Home > Personal Finance > 4 Ways to Take a Winter Vacation When You’ve Already Blown Your Travel Budget

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Are you already missing those glorious days of summer, when your time was filled with sunshine and new adventures? You’re not alone. But, fear not, fellow wanderlusters — you can get that travel endorphin rush no matter the season. All you need is to decide on a destination and save the funds to pay for it.

“It might seem obvious, but it’s worth a reminder,” Clara Sedlak, the executive editor at online travel booking site Jetsetter.com, said. “Take a look at your expenses and find ways to cut back.”

Here are four ways to help you fund your winter vacation.

1. Scale Back on the Luxuries

Deciding where you want to spend your funds — whether on that cab ride home from your night out or on your vacation — is an important consideration.

“Consistently avoiding cabs when you could ride the subway and resisting the urge to drop $6 on a venti iced dirty chai, opting instead for your office’s Keurig, can save you loads in the long run,” Sedlak said.

2. Part With Items You Don’t Use

“Fall is a great time to do some housecleaning,” Sedlak said. “If you have a considerable amount of stuff you’re ready and willing to part with, try a good old-fashioned garage or stoop sale. If you have just a few things here and there, you can always turn to Craigslist or eBay. For clothing, try posting your wares on sites like Tradesy and Poshmark. If that doesn’t work, you can always pop into your neighborhood consignment shop.”

3. Separate Your Accounts

You may already have a savings account that is separate from your checking account, but you may want to consider setting one up that is just for travel funds.

“Having a separate account in addition to your regular checking and savings means there’s no chance of accidentally dipping into your travel reserves,” Sedlak said. “It also means you can easily set up automatic monthly transfers as if you were paying a bill, which, after a couple of months, will become so routine you won’t even realize it’s happening.”

4. Reap Credit Card Rewards

Sedlak advises that, if you use an airline rewards credit card to book your travel, you do your best to “book as early as possible [because] airlines make seats available as awards that they don’t expect to sell for cash. That’s especially difficult around Thanksgiving and Christmas, when planes are packed.” You can read about the best credit cards for travel here.

If you’re considering getting a travel credit card to fund a vacation, it’s a good idea to review your credit first, as these types of cards typically require you have a good credit score to qualify. You can see where your credit currently stands by reviewing a free snapshot of your credit report, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com.

What Kind of Deals to Look For

If you’re wanting to head out of the country, Sedlak recommends starting by thinking “about off-season destinations. Caribbean off-season runs through mid-December and most hotels slash their prices by almost half.”

If you’re looking to stay on the continent, you might want to “consider cities instead of resort destinations,” Sedlak said. “Hotel demand in the U.S. is at an all-time high this year, so rates overall are up. However, in many destinations — particularly cities — people often leave to see family elsewhere, so there are deals to be had.”

When to Book Your Travel

“The key is to start looking now, particularly for resort destinations,” Sedlak said. “Many hotels will shave off costs to get you to book early. If you see a good hotel deal, don’t wait … Travel fares will only go up and up as the holidays near.”

“Also, make sure to compare different date ranges for the best hotel rates,” Sedlak said. “Rates can drop dramatically from one weekend to the next. A room at a boutique hotel in Austin during Austin City Limits (September 30 – October 2), for example, can be up to twice as much as one in late October.”

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