If you are reading this you are likely wondering how to save for a vacation. Travel certainly isn’t cheap, especially when you factor in lost wages and the ever-present rent that needs to be paid.
So, how can the average person afford to travel?
Budget, Budget, Budget
This should be the first step for anyone looking to save money. Keeping a budget will help you keep track of monthly expenses and help you identify problem areas. Keeping a strict budget will help you avoid overspending. It should be a reasonable budget though – trying to stick to an overly tight budget is the fastest way to give up on budgeting.
Open a savings account
Pretty much self-explanatory. Open a new account today if you don’t have one yet. My salary is deposited each month into my primary account on the 5th of each month and I transfer everything I don’t need to my savings account on the 6th of each month. Make a habit of this, not for the pitiful interest, but to protect your money from unneccessary spending.
Cut out unnecessary expenses
After you have made a budget (and stuck with it for a couple of months!) you should have a clear idea about where your money goes. Identify unnecessary expenses and try to cut back in those areas.
“You spend money on the things you value”
We all use our money to purchase things that make us comfortable and give us happiness. For some that might mean a big home in a good neighborhood. For others, nights out at the bar or nightclub. If you have a yearning for travel you might need to consider making big changes in order to accomplish your travel goals. It will take some deep contemplation, certainly. personally I would downsize to a smaller house, or spend my weekends at home, if it meant I could take that month-long backpacking trip around Peru.
Start drinking water
This is the area I struggle with the most. Over the past couple years I have developed a coffee/tea addiction that has taken money away from flight tickets. Think about the money you spend on coffee, tea, soda, etc, each day. Is it $5? Maybe $10 (2 cups of coffee a day if you frequent Starbucks)?
- $10 a day
- $300 a month
- $3,600 a year
If you drink water and put that money towards a vacation where would you go?
Q: How to save for a vacation A: Drink water
Pick an affordable destination
If you worry about how to save for a vacation you should look for travel options close to home. There are likely many vacation destinations located nearby. Chosing a nearby city or country will provide you with a travel experience without breaking the bank. When I lived in Southern California my budget destinations were places like San Fransisco and the Grand Canyon. Now that I’m living in Taipei I take budget trips to nearby countries like Japan and Malaysia. Traveling (somewhat) locally allows me to continue saving towards life-changing trips, while still seeing the world. In the meantime I will keep dreaming of a 2017 motorcycle tour of Italy.
Get a travel credit card
Credit cards can be a great way to afford a vacation if you use them responsibly. Of course, using your card to pay for a vacation is a terrible idea. However, if you get a travel credit card you can start to earn flight miles from your daily purchases. If you consistently put life expenses on your card the miles will add up. There is nothing better than getting a free flight to help make a trip affordable.
Live like a local
This is especially true if you travel overseas. Eating local food and avoiding tourists traps will be key to managing your travel expenses. Your food expenditures will be the most expensive part of your trip if you have a habit of eating at western restaurants when you travel. Local delicacies will not only be lighter on the pocketbook, but will give you a look at the culture as well!
I believe anyone can afford to travel. Your financial situation, age, or location have little effect on your ability to be a budget traveler. These are some tips that have helped me see more of the world than I thought possible. i would love to hear any ideas you have as well. I’m sure there are many tips and ideas that can help me improve my budgeting and travel.