vacation budget tips

Many of us had our travel plans put on hold in 2020 due to the pandemic. We empathize with wanderlusters who were deprived of opportunities to explore last year. However, a new year has begun and hope is on the horizon for many as the COVID-19 vaccine is being distributed. Alas, we may be able to travel safely again soon. With that in mind, it’s time to start planning all those trips you weren’t able to take last year. But before you do, you need to figure out how you will afford your travel plans. To help, consider following these four tips.

Cut down on spending.

It goes without saying that one of the best ways to save money for anything is by spending less. The same is true for traveling. Unless you have limitless money (which is unlikely since you’re reading this article), some sacrifice will be involved. That may include eating out less, being more mindful about recreational spending or even cutting out certain expenses, like unnecessary subscriptions. Of course, you don’t need to deprive yourself in order to reduce spending. Instead, it’s helpful to create a budget that prioritizes your needs, while taking into consideration your desire to travel. For instance, it’s unrealistic to cut out all recreational spending. However, you may choose to set a budget for recreational activities and avoid going over that budget. The same goes for eating out. You don’t have to cut it out completely, but perhaps you can commit to eating out no more than once a month, or only on special occasions.

family vacation beach

Reducing spending will mean less “treat yoself” days, but when you do spend, you can take it as an opportunity to buy things you will need for your trip. Just be careful not to abuse vacation shopping trips. Your ultimate goal is to avoid frivolous spending as much as you can. 

Create a travel fund.

Having a dedicated place to save money for travel expenses can also be helpful as you prepare for your trip. You can store your travel savings in something as simple as a jar. This option is nice because being able to see your savings grow before your eyes can be a motivator to stay on the right track. If you’re a frequent traveler and want something a bit more official, you can open a bank account. 

Finding a place to store the money is only the beginning, though. You should also figure out how you’d like to go about saving. Some opt to set a monthly goal of how much money they would like to dedicate to their travel fund. Others allocate a percentage of their income to travel expenses. If you have a specific trip in mind, you might simply set a goal for how much money you need to save by a certain date.

savings for travel

As you try to figure out what saving strategy would work best for you, be realistic and honest with yourself. For instance, the third saving method mentioned may sound the most appealing to you, but do you have the self-discipline to commit to it? To help you choose the right saving technique, closely examine your normal spending and saving habits. No matter what your saving style is, the most important piece is sticking to it. It’s very easy to get sidetracked, but remember your end goal. 

Rent out a room in your house.

In addition to spending less and saving more, you may also need an additional source of money depending on how expensive your trip is. If you have a spare room in your house, consider renting it out temporarily. College students, traveling nurses or even a friend that has fallen on hard times are all great candidates for temporary renting. 

Renting out a room in your home can be a great way to make a little extra cash (and a new friend). Before you do, you want to make the space inviting for the future occupant. Obviously, the room is the main priority. You don’t have to go over the top to create a comfy space for your new roomie, but consider what things are important to you in your bedroom and try to add those nice touches. Of course, your temporary tenant will use more than just their room. Shared spaces, like bathrooms, the kitchen and living room may also need some touching up. 

guest bedroom

Remember that the way we live on our own may not be suitable for a guest. Depending on how polished your living space is currently, it may not cost you very much to make improvements for the incoming tenant. If you don’t have all the money needed to cover the cost of upgrades, consider taking out a small home improvement loan. It’s likely you will earn enough money from the temporary renter to pay off the loan and finance all or part of your upcoming trip. 

Traveling during off-season.

If you are a seasoned traveler, you are familiar with peak travel seasons. Holidays and summer are busy times for traveling. Because traveling is at its peak during these times, prices skyrocket. By traveling during the off season, you can spend less and enjoy yourself more! “Oftentimes low season can start as early as October, and end as late as April for many European destinations. In Southeast Asia, off season runs from March to October, and in Mexico low-season is from May/June to mid-December,” according to Just a Pack. But what does traveling during the off season really mean? Well, in addition to less tourists, you can enjoy cheaper flights, food and lodging. You may see upwards of a 50% decrease in prices on travel-related costs. 

Greece beach

Traveling during the off season is not for everyone. Some people love the hustle and bustle of peak seasons. Parents are sometimes restrained by their children’s school schedules. Others simply desire a certain aesthetic in the background of their photos that can’t be achieved during certain times of year. However, if your priority is cutting cost, it’s definitely a good option to consider.  

There are many ways to make traveling this year a reality, and you don’t have to break the bank to do it. In addition to these four travel budgeting tips, there are many more that will help you learn how you can travel more for less. 

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