“Let’s face it. Vacations are expensive, since you have to run a parallel household for the time you’re gone. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have a permanent home or apartment to pay for while they’re traveling. And there are the never ending bills that fill your mailbox….”
Most of us have to save money in order to travel. I’m always looking for a way to save up enough to pay for the deposits, rent, airfare and food. Then you have to worry about the cost of tours, admissions and souvenirs. Saving a little each week over a year or more will insure success in putting away enough money to fund your growing wanderlust!
First, let me tell you how my wife and I save extra money towards our trip. We collect pocket change and the occasional loose dollars and put them into a glass bowl. I purposely pay for things with paper money just so I can put the change I’ve accumulated at the end of the day in my jar. It’s usually a few dollars a day, and by the end of the week, I’ve managed to save 10 or 12 dollars. My wife does the same thing by saving coins and bills in her own jar. Once in a while, we take the money to the bank and deposit it, adding to the growing vacation stash. By the time we are ready to leave, we’ll have set aside another $600.00 to $900.00. It really helps when ready to leave, to have money saved up for your trip. This works pretty well for us. Of course we have other money saved as well. But this is extra money for those fun things you want to do while away in another country. You might want to try this and see if it works for you, too! Here are some more ideas that work:
1. If you like to stop at Starbucks or some other coffee chain, try skipping that expensive Latte or Mocha once in a while and saving that money in your change jar. It adds up fast. Or try getting the regular coffee (cheaper) and dropping the difference in cost in the jar.
2. eBay – I’ll bet you have a few things lying around the house that you’d love to get rid of. Things like last year’s clothing, your old watch or computer, software packages that you don’t use anymore, an old set of dishes that is (fairly) complete, an exercise machine that is now a place to hang coats, old pictures in frames that you no longer display in the house, tools, cameras, games, knick knacks, etc. There is always something taking up space that you can sell on eBay. Try it and you’ll see how easy it is to make some extra travel cash!
3. Part time job – If you have extra time on your hands, get a part time job for a few hours a week and add the money you make to the travel pot. You’ll see that it will grow quicker and you’ll enjoy seeing the balance going up in your account.
4. Yard sale – Same idea as eBay, only you put up some signs and sell things right from your yard or driveway. This is the preferred way to sell large furniture items that aren’t easily shipped. And don’t forget about your local flea market.
5. Coupons – For people who like to collect and redeem coupons anyway, this is an ideal way to save money on your purchases. You can put some or all of the savings in your travel fund. If you really search, you might find some coupons good for the trip you are planning to take (I’m thinking of Groupon and Amazon for some of the great deals they offer on travel). Be sure to subscribe to Groupon’s email notices. They have travel Groupons that can offer big savings.
6. Automatic bank transfers – Once you have a savings account set up that is just for your travel funds, you can set your bank’s automatic transfer feature up to move a certain amount each week to your account. Without having to think about it, you’ll be saving money each week automatically. It’s really easy and you’ll soon see a substantial amount piling up.
7. Tax refunds, dividend checks, escrow refunds – We periodically get small dividend checks and refunds from our insurance company and mortgage company. Whenever these checks come in, we try to save all of it for our trip. Save at least half if you can and you’ll be glad you did. And don’t forget to set aside a big chunk of any tax refund you get!
8. Dine out a little less often – If you eat at home just once instead of going out, you can save the difference and put a nice sum in your travel account. You need not give up eating out entirely. Just discuss how much it will cost to go to your favorite restaurant and decide whether you want to skip it and save the money instead. Most of the time, I’d rather skip an expensive meal out. I’d rather know that we just put away a little more towards our goal.
9. If you get a raise or a promotion – Think about saving some of your raise to your 401K and send some to the travel account. While it’s always necessary to keep saving for retirement, it’s also critical to have enough money to enjoy your trip. Having to count every penny and skip eating at the amazing restaurants you’re going to encounter is no way to travel. Don’t do that! Instead, set a budget for food and lodging and you’ll be able to enjoy some really great meals that you will remember forever.
10. Also save frequent flyer miles and credit card rewards points – Are you accumulating points and miles that you can use to get free hotel nights and airfare? If not, why not? The number of rewards cards out there these days is staggering. You can get two free round trip tickets within the U.S. just for signing up for an airline branded credit card. It’s easy and actually a lot of fun.
There you have it! Some great ways to save for the best trip ever! If you have some great ideas for me to try, let me know! We’ll get them listed here.