Saving For a VacationTaking a break gives you a chance to recharge, pursue interests and explore the world outside of your community. Vacations have proven positive effects on our mental health and general wellbeing, too. How do you save for a vacation? Planning and prioritizing what’s important to you and then budgeting appropriately is the first step toward making your vacation achievable.
Focus on what you want
If you’re ready to plan a getaway but aren’t sure where to begin, think of the things or experiences you most want out of your trip. Do you want to travel or stay local? Are you looking for excitement or relaxation? Once you’ve determined your vacations goals, you can then start planning accordingly.
What’s your budget?
Whether you need to create a budget or already have trip savings in place, figure out how much money you currently have to work with. Learning how to budget for a vacation is key. How much, or how much more do you want to save? How long do you have to save it? Do you need to trim any other expenses to help you get there?
When do you want to go on vacation?
Are you hoping to go on vacation soon, or planning further out? The time of year can impact the availability of certain activities or places, or even the prices. Giving yourself more time to budget and save is beneficial, but it’s also helpful to be on the lookout for discounts based on the time of year if you’re flexible with your dates.
Where do you want to go and what do you want to do when you’re there?
Make a list of all your available location options and possible activities. Do these align with your budget and when you want to take your vacation? Look at recommended affordable vacation spots - you may find somewhere that fits your goals and is cost-effective that wasn’t even on your radar! Once you start narrowing down your ideas you can adjust other details accordingly. Remember: it’s about prioritizing what’s most important to you.
Do you need to travel?
If so, how? Research flight prices, or rates for train or bus passes. If you’ll be driving, figure out approximately how much gas you will need to complete the trip.
Where will you be staying?
Do you plan on staying at a hotel? Renting a house? Crashing with friends or family who live in the area? If you’re flying to your destination, will you need to rent a car once you’re there? Also determine how close any activities related to your interests are to where you’re staying to ensure you aren’t overspending on costs to get around your location.
Tips for saving for vacation
Want to know how to save for a vacation?
- Start saving early! If you wait too long, you may end up with a smaller budget or risk overspending (if you don’t know how to create a budget, now is a great time to start). Save small amounts of money on a routine basis (i.e. after each paycheck). Even $10-25 twice a month can yield a decent reserve of vacation funds. Setting aside your holiday bonus or tax refund is also a good way to save. To easily keep track of your saving progress, mobile banking can allow you to view up-to-date activity, transfer money and much more. Plus, no matter where you’re headed - having a way to monitor card activity and stop anything suspicious, like Card Control, can ensure your money is safe and secure.
- Shop around for deals before you commit—whether it’s for flights, lodging or activities. The more time you give yourself to research and prepare, the more opportunities you may uncover to save on expenses. Are your dates flexible - can you base your travel plans on when you can find the best deals or travel off season?
- Keep your savings separate to avoid spending it. A savings account set up specifically for your vacation funds can help you do just that!
- Saving for vacation can be as simple as bringing your own supplies. Packing food for a long road trip can save a lot when you don’t have to depend on fast food or grocery stores along the way. Take advantage of coupons, Groupons and other discount incentives that lower the cost of potential events/activities as well.
- Consider staying at an AirBnB or Vrbo instead of a hotel to save on housing. You’d also get the opportunity to hear about the area from some of the locals. If you are road tripping to your destination and have a pet, you can research pet-friendly accommodations to save on boarding costs.
- If you’re vacationing with companions, you have even more options to build your trip fund. Pool your resources, and you can even make it a contest among the group to see who hit the savings goals first. Throughout the trip expenses can be split and easily shared using P2P payment options as well. It’s important to be on the same page with anyone traveling with you. Make sure to talk about the budget and anticipated expenses to help avoid any unexpected costs.
Other ways to take a break and vacation alternatives
While most vacations carry some type of cost, you don’t have to spend any money for it to be a vacation—sometimes taking time off can mean reading your favorite book, binging a new show or taking an at-home spa day.
Instead of traditional vacations, you have some other free or low-cost options:
- Staycations can be well-intentioned time off. You might take the time to spend with your family or pursue a personal hobby.
- Go camping in your backyard, or search for local campgrounds and nearby national parks. Time of year and the weather will affect your options, so make sure you have the right camping equipment for the occasion.
- See some new local shows, movies or visit local attractions that you haven’t checked out before. You can stay at home in-between activities to avoid traveling and lodging costs. Depending on your city, there are most likely museums, art galleries and other “touristy” activities around that you may not had the opportunity to visit yet, or even known about. This can also be a wonderful way to get to know your city!
Saving for vacation can be a fun and rewarding experience. However you spend your vacation, remember that a great vacation starts with planning and prioritizing the things that are most important to you. The more focused your plans are, the easier it will be to figure out what it will cost or take to make happen. Regardless of your budget size or needs, prioritizing what matters most will ensure you plan a vacation you’ll truly enjoy. If you need help figuring out the best way to meet your savings goals, we’re here to help!
This article is for general information purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting or financial advice. Any reliance on the information herein is solely and exclusively at your own risk and you are urged to do your own independent research. To the extent information herein references an outside resource or Internet site, Dollar Bank is not responsible for information, products or services obtained from outside sources and Dollar Bank will not be liable for any damages that may result from your access to outside resources. As always, please consult your own counsel, accountant, or other advisor regarding your specific situation.
Posted: January 13, 2022