Ever find yourself wishing you could jet off to some exotic location, only to remind yourself that you can’t afford such a luxury? Well, traveling might cost quite a bit, but if you’re careful, trips to beautiful and exciting places can be a lot more doable than you might think.
Create a “Travel Fund”
The first thing you need to do is set a goal that you can consistently work towards. Plan your ideal trip and estimate how much each aspect of it will cost, including tours, food, flights, and accommodations. Try to be generous in your estimations since it’s always better to end up spending less than you anticipated, not more. Once you’ve got an idea of the financial cost, figure out how much you need to save to make that trip a reality. Set short-term savings goals by putting aside little bits every month. For instance, let’s say you’re taking a year to save for a $1,500 trip. That means setting aside $125 a month.
You might want to consider opening a savings account specifically for traveling. Label it as “My Getaway Fund” or something, and each month, set up an automatic deposit into the account. You’ll be surprised how easily you can get along without that extra $100 if you budget diligently.
Avoid Unnecessarily Spending Money
If you’re trying to put aside money each month for vacations, then you’re probably going to have to make budget cuts in other areas. Your housing and car payments might not be negotiable, but you can control your spending to some extent. Try to avoid dipping into your potential trip money by cutting back on expensive meals and unnecessary shopping. Sure, that new shirt from Urban Outfitters looks cute right now, but would you trade it for a $50 tour of the Grand Canyon? Or what about the $5 drink you buy three times a week? After a month, that’s more than $60 that you now can’t put towards a plane ticket. Stay in a saving mindset, and consistently remind yourself that each dollar counts.
Look Into Travel Credit Cards
You spend your money via a credit card every day, so why not try to use one that rewards you with air miles or hotel points? If you’re smart about your card utilization, you can earn quite a few free plane tickets and maybe even some cash. Not sure what card would be a good fit for you? There are plenty of travelers out there who have discovered the best cards for the job, and they’re more than willing to help you decide. The best part is that most travel cards have big sign-up bonuses, which will get you closer to a free flight almost immediately.
Ditch the Fees You Don’t Need
Honestly, who really uses cable anymore? With Netflix, Hulu, and many other legal ways of streaming television, there’s no need to shell out the money for cable television. You can also probably ditch your landline phone since most Americans only use their mobile phones now. Really look at where all of your money is going each month, and decide if there are some cuts you can make.
Sign Up for Airline and Travel Newsletters
As soon as you decide where you want to go, start researching different flights and activities. Visit various websites and subscribe to their updates. This way, you’ll be updated as soon as any kind of discount or sale happens. You’d be surprised how often airlines offer promotions, and hotels often offer low prices if you book in advance.
Sell What You Can
Don’t freak out. I’m not telling you to give up your car or go TV-less. In fact, your lifestyle really doesn’t have to change that much. Simply pick one area of your home each month and go through it. Let’s say you start with your closet: if you find ten items of clothing you don’t want, places like Plato’s Closet will give you as much as $30 for your unwanted pieces. By getting rid of the things you never use, you’ll put a little extra moolah in your account and clear out some clutter in your house. It’s really a win-win.
See, not that bad, right? Don't you think it's time to start saving for that trip you've always dreamed about?