I haven't been away on a proper vacation in years. So when it comes to planning the perfect getaway, I can't tell you much about the best hotels or airlines. I'm not the person to give advice about cruise lines and tour packages. But you know one arena where I have lots of experience that can be applied to planning that perfect vacation? Saving up for it!
It turns out that saving up for a major vacation is much like saving for other major expenses: a bathroom remodel, car purchase, or appliance updates. Some steps that can help to sock that money away:
- Plan early. Preparing a year or two ahead of a major trip is not at all too soon. This will allow you time to save up and plan thoroughly.
- Set a budget. As with any large purchase, setting a budget will give you a goal to work toward. There are lots of online calculators for helping to budget your travel.
- Open an account. Open a savings account dedicated solely to your vacation. Make sure there are no fees and assure that the account comes with a debit card, which will be handy when you begin to book flights and accommodations.
- Automatically transfer. Determine a percentage you can deduct from your paychecks and have it automatically transferred into your travel account. This way, you aren't tempted to spend this money on other items, and it takes absolutely no effort to move it from point A to point B.
- Identify savings here and there. Have a change jar? Take it to the bank and get all of that loose change into your travel fund. Do you and your family members receive birthday/anniversary gift money? Save it instead of buying yourselves something with it. Cull all of the unwanted items in your household and head to Craigslist or hold a yard sale. You'll reap the added benefit of decluttering while you save! If you have children who receive an allowance, encourage them to get on board with the saving and contribute to the travel fund, too. It can be fun seeing what you can save as a team in the course of a year. If you begin saving as much as two years ahead, consider at some point putting the bulk of your travel savings into a 1-year CD. Currently, this will accrue 1% interest, which will cover some of the incidentals during your trip.
(Image: Apartment Therapy)