budget travelling

Your dream vacation doesn’t have to be a dream any longer. While it’ll take time, sacrifice, and self-discipline, you may be able to book your dream vacation within the year. This all depends on how much money you can save, how much your dream vacation will cost, and how clever you are with all the different aspects of planning a dream vacation.

1. Manage Your Money Like A Boss

Money is the main asset that you will need in order to execute your dream vacation plans. While the job market and economy are currently not in a favorable status to allow many families to afford dream vacations, acquiring a hefty amount of savings can be accomplished by making your money work for you. There are a few ways you can do this.

You can begin this journey by managing your money using a budget. There are many different types of budgets with tricks and hidden secrets, but we’re going to start off with a simple budget. This budget is going to be called a cash-only budget. This basically means that other than bills, only use cash to purchase your items. This includes groceries, gas, fast food, leisure items, gifts, and anything else that isn’t an absolute necessity for the household. If possible, you could even implement steps to reduce the cost of your monthly bills to free up extra money. One expense you could reduce immediately is the cost of your car insurance. A simple internet search would give you a plethora of car insurance quotes that might be cheaper than your current plan.

This cash-only budget can help you to keep track of your money in a visual manner. It’s easy to swipe a plastic card for every purchase because you don’t physically see the money in your checking account slowly being depleted. When you have the cash in your hand, you watch as it slowly melts away. This will help you to cut back on unnecessary spending and impulse purchases. You’ll want to visit a local bank ATM, withdraw a set amount of money from your checking account, and use that for your purchases for the week. This will help you to stay on your budget because when your cash runs out, that means you can’t withdraw more money until the next week.

A second thing you can do to help your money work for you is to create a special type of savings account in addition to your checking account. Use your main checking account for discretionary spending while a portion of your paycheck is deposited into a savings account. Many banks having savings accounts that will accrue interest the longer the money is in the account. You can also set up a direct deposit from your checking account into your savings at intervals of your choosing so that the money is gone from your account before you can see it. And you can’t miss what you never had.

2. Your Credit Card Can Be Your Best Friend

Although credit cards have a bad reputation (that’s entirely deserved), if controlled and utilized in a clever manner, your credit card can be your best way to acquire travel discounts, free tickets, free hotel rooms, free car rentals, and discounts on other travel expenses. You’ll want to sign up with a credit card that provides excellent travel benefits for frequent uses. Now, once you sign up with a travel credit card, you should be very careful because these types of credit cards usually carry a pretty hefty annual percentage rate.

Credit card companies won’t allow just anyone to sign up for their travel rewards credit cards either. You’ll need to meet some personal financial criteria. Mainly, your FICO credit score will need to be at least 700. Also, since most travel rewards credit cards have such a high APR, you’ll need to be in a financial position to pay off the entire balance every month. The best way to accomplish this is to make small purchases with the credit card. A coffee here, a blouse there, or a parking ticket here will allow you to use the credit card with such frequency that you’ll begin to build travel rewards but you’ll also be able to pay off the entire balance at the end of the month.

3. Calculate A Vacation Estimate

Before you can begin the journey of saving serious money for your dream vacation, you should first have an end goal in mind in regards to the amount of money to save. What you can do is use the internet to find the average cost of the plane ticket(s), the hotel room(s), the car rental fee (if necessary), and dining daily for the entire family. Once you’ve acquired an average amount for all of these expenses, you can then add in a cushion of petty cash for souvenirs, admission fees to tourist attractions, public transportation, and emergencies. When creating this vacation estimate, it’s better to overestimate than underestimate because overestimating the amount of money you’ll need will give you an extra safety net of funds if needed.

4. Prices Change With The Seasons

If you’re not a frequent traveler, you may not be aware of the fact that the time of year in which you visit certain areas will either increase or decrease the price of your hotel or resort stay. This is due to the fact that travel destinations tend to have seasons where fewer people are flying in to stay with them, so they have to utilize competitive pricing in order to attract off-season customers. This is where you will exercise your savvy vacation planning tricks to book with the hotel or resort when they implement their off-season sales.

This is also true with airlines. It is more expensive to book a flight that leaves on the weekend. The best day to fly out is actually on a Tuesday in the middle of the week. And while it may be tempting to purchase an airline ticket or a hotel room through a travel vendor website, it could actually be cheaper for you to book with the airline or hotel directly with their own website. Before you commit to a purchase, check the home website of all relevant airlines, hotels, and resorts to look at the prices they’re offering.

If lady luck is on your side, you may be one of the trendy travelers who finds a great price on a package deal. A package deal, or bundle deal, is when travel vendors will bundle together an airline ticket, a hotel stay, and a rental car for one low amount that’s cheaper than purchasing all three separately. These are rare to find, so keep an eye out for them.

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