Looking to get away? We all need a vacation every once and a while. When and where you want to go will not only determine the cost of your vacation, but the method you save. Your vacation savings can be time driven or location driven. For example, if you want to spend some time on beautiful Hawaiian beaches, but don’t necessarily care when you go, you’re savings are driven by location. If, on the other hand, you want to go SOMEWHERE next summer, your savings are driven by time. Each method takes planning to meet your goal. Whatever method you use, set up an account specifically for vacation savings. This could be an ING Direct account, Ally Bank, or a host of other solutions.
Location Driven Savings
If you have your heart set on a particular location, you’ll need to research the total cost as if you were planning the trip. Explore different times of year, especially the off season to save. If possible, connect with people in the local area or that have been before to find non-tourist spots.
While building your mock vacation expense package, be sure to include airfare, lodging, food, entertainment, and miscellaneous expenses. Total that number then mark it up 10% as a buffer. This number is your vacation savings goal.
Review your budget (you do have a budget right? If not, jump over to tips for starting a budget) to determine how much you can save towards your dream vacation and how much time it will take.
For example, you determine it is going to cost $2,000 for that week in St. Lucia. You can afford to tuck away $250/mo. That means you’ll be ready to take your trip in 8 months. As you get closer to your goal, check rates to make sure they are on track with your budget.
Time Driven Savings
If you don’t care where you go, but when you go then time driven savings will work best for you! Set a date for when you want to take your vacation. Determine how much money you can save towards your vacation between now and then. Project how much vacation money you’ll have by the time you’re ready to go.
For example, you determine you can save $300/mo towards vacation. You want to take a vacation in the next 6 months. So 6 months from now you’ll have $1,800. Spend time researching the various vacation possibilities within your budget.
Which is Better?
Neither method is better than the other. It is a matter of personal preference. The location driven method takes patience, but you will get the exact vacation that you want. The time driven method requires flexibility.
Personally, I use the time driven method. Usually I know when I want to go on vacation. There is so much of this world that I have yet to see….I’ve been blessed to always find a place to go within my budget.
Quick Tips for Saving on a Vacation
Now that you’ve know how to save for the vacation….here are some tips to help you spend less
- Consider a regional vacation
- Check out Vacation Rentals by Owner, Home Away, or Armed Forces Vacation Club for low cost time share rentals
- BYOS ~ That is bring your own snacks!
- Fly Southwest! One of the few airlines that are not charging for 1st and 2nd bag. If you don’t like racing for a seat, then spend the $15 with the upgrade you’ll save from baggage for priority boarding.
- Be flexible with your travel days
What about you? Does time or location drive your vacation spending? What other tips can you provide?