Traveling is an incredible way to experience new sites, cultures, and cuisine, but it can come at a price.
While you don’t have to stay at five-star hotels and dine at Michelin-star restaurants to get the full value out of your experience, it is important to create a travel savings plan to avoid being broke when you come home.
Plus, it’s nice to be able to afford a few indulgences that you didn’t plan for while ensuring you have enough money to sleep, eat, and get around safely and comfortably.
Saving up for vacation can be a struggle when you’re already strapped for cash.
However, when you make your trip a top priority, you can find room in your budget for travel. Consider these strategies for funneling more funds toward your upcoming vacation.
Create a spending plan
First thing’s first: you must identify a spending plan for your upcoming vacation.
In addition to expenses like airfare, lodging, and transportation, consider how much you’ll spend on food and activities. Add up all the expenses and determine how comfortable you are with the total, then make any necessary adjustments.
Once you reach a realistic total, divide that number by the amount of time you have to save.
This can be by the week or month, depending on how far in advance you’re planning. Having a weekly or monthly savings goal will help keep you on track going forward.
Open a bank account specifically for your travel fund and transfer money into it at the beginning of each paycheck.
That way, you don’t risk wasting money you could put toward your vacation on unnecessary purchases!
Earn cash on groceries and other purchases
You can earn cashback on everything from groceries to retail purchases using such tools as Ibotta, Swagbucks and Ebates.
It’s easy to justify unnecessary purchases for the cashback you can put into your travel fund, so make sure you don’t fall into that trap!
When you receive money from these sites, immediately stash them away for travel. Just don't go overboard — stick to necessary purchases so you don't waste money!
Start a side hustle
The best way to save up for travel when you’re on a tight budget is to bring in more cash.
You can find odd jobs through the “gigs” section of Craigslist or through TaskRabbit, if they operate in or near your city.
If you’re a fan of animals, consider signing up for Rover, a site that connects pet sitters with people who need someone to walk, visit or board their animals for a period of time.
You can also put your professional skills to work through UpWork.
Find ways to save money
Reducing your overall spending is key to saving money for your trip, but it’s unrealistic to cut out spending completely. Focus on finding ways to save money on the purchases you have to make.
For example, online shoppers should sign up for Paribus, a service that coordinates refunds when something you buy drops in price (which you can deposit directly into your travel fund). Flipp is a great tool for comparing weekly ads between grocery stores to find the best price on the items you’re buying.
And you can find lots of coupons at Coupon Sherpa for savings on everything from groceries to apparel to pet supplies. Don’t forget to seek out coupons and discounts for your travel-related purchases, too!
Rack up credit card rewards
If you have a credit card that offers miles or other travel benefits, use the card as often as possible ahead of your trip. This doesn’t mean you should go crazy with spending; instead, use your card for budgeted expenses like bills, gas, and groceries. As long as you can pay off the balance in full every month, this strategy will help you accrue rewards quickly to help offset your travel spending.
Eat at home
Dining out costs the average American over $150 per month. This is an obvious place to scale back spending to save more for your vacation fund. Plus, cooking your own meals is healthier and can be done on a budget. To avoid cooking every single day, make big batches and feed off the leftovers for a few days. Also, consider brown bagging your lunch so you’re not wasting precious travel dollars on $8 lunches with co-workers.
Reduce recurring payments
Look at your monthly expenses and identify areas to cut back. Discretionary purchases are obvious choices for the chopping block, though you can also make adjustments to recurring bills. For example, you can increase deductibles on your auto insurance (within reason) to free up some funds every month. You can also cancel or temporarily pause subscriptions you rarely or no longer use. Everyone’s budget and level of sacrifice is different, so make it work for you!
Sell your stuff
This is a good time of year for decluttering and you can make money off stuff you no longer want. Large items like furniture can be sold through Craigslist or Facebook community groups to avoid the cost and hassle of shipping. You can also create local listings through LetGo or OfferUp. For specific items like gadgets, compare bids from Glyde, Gazelle, and NextWorth, all of which buy and sell used electronics. Designer clothing is best sold through eBay or TheRealReal, while everyday apparel can be sold through local consignment shops or ThredUp.
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How do you save for travel when you're on a budget?
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