This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson. Holly is a wife, mother of two, and frugal lifestyle enthusiast. She is the co-founder of Club Thrifty and a staff writer at Get Rich Slowly and Frugal Travel Guy. Check out more of her super awesome skills at clubthrifty.com. If you’re interested in writing for Vosa contact us here.
For most people with kids, the past few weeks have offered a welcome respite from school, also known as Spring Break. That means that a lot of families have packed up their belongings and headed south, away from the cold weather and toward warm beaches and sunshine. And I can’t blame them. Still, it’s been slightly painful watching so many people leave town to do something fun, when I’ve been stuck up here in the rain and cold. Fortunately, my own vacation is coming up in two short weeks and I’m taking my family to the beach. I cannot wait!
But we haven’t always been able to go on so many trips. In fact, just a few years ago we would’ve never had the money to do the things that we do now. Why? Because we didn’t save. We didn’t make vacation a priority. We didn’t realize how much it really mattered.
But, somewhere along the line, we finally realized that we were missing out and began making our family vacations a priority. Then, once we became debt-free, we started taking multiple trips per year. Want to do the same? Here’s how:
Start a Separate Vacation Fund
Actually taking the time to start a separate vacation fund is a crucial part of making it work. This means setting up a new savings account that earns as much interest as possible, and keeping it entirely separate from your regular savings. It’s important to keep it separate so it doesn’t end up getting spent or being sacrificed for other goals.
Make Automatic Contributions
Want your vacation fund to grow? Set up automatic contributions with your bank or credit union that take place on each payday, or once a month. Making it automatic will force you to save without even realizing it and allow your vacation fund to grow.
Here is a guide Brent wrote on setting up an automated savings plan for his 2014 Christmas budget. The steps are exactly the same to set up an automated savings plan for your next vacation.
Raise More Funds
Saving for a vacation might mean sacrificing somewhere else. So, to raise more funds, see what things you might be able to sell. Take on a part-time job, or spend more time on your side hustle. It might also be wise to pick up overtime at work if you can, at least for a while. It all adds up.
Look For Ways to Save
Once you start saving for the perfect trip, it’s important to look for ways to make that money stretch. First, ask yourself what kind of trip you want. A trip to the mountains? A beach getaway? The deals you look for will depend entirely on your goals. So check out deals on sites like Expedia.com, Travelocity.com, and Priceline.com. You can also rent condos all over the world directly from the owner through sites like AirBNB.com and VRBO.com.
Pursue Travel Rewards
One way to make your vacation money stretch as far as it can go is to sign up for lucrative travel rewards through certain rewards credit cards. Take the Barclay Arrival World MasterCard, for example. The Barclay Arrival card offers a 40,000 point bonus after you spend $3,000 on the card within three months, plus 2 points per dollar spent. That equals out to 46,000 points or $460 that can be redeemed for flights, hotel stays, or more. Better yet, get your spouse to sign up for one as well and you could score $920 in travel credit. In most cases, that’s enough to pay your lodging bill for a long weekend, or even a week away.
So, what are you waiting for? Saving for vacation is the best way to ensure that you’ll actually get to go on one, and the longer you wait, the less likely it is to happen. Just remember, the perfect vacation is one that is actually paid for, and not put on credit.
What is your favorite way to save for vacation? Where are you going this year?