Planning a vacation should be fun, not stressful. The easiest way to make sure that happens is to have your finances in order before you start planning. While you don’t need to have the money to pay for everything before you begin, knowing how you plan to fund your trip is important. Because travel is often considered a luxury, it is all too common for finances to stretch to cover many other things before prioritizing vacations.
Regular vacations are important, and you shouldn’t dismiss their ability to help you reset and boost your mental health. If you have a family, taking your children to new and different places will be some of their fondest childhood memories. If you are single, exploring the world enhances your creativity, helps you avoid burnout, and gives you a different way of looking at things.
Separate Your Funds
If you are serious about a vacation, you need to treat it as a priority. The easiest way to do that is by opening up a separate savings account earmarked for your trip. The money should be in a high-yield account, and ideally not at the bank you typically use.
You may be tempted to keep your money in the same savings account you use for emergencies or other expenses, but doing so makes it harder to meet your goal. Making the money a little more challenging to access, and being able to see at a glance how much is available, makes it easier to save.
Tighten Your Belt
Lowering your monthly expenses, and then contributing that amount to your vacation savings, is a great way to make regular, predictable deposits. Look at all of your monthly expenses and think of ways you can cut some costs. Because this money will be going directly to fund your vacation, it makes it a little easier to tolerate scrimping. For example, packing your lunches rather than eating out may seem a little boring, but knowing that you are using that money for a trip makes it easier to do.
Some cuts are easier to make. Some bills can be lowered by simply picking up the phone. Switching plans can often lower your internet, phone, and cable bills. Cut subscription services you rarely use. Look at refinancing any debt you have. Consolidating your student loans allows you to combine your existing loans into one. Consolidating at a lower interest rate is a great way to lower your monthly expenses painlessly.
Consider a Side Hustle
This depends on the stress and hours of your full-time job, but many different side jobs have flexible schedules. Ride-share driving and delivery services allow you to make your own schedule, but even retail employers are often looking for someone to take one or two shifts a week. Think of the places you go to regularly. Your local gym, coffee shop, or grocery store are often hiring. They may not be able to offer many hours, which makes them an unattractive choice for those looking for full-time work, but can be perfect for you. Deposit this money directly into your vacation savings fund.