If you’re on Instagram, you’ve almost certainly come across a gorgeous picture that closely aligns with a dream vacation. A moment in time captured by a friend, peer or complete stranger that made you ponder:
Wow, I’d love to go there someday.
We love seeing these photos.
We change the backgrounds on our phones to a beautiful shot of Bali. We get lost for hours looking at the vacation photos of complete strangers in Paris. We get lost in our own imaginations of what it would be like to visit Machu Picchu.
Unfortunately, for many of us – our imaginations is where these vacations start and end. We never make these dream vacations turn into real life experiences that we never forget.
Luckily for all of us, it doesn’t have to be that way. In today’s world, flights are cheaper than ever, information is more readily available and your dream vacation isn’t as far off as it might seem.
In this blog post, I’m going to share with you some financial tips and tricks that will help you turn your dream vacation into a reality.
Start By Picking A Dream Vacation
The first step to saving money for your dream vacation is identifying what it looks like. You need to ask yourself a series of key questions:
- Where do you want to go?
- How long do you want to be there?
- Are you travelling solo or with others?
- When do you want to take the trip?
- How much is it for accommodations?
- How much is it for travel?
If you’re living in California and want to visit Bali, that vacation will cost you more than a trip to British Columbia to see the Rockies. Similarly, a weekend vacation is going to cost much less than a two-week stint halfway around the world. You need to set a budget.
Asking yourself the necessary questions is the key to setting yourself up for success in making your dream vacation a reality. Most people dream about going on a vacation without actually calculating how much it would cost to take the trip.
Conduct An Internal Financial Audit
Now that you know how much it’s going to cost to turn your dream vacation into a reality, it’s time to look at your current situation.
Take a look at your monthly paycheck, how much you’re spending each month and determine how much can be put aside for your trip. Ideally, you will get to a place where you’re able to put away enough money each month to take your vacation without needing a loan or new credit card.
Let’s say you’ve calculated that your dream vacation is $2,500 and your employer pays you bi-weekly. Here’s what your savings requirements would look like to make this trip a reality within a year:
If you can save $96.20 every two weeks, you can make this vacation a reality in a year. If you can save more than that, even better!
If that’s not in the cards for you, it’s time to take a closer look at what you’re spending money on each month and determine what can be dropped.
Start Using Cards That Offer Travel Points
Travelling on points is one of the modern world’s greatest pleasures. I’ve accumulated plenty of credit card points for travel over the last few years. If you’re responsible for paying your bills on time and managing credit, a credit card that gives you travel points can be just what you need to make your dream vacation a reality.
Chris Guillebeau is a blogger and award winning author who has visited every country in the world and is still visiting 20 or more each year. On his website, he shares travel hacking resources that deliver quality insights around how he was able to earn more than one million Frequent Flyer miles and points to make travel a lifestyle.
Identify What Expenses to Drop
If you’re currently spending more than you expected and have little to save – it’s time to reevaluate your other expenses.
What little things are buying that can be scratched?
Is it worth spending $100 each weekend for drinks and dinner when it could be put towards your trip? Do you have subscriptions to products or services that you don’t actually use any more?
Take a close look at your current situation and evaluate what expenses are worth dropping today for the opportunity to go on a dream vacation in the future. It’s likely that you will find a few surprises in your spending habits or a couple things that you forgot you were actually subscribed to.
Xobi offers you the ability to get a quick and easy snapshot of where your money is going with a simple search. You just ask Xobi a question like: “How much am I spending on dinners out each month?” And within seconds, you’ll get a snapshot of your food spending habits. You might be surprised what you find!
One of the most significant and popular expenses to cut when trying to save money is your cable-TV provider. Americans are cutting their cords at a rapid rate given the number of online streaming services:
The average cable-TV bill is $99.10 a month or nearly $1,200 a year. Cutting the cord could be a great step towards saving enough cash for your dream vacation.
If you want to calculate what it would cost to make the switch, this cord cutting site from The Verge will help you calculate how much you will save depending on your entertainment habits.
Create A Side Business To Make Extra Cash
It’s hard to save money when you’re already maxed out in expenses. Luckily, it’s easier than ever to start a side business that can help you make a couple hundred (or thousand) dollars a month.
When you’re think about starting this new side business, don’t try to recreate the wheel and launch the next big thing. You’re not trying to create the next Snapchat or Facebook here; you’re looking to create a small business that will help you bring in enough cash to turn this dream vacation into a reality.
Because of technology, there are plenty of side business options available that don’t require brainstorming. Whether it’s listing your apartment on Airbnb or taking on a weekend gig as an Uber or Lyft driver – there are a number of opportunities at your fingertips.
If you don’t have a car to drive or a place to rent out – offering a service to businesses or other people is another great way to make some side cash. You can offer services like house sitting, baby-sitting, graphic design, tech support, dance coach, piano lessons and the list goes on!
Saving up for a dream vacation shouldn’t be a stressful ordeal.
It should be fun and something that leaves you excited rather than stressed out about what awaits you when you return. To make ensure that your trip is stress-free, you can embrace the steps highlighted here.
I hope you can use these tips to turn your dream vacation into a reality. I’ve leveraged a combination of these tips and tricks to travel around the world and hope you can do the same.
What’s a place you’ve always wanted to visit? I’d love to hear some dream vacations or some of the saving tactics you’ve used to make them happen in the past. Comment below!