If you’re planning your dream vacation, use this financial planner to be able to stay within your budget and afford the trip of your dreams!
How to Save Money for Travel and Afford Your Dream Vacations
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There’s no denying that travel is not cheap. Even if you travel on a budget as we do, it still all adds up, especially if you have a large family like ours. And even though we actually spent LESS money traveling Europe for a year than we would have at home, planning dream vacations means you’ll be spending more than you normally would.
I’ve already written about how to save money for travel in general, but I wanted to take a deep dive into planning for a specific dream vacation.
If you’re saving money for travel to a specific bucket list destination, AKA the trip of your dreams, there needs to be a fair amount of planning and budgeting involved. Obviously, there are ways that you can cut down on the costs of your travel, like booking an Airbnb instead of a hotel and finding super cheap flights. But if you’re really wanting to splurge on your dream vacation, here are a few things to consider.
1. Start with a Budget
Set a budget for your trip and stick with it no matter what! Be reasonable with your budget though. You need to map out all of your expenses. Use a spreadsheet (I like google docs, but this travel budget template is pretty cool) and make a list of every possible thing you will need to spend money on. Decide where you can cut costs and where you might like to splurge. Here are some categories you’ll need to consider:
- Fuel if you’re driving
- Traveler’s Insurance
- Technology (wifi, sim cards, etc)
You should probably do this part of your planning months or even years in advance, so you’ll have plenty of time to save. Make saving money for your trip a priority. After all, you’re investing in your family!
2. Set up a Separate Bank Account for Travel
Set up automatic deposits (either with your employer or from your current checking account). I use Acorns to squirrel away money for travel each month. I saved over $1,000 in the last few months without even noticing the missing money! Learn more about how it works here. You can sign up here and receive $10 in your account today!
By putting aside this money it allows you to pay monthly for vacation in advance, rather than having to come up with thousands up front.
Only Use your Separate Account while traveling
This may seem extreme, but I think it’s a good idea to keep your travel money separate. This way you’re not touching it when you go shopping, but you’re also not touching the rest of your money while you’re traveling. This will help you stay on budget and not overspend. If you’re using Acorns, you can actually order a debit card for your account, which is perfect if it’s also your travel fund!
3. Pay for Your Vacation Before You Leave
Yes, you read that right. Pay for your entire vacation before you leave! Years ago we went on our first cruise. It was the first time we’d paid for a vacation in advance rather than as we went. And guess what…it felt amazing to walk on that boat and not have to worry about how much we were spending on dinner or activities. There was something so freeing about it.
One of the huge stressors while traveling, for me, is the cost! I vowed from then on to pay for my vacations in advance. Meaning I was using my separate checking account, or cash to pay for food and everything else was booked and paid for in advance.
4. Don’t Pay More Than You Should
You don’t need to be an extreme budget traveler, but be sure not to spend unnecessarily. Use these tips to save money:
- Find great deals on flights by using my tried and true methods
- Save on accommodation without sacrificing comfort by booking an Airbnb over a hotel.
- Be smart about booking your hotels
- Use trusted sites to book activities and save money.
5. Plan for a Buffer
Whatever amount you think you’ll spend, add 10% on top of that as a safety net. If you don’t end up using it you can put it towards your next trip!
I hope this was helpful and will get you planning for your dream vacation! Travel can be a big expense, but if you make it a priority I know you can make it work. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to reach out to me on Facebook or Instagram.