How to Afford Your Dream Vacation

Posted on the 09 November 2015 by Lifecheaply
Don’t think you can afford your dream vacation? Think again…

With careful planning, you can make it happen. The biggest thing is planning ahead. If you’re able to plan ahead (or save ahead) it will be possible. If you know you want to go on a major trip say, in a year, start saving now. We took a 2 week trip to Colorado to go skiing and snowboarding. Our household income was about $60k at the time for two people. We flew out there, stayed in the ski resort, had a rental car, and rented some equipment. For 2 weeks we lived like kings. That never would have been possible without planning and saving ahead of time.

If possible, book your hotel or rental car ahead of time (like 6-12 months ahead). Sometimes you’re able to get a discount by paying ahead, though it does usually negate the ability to cancel. The idea is try to have the trip paid for ahead of time, or at least a start towards paying it off. The worst thing about a vacation is piling everything on your credit card within a short period of time, and then you come back and have to work to pay it all off. Try to prevent that. Figure out what you can book and start paying for ahead of time (ie: plane tickets, rental car, hotel, rental equipment). Even if you only get one of those items paid for in full before the vacation, that’s better than being hit with everything at once.

Try saving something, anything, to put towards your vacation. Every time you have extra cash or change, put it in a jar. Online banking is so easy now, I have several accounts with the same bank and can move money any time I want. I have renamed the accounts so I know what they’re for. When I have a little left after paying bills I can instantly move it from my checking to my savings account designated for our vacation. If I know I can afford to set up automatic transfers, I’ve done that before too. Even if it is a small amount such as $25 or $50 a month, it still gets me closer to my goal. Then I continue to move small amounts on top of that when I have it.

Don’t over pack. Extra bags are just going to mean extra fees. If you’re going somewhere for an extended amount of time, consider washing some clothes while you’re there rather than take an extra bag. Sure an extra bag is only $25, but don’t forget you’ll be paying that flying both ways. That extra bag will end up costing you $50. Want tips on how to find the cheapest plane tickets? Check out my article here.

When it comes to a rental car, stay as small as you comfortably can for several reasons. The bigger you go the more it is going to cost per day and for gas. You may also be able to get a free upgrade by asking. Unless you’re taking a road trip, chances are you’ll be spending minimal time in the rental car, so why get such a big one?

Prioritize what is important to you so you can spend money where it matters. We decided on our trip that we wanted to eat out most nights, but didn’t care to for breakfast or lunch. If you have a mini fridge or kitchenette in your room then you can fix some meals in your room and eat out when you really want to. We bought bagels for breakfast and had sandwiches for lunch. That way we could explore the local restaurants at night.

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