Figuring out how to save money for vacation can feel daunting, which is why I’ve put together this in-depth guide with everything you need to know. From making a plan and budget to easy (and practical!) ways to save money, as well as a few bonus tips, keep reading to learn how you can save money for a vacation.
How to Save Money for a Vacation
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Make a Plan
Before you can start saving money for a vacation, you need to have a plan in place. So before we go any further, let’s suss out the basics:
- Where are you going? Consider nearby destinations OR places with lower cost of living, where your money will go farther.
- How long is your vacation going to be? The shorter it is, the less you’ll spend.
- When will your vacation be? Consider going off-season to save more.
Determine How Much You’ll Need to Save for a Vacation
Now that you’ve got a rough plan in place, it’s time to work out a budget for your trip and how much you’ll need to save before you hit the road. Here are the main categories you’ll want to include in your budget:
- Daily accommodations
- Transportation to and from your vacation destination
- Local transportation at your destination
- Daily spending for food, drinks, and entertainment
- Any big-ticket, luxury, or splurge items (such as an expensive tour, outdoor activity, or experience)
Create a Place Just For Vacation Savings
Whether you want to open a savings account for your vacation funds or start a stash jar just for your next trip, the choice is up to you. Make funding your vacation as easy and painless as possible by making regular contributions.
So if you’ve got a savings account just for vacation, set up an automatic transfer on a weekly or monthly basis. If you’re going the analog route, make sure to pop in a certain amount of your cash to your stash jar (how cute is this travel-themed one!?) each week before you spend it all.
Easy Ways to Save Money for Vacation
Now that you’re all set up for success, let’s dive into the top ways to actually put away some serious cash for your next vacation. I’ve arranged these ideas in order of easiest to hardest, but they really are all great options for saving up, so I encourage you to try as many as you can!
Audit Your Subscriptions
Been paying for a service you hardly use anymore, or subscribed to someone on Patreon you’ve completely forgotten about? Auditing your regular subscriptions is such a quick and easy way to eliminate excess spending from your budget. Take a look at your last monthly bank statement, and see if there are any subscriptions you can trim.
Whatever you decide to cut out, schedule what you were paying towards that subscription as an automatic payment towards your vacation savings account, or pop that cash amount in your jar.
Eat Out Less
A tried-and-true classic for saving money. You don’t have to give up eating out entirely, but aim to cut back significantly. Load up on fresh goodies from the grocery store, and commit to cooking more of your meals at home.
If you’re overwhelmed by the idea of cooking every day, consider a subscription meal box, like Blue Apron, for a few weeks to help you transition into being your own home chef.
Entertain Out Less
Eating out at restaurants all the time gets expensive, but so does entertaining out. Grabbing drinks at cocktail bars, hitting the movies every weekend, going on expensive dates… it all adds up!
Try to sub out most of those activities with cheaper or free alternatives: like DIY cocktails at home and movie nights in. Activities like picnics in the park or stargazing are completely free, but still make for very romantic dates.
Sell Your Stuff
While there’s no need to host a yard sale and clear out all your furniture just in prep for your next vacation, you most likely have things in your home that you simply don’t use anymore. Here are some common items many of us could stand to sell and make some bonus vacay cash from:
- Clothes! Go through your closet and sell anything you don’t want on apps like ThredUp or Poshmark.
- Electronics: from spare chargers to unused tablets and game consoles, there’s probably at least one gadget you don’t use and can sell.
- Furniture or home goods: if there’s decor in your house you just don’t resonate with anymore, consider rehoming it and making some cash at the same time.
Become a Bargain Hunter
The best way to save money is to spend less of it, obviously. Here are some ways to do just that:
- Download the Honey extension for your computer, which will search for applicable coupons and deals for you every time you online shop.
- Clip coupons before you shop in person, especially at the grocery store.
- Prioritize buying things on sale—for everything from food to clothing to beauty supplies.
Take on Extra Work
Outside of spending less money, another quick way to save money for a vacation is to start making more of it. This’ll depend on how much you’re already working, but some popular ways for increasing your income include:
- Starting a side hustle: sell your handicrafts on Etsy, take on some freelance work, it’s up to you!
- Request more work from your current job: if you’re an hourly employee, see if you can take on extra or even overtime hours to increase your take-home pay.
- Take on a seasonal or part-time job.
Make Budget Cuts You Can Stick To
Outside of these ideas for saving money for a vacation, you can develop a custom plan for cutting down your spending so that you can save more. Everybody’s different, so take a look at your last few months’ of spending and see where your money is going. Figure out where you can trim the fat, but try not to be too hard on yourself.
If you force yourself to not eat out, entertain out, or buy anything besides food and essentials for the next few months until your vacation, you’re just going to burn out. Focus on creating a sustainable and comfortable saving system that works for your lifestyle.
Bonus Tips to Make Your Money Stretch Further on a Vacation
Following the steps above will have you set up with a healthy vacation fund in no time. But before you go, here are a few bonus tips for stretching your money even farther… completely free of charge!
- If possible, put some of your tax refund towards your vacation fund.
- Set price alerts for flights and other deals.
- Use credit card points to help pay for parts of your vacation.
- Once on vacation, keep those deal-hunting skills sharp by using coupons and looking for sales and other good deals like prix-fixe menus, happy hours, and discounted tickets.
I hope this guide on how to save money for a vacation helps you to have the vacation of your dreams! Tell me, where are you planning to travel next, and what are your favorite tips for saving up for vacay? Drop a comment or send me a DM on Instagram!
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