Right about now your social media feeds are probably starting to fill up with dreamy pictures of exotic locations, from romantic European villages to sandy beaches and resorts filled with smiling families free from their work and obligations. However, going on vacation can be too expensive for many households. The average cost for a vacation comes up to a whopping $4,580 for a family of four. Wanderlust can be so strong that, according to the 2017 LearnVest Money Habits and Confessions Survey, 74% of people report having gone into debt to pay for a vacation, to the tune of $1,108 on average.
The good news is that you don’t have to do the same. There are many ways you can quickly save money to pay for your dream vacation in full, without maxing out your credit cards. Money saving tips and tricks may sometimes feel unsustainable, but we have gathered some of the best ways to save money realistically so that you will soon be able to join the ranks of the #wanderlust crew!
Budget for a vacation
The error a lot of people make is they don’t allocate some of their monthly budget for a vacation and end up turning to credit cards to help finance their trip. However, if you decide to include traveling as part of your budget plan, you won’t fall into this trap. Depending on your budget, decide on an amount you are comfortable pulling aside each month into a vacation fund. You may need to temporarily forgo some expendable purchases, like eating out, new clothes or entertainment. But keep making payments for essentials like bills and rent!
Set a realistic goal
Before committing to a destination, make sure you know exactly how much your trip will cost. Hunt for deals on flights and accommodations and finalized your travel budget based on the amount you can realistically save before your departure. Booking accommodations and flights in advance rather than at the last minute can also save you a lot of money, especially if you are traveling to a popular destination, or during tourist season. Booking an Airbnb that has a kitchen so you don’t need to eat out every meal, driving instead of flying, and sharing your accommodations with another family are all great ways to help you save some money while traveling.
Find additional sources of income
If your budget feels too tight or if your vacation time is coming up fast, you might when to find a short-term additional source of income. You won’t be alone: more than 37% of U.S. adults have a side hustle, and it’s over 50% for Millennials. Depending on how much time you have on your hands, your resources, and your natural talents, there are many ways you can make some additional money. You can start your travel fund by having a yard sale, this will also help you get rid of clutter. Motivate your children to get involved by giving them a concrete fundraising goal. You can provide childcare during the summer months, which will keep your children entertained as well. Summer is also a great time to take advantage of the sharing economy by turning your spare bedroom or finished basement into a rental unit on Airbnb, VRBO or HomeAway (check your local zoning regulations first). You can make your space more attractive to potential renters by freshening up the décor and adding a stylish reading nook, or additional lightening.
Take a staycation to save up for a vacation
Instead of going on several short getaways, make a goal to save for a longer vacation. If your dream holiday is a bucket list trip to Europe or to take the entire family to Disney World, take a couple of staycations, and put the money you save towards your dream vacation instead. Staycations don’t have to be boring, and you may even enjoy them more than a getaway trip. It is the perfect opportunity to fall in love with your hometown all over again, reconnect as a family, and enjoy the simple life. Take out the sleeping bags to go camping in your backyard, catch up on that TV series you have been dying to finish, and relax with your partner and a glass of wine at the end of the day. When was the last time you had the opportunity to do nothing?
Cut out unnecessary expenses
The best way to save money is often the simplest one: spend less. Review your expenses and get rid of any unnecessary ones. This includes unused subscriptions, lowering plans you are not using entirely, and committing to reducing your convenience purchases like on-the-go snacks and coffee. A little planning could reduce your monthly spending and save you more than enough for a much-needed trip!