MoneyLife

How To Save for a Vacation (8 Budgeting Tips)

By Jessica Crosby
how to save for a vacation

Americans are spending less on travel. Between 2019 and 2020, the average amount of money that people spent on travel declined by 42%. The pandemic had a lot to do with that. But now, we all want to go on vacation. 

Even so, it can be hard to make room for travel in your budget. We are going to help you figure it out and let you in on our process regarding how to save for a vacation. Whether you want to travel internationally or take a road trip to the beach, a great vacation starts with a savings plan. Use these eight tips to save up for your next great adventure.

1. Decide on a budget for your trip

When going on vacation, step one is determining how to save for a vacation. Before you start saving, you need to figure out how much money you’ll need for your travels. Come up with an estimated budget so that you can ensure you won’t fall short on funds when it comes time for your trip. 

Here are some of the costs you should consider when creating your budget:  

  • Accommodations like hotels or other lodging options
  • Plane tickets, gas, toll charges, and other costs associated with transportation
  • The costs of food and drinks 
  • Car rental expenses
  • Any clothing you’ll need to buy like swimwear, special boots for hiking, etc.
  • Souvenirs to remember your vacation 

Do some research and calculate how much money you’ll need in order to comfortably enjoy your vacation. Once you have a good idea of how much you’ll spend on vacation, establish your vacation fund.

2. Look on discount travel sites

You can find vacation packages on websites like Priceline and Groupon. These packages come with great deals on all types of vacations. You can often find complete vacation packages with airfare included from 30% to 50% less than their regular price. 

Always look at the fine print to make sure you’re getting everything you expect and there aren’t any surprises. Additional fees are sometimes hidden in these packages so it’s important to double check the terms of vacation packages before purchasing them. It’s good practice to check hotel and airline reviews before you book, too.  

3. Find vacations you can pay in installments

Paying for vacations in installments has become a very popular option for many resorts and cruise lines. You can plan your trip without paying for it in full at the time of booking. Instead, you’ll make payments at different times leading up to your trip. 

This will allow you to take your time paying for the vacation instead of paying for everything upfront. In order to pay in installments, you will need to perform some financial planning since missing a payment could force you to forfeit your entire trip altogether. You may find yourself being more committed to contributing to this type of vacation fund because it’s a lot more manageable. 

Incorporate your payments into your budget and create calendar reminders for the due dates of your installments. If multiple people join you and put money towards the trip, encourage them to pay for their portion of the trip in installments as well. 

4. Save on travel and transportation costs 

Many hotels offer free shuttles to and from the airport. Often, hotels will offer free transportation for short trips around town, too. Call your hotel to see if this is an option for you. If it is, you will save a lot of money because you won’t have to pay the costs of ridesharing or renting a car. 

5. Save more in the offseason

Be open and flexible to different dates when booking any type of travel. Sometimes, traveling a couple of weeks before or after peak season could dramatically change the price of your vacation. You can also look into traveling during the week if it’s a possibility for you. Flights, hotel rooms, and attractions are often discounted from Sunday through Wednesday. 

6. Adjust your spending to save more

Now that you have decided on your vacation location and estimated the cost, it’s time to start saving so you can reach your goal. Figure out how long it will take you to save that amount of money you calculated as your vacation estimate.

Don’t be afraid to start small. Saving just $20 per week will leave you with over $1,000 for a vacation within a year of savings. Look at your spending habits and target areas that you can cut back on, such as a tradition of morning coffee-and-muffin runs or a happy hour habit. 

Start by writing down all of your household expenses for two weeks. Every time you spend money, record it in a spreadsheet, even if it’s a small cash purchase. There are a lot of budget apps out there that can make this easy if you want to track your spending habits digitally. 

7. Earn extra cash for a trip

Consider increasing your income and devoting the extra money to your travel fund if you want to reach your savings goal faster. Here are a few simple ways you can earn a bit of extra cash on the side while you save for your vacation.

  • Sign up for a ridesharing app like Uber or Lyft
  • Work for Amazon Flex as a driver
  • Sell some of your old clothing on sites like Poshmark and eBay
  • Walk dogs, pet sit, or house sit
  • Deliver food through third-party sites like DoorDash or UberEats
  • Request more hours or overtime at work

Remember to devote your extra money to your vacation fund and emergency expenses only. You don’t want to work hard at increasing your income only to spend the money on things you don’t need!

8. Stay on track and move towards your goals 

Once you’re on track with your savings, remember to monitor your progress and adjust your goals as necessary. Regularly check your travel fund and see how much money you still need to save before reaching your goal. 

Some savers find it easier to stay on track after creating a mood board to help them visualize their end goal. Pin a few pictures of your dream destination somewhere you’ll see them often, like a bathroom mirror or the wall by your desk. The goal is to keep your eyes on the prize! This will help you reach your goal of saving for a vacation. 

Get going faster by saving more with MoneyLion 

Once you’ve got a plan, it’s time to start saving. Create a separate investment account to hold your travel fund and help it grow even faster. This will allow you to track how much progress you’re making toward your goals and decide if you need to adjust the timeline of your trip based on your progress. It will also help you avoid the impulsive temptation of dipping into your savings fund.

Does your travel fund need a little boost? We have some last-minute loans that can help. Instacash from MoneyLion gives you access to up to $250 that can be deposited into your account whenever you need it. Better yet, it comes with 0% APR. Deposit these savings straight into your RoarMoney bank account as you continue to keep saving for a vacation!

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