After almost a year of hunkering down, Americans are getting cabin fever. How can you make money moves to travel after Covid?
Here are a few tried and true tips and tricks people use when planning and saving for a vacation.
First, take a look at your overall financial picture.
Before you think about saving for a vacation you should consider your overall wellness (and that includes your 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 in the midst of 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 many debts do you have?
How quickly do you want to be out of debt?
How much will a vacation set you back?
However 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.
Once you’ve got your finances in order, open a separate account earmarked for travel.
Why put it aside? Putting the funds in a different account than your daily spending serves as a mental nudge to not use them. It ensures that 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 actually save greater amounts over the long term by using tech to your advantage. Automation is autopilot for your money moves, reducing the risk posed by willpower fatigue.
Pro Tip: Create an Auto-Save inside the nav.it app. Your savings is available for withdrawal at any time 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.
Or start a side hustle or sell unused items to get to paradise faster.
Finally, figure out your your travel priorities
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 you determine who you invite to come with you, 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 you’re able to communicate well with them. Your interests will determine how you’ll be spending your time. From talking about budgets or problem solving a missed connection, an incompatible travel buddy might not be worth split costs.
Shop around: Comparative shopping is the ability to compare prices on products across different retailers and choosing where the product is cheapest. There’s a lot of different aspects of your trip to breakdown, but using these tools will help you get the most bang for your buck.
For Accomodations: Weigh your options.
Booking.com – Suggests getaways but is also a great platform for price shopping.
Airbnb – Stay in a private apartment in the middle of a city or a yurt on the Pacific Coast Highway. Options are limitless
Hostelworld – You don’t have to crash in a bunk bed. Many hostels now have single rooms with private bath accommodations. The best resource for finding budget-friendly hostels around the world.
For flights: Stay flexible timing your travel. You’re more likely to score a deal that way using one of these platforms.
Google Flights – Price compare across different airlines and set up price alerts.
Skyscanner – If you’re not 100% sure where you want to go (or when) then start your search here. 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 so be sure to check here for more deals.
Travel hacking. Travel hacking involves taking advantage of promotions from airlines, credit cards, and hotels, and using them to your advantage to earn free travel.
While you could join a rewards program, staying 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.
There’s two important catches here:
The first is that the rewards will cost you. Many programs have annual fees. You’ll also 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 in order 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 all your money in general).