Here are a few tips and tricks to plan and save for a vacation.
First, take a look at your overall financial picture.
Before saving for a vacation, you should consider your overall wellness and financial fitness.
If you don’t already have a budget, now is the perfect time to reflect on your income and categorize your spending. You may need to reduce expenses or pad your income with a side hustle. If you know you’ll need to put money away for your vacation, ask yourself, is it a good idea to take a vacation while paying off debt? Can you afford a surprise emergency expense?
In general, the answer is “it depends.” It’s called personal finance because it’s personal- it’s what works best for you. Consider the following questions from our money coaches.
How much debt do you have?
When do you want to be out of debt by?
How much will a vacation set you back?
How you answer these questions will help you determine how much you can afford to save. Even if it’s $5 at a time, it’s a start.
Open a separate account earmarked for travel once your finances are in order.
Why put it aside? Putting the funds in an account separate from your daily spending serves as a mental nudge to not use them. It ensures you’re actively working toward your travel savings goals and prevents overspending. Best of all, you’ll know exactly how much you have saved up for a trip at a glance.
Want to level up your savings game? Automate it. Evidence from multiple studies suggests you will save more over the long term by using tech to your advantage. Automation is autopilot for your money moves, reducing the risk of willpower fatigue.
Pro Tip: Create an Auto-Save inside the Nav.it app. Your savings is available for withdrawal anytime, and you can save for as many goals as you want!
Don’t forget to use windfalls, like your stimulus check or tax refund, to your advantage. You could also start a side hustle or sell unused items to get to paradise faster.
Finally, figure out your travel priorities.
Are you interested in lounging on a beach at an all-inclusive resort or backpacking through as many countries as possible? Defining your needs (like relaxation versus adventure) will help determine who you invite, where you stay, and what you do.
Pro Tip: Avoid overwhelming yourself. This isn’t your last vacation! It’s the first of many.
Travel saving hacks
Split the cost and bring a travel buddy. Make sure you have common interests and can communicate well with them. Your interests will determine how you’ll be spending your time. From discussing budgets or problem-solving a missed flight connection, an incompatible travel buddy might not be worth splitting costs.
Shop around. Comparative shopping is the ability to compare product prices across different retailers and choose where the product is cheapest.
Travel hacking. Travel hacking involves taking advantage of airline, credit card, and hotel promotions to earn free travel.
There are many various aspects of your trip to break down, but using these tools will help you get the most bang for your buck.
Weigh your accommodation options.
Booking.com suggests getaways but is also an excellent platform for price shopping.
With Airbnb, you can stay in a private apartment in the middle of a city or a yurt on the Pacific Coast Highway. The options are limitless!
Hostelworld is the best resource for finding budget-friendly hostels around the world. You don’t have to crash in a bunk bed; many hostels now have single rooms with private bath accommodations.
Stay flexible in timing your flights.
Try to score a deal using one of these platforms!
Google Flights – Price compare across different airlines and set up price alerts.
Skyscanner – Start your search here if you’re not 100% sure where you want to go or when. You can search “Everywhere” and get a breakdown of prices based on state or country or search an entire month for the cheapest flight.
Holiday Pirates – No matter where you’re based, this is a great cheap flight website. Be sure to check here for more deals.
While you could join a rewards program and stay loyal to the same company, you might reap better benefits by “hacking” them. After all, the fastest way to earn tens of thousands of miles for free flights without having to travel frequently is to sign up for new credit cards that offer bonus miles or points. Responsible credit card usage is essential here.
However, there are two important catches.
The first is that the rewards will cost you. Many programs have annual fees, and you’ll be responsible for the interest charges if you don’t pay your card off monthly.
The second catch is that there’s usually a minimum spending requirement to earn the points bonus.
You don’t need to be rich to take a vacation.
There are plenty of ways to travel on a budget (and for free). You just need to get creative, strategic, and intentional with your travel funds and money in general.