy Grail of vacation funding. We didn’t interview Warren Buffett or anyone to get his approval on them (though we do think he would agree!) There are many more ideas you can think of to save and plan for vacations. But if you have a savings plan specifically set aside just for trip-planning, you’ll be much more likely to meet your financial goals, and you won’t have to dig into your regular monthly budget to fund it. That means more cash flow left over afterwards! And that’s a win-win situation!