Affordable vacations can be difficult to plan. Maybe you have a dream destination, but you can’t quite save up enough for travel costs. Or maybe you can get yourself there, but you’d have to live on bread and water for the entire trip.
If your vacation expenses are just out of reach, a few adjustments can help you put aside more cash and reach your goal. Here are seven ways to save more for your upcoming vacation.
1. Start a Monthly Budget
If you don’t currently have a monthly budget, it might be time to take a hard look at your spending. Evaluate how much you spend each month on necessities like rent and discretionary purchases like movie tickets. Then, set a reduced monthly spending budget and put the money you save in your vacation fund.
Even after you take your trip, you might want to stick to your budget and keep saving.
2. Open a Bank Account
If your travel fund is mixed in with your general savings account or is simply a wad of cash under your mattress, you should open a dedicated savings account just for travel. It will be easier to put aside money specifically for vacation, and you’ll be less likely to dip into the fund for other expenses.
3. Stop Dining Out
Whether you prefer fancy dinners or fast food lunches, eating out is far more expensive than preparing your own food. Cook your meals at home, pack your lunches, and kick the money you save over to your vacation fund. It might hurt now, but you’ll feel better when you’re having a steak and cocktail by the beach.
4. Get a Side Hustle
If you need to boost your vacation savings quickly, a temporary side hustle can help get you there. You can drive for Lyft or Uber, rent out a room on Airbnb, or use your professional expertise for some freelance work. Just make sure to funnel your extra earnings directly to your vacation savings.
5. Sell Your Stuff
Spring is the perfect time to do some cleaning and sell your clutter. You can host a yard sale, take clothes to consignment shops, or list your unwanted stuff on eBay. If you value experiences more than things, let your old property help you get to your destination.
6. Ditch the Gym Membership
Ironically, hitting the gym to work on your beach body might be preventing you from getting to the beach. Cancelling an expensive gym membership will free up some extra funds for your vacation. You can still exercise outdoors, at a friend’s home gym, or make use of the thousands of free workout videos online. Before you do cancel, check your contract to make sure you won’t have to pay an exorbitant cancellation fee.
7. Get a Credit Card
With travel credit cards, your everyday purchases earn rewards that can be redeemed for airfare, hotel reservations, car rentals, and other common travel expenses. Many cards even have huge signup bonuses worth hundreds of dollars in travel redemptions. While you shouldn’t sign up for a credit card for a single vacation (especially if you have trouble managing debt), it’s worth a look if you’re already in the market for some new plastic.
Travel credit cards also frequently offer built-in benefits like car rental insurance, free foreign transactions, and trip cancellation coverage.
If you’re concerned about your credit, you can check your three credit reports for free once a year. To track your credit more regularly, Credit.com’s free Credit Report Card is an easy-to-understand breakdown of your credit report information that uses letter grades—plus you get two free credit scores updated every 14 days.
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