7 Things Frequent Travelers Doing to Save Money for Vacations
One of the first things I did a full time job 43 full-time job—or rather, when I got my first paycheck from that full-time job—was sit down and make a budget. Once I accounted for rent, bills, groceries, and other necessary expenses, I ended up with a little money left over. I moved most of it into my emergency savings account, and split the rest between dinners out, drinks, and clothing. And then I realized I had not made any room in my budget for travel.
Valuing travel is a no-brainer for me, but finding ways to save money for it is less of one. Once I take care of the necessary expenses and emergency savings, I'm left with only a small pile of cash-and it's much easier to spend it on immediately gratifying purchases (a night out, a new dress, etc.) than it is to save it for some amorphous future trip .
Needless to say, I still have not found the right balance. But there are plenty of people who have-and who have been so thoroughly mastered by the budgeting-for-the-travel challenge that they manage to plan and take several trips a year. Here, these experts share. Step one: Decide that travel is a priority you want to (and can) save for. Step two: Get creative.
1. Use apps like Digit and Qapital to save money for vacations without even realizing it.
" I use Digit to skim money off the top of my checking account. You barely know it's operating, because it does not take money out of large increments-and you know it, you have $ 1,000 saved! " -Carolyn Scott-Hamilton, 40, a travel blogger who spends half the year traveling
" I use Qapital to save money for trips. It automatically rounds all my debit spending to the nearest $ 5 and puts the extra money in a savings account I've earmarked for travel. So when I spend $ 21.95 on sheet masks, the app rounds up to $ 25 and puts that $ 3.05 into my travel account. You can change the rounding amount from $ 5 to something else based on your goals. But the savings really add up, and the process is totally out-of-sight, out-of-mind. " -Megan Wood, 34, an international hotel inspector who travels once or twice a month
2. Set aside money each month in a designated trip travel savings account.
"My partner and I set aside 5-10 percent of our combined monthly income and put it into our 'travel fund.' We also take any change or $ 1 bills we have on us and put them in the metaphorical bucket, as well. It might not seem like a lot, but it adds up fast; we managed to save up several hundred dollars. " -Krysten Dornik, 30, a food blogger who took 22 trips last year
"I set aside $ 500 to put into my travel savings account each month. This is separate from my regular savings account, so I never feel guilty for using it to travel-that's what it's there for! My regular savings cover emergency expenses that arise, so I have never got to dip into my travel fund for stuff like new tires or medical bills. " -Stephanie Miller, 37, a travel blogger who travels at least once a month
"Take a look at your credit card's end-of-year statement. Divide that total cost by 12, and put that amount into your savings account every month-the same way you would for a car payment or mortgage. " -Louisa Gehring, 32, a luxury travel adviser who has taken 11 trips in the last year
3. Borrow the clothes you need for upcoming trips, instead of buying them.
"Clothing costs can really add up before a trip, so I can borrow, rather than buying new stuff . " -Megan Trivelli, 29, a senior account executive at a PR firm who travels once every few months
4. Dine out less at home-so you can dine out more on vacation.
"If there's a trip I want to save up for, I try to cut down on what I call 'latte factor' expenses-coffees and meals out. I try to bring my lunch and meal prep as much as possible. And when tempted, I ask myself whether that soggy Caesar salad is really worth the $ 13 I'd spend on it. (It never is.) " -Megan Trivelli
" I try to only eat out on Saturday nights (and the occasional Friday night, too). " -Latifah Al-Hazza, 25, a freelance travel journalist who takes at least four trips a year
5. Designate certain income streams as being "for travel" only.
"My partner and I rent our home on Airbnb when we travel to make a little extra money. Sometimes, we make so much that our Airbnb revenue covers the costs of lodging where we're traveling. " -Jamie Harper, 36, a family travel blogger who takes about 20 trips a year
" I'm doing the money from any side projects. When I work for a day, I'm in the middle of a job. After six months of doing this, I managed to save enough to fund a three-week trip to South America-and still have money for a trip to Europe this fall. It keeps me motivated to stay on top of my side hustles, because I know the money is going towards something I love (meanwhile my full-time job can cover costs and other necessary expenses). " -Catherine Ryan Gregory , 34, a travel blogger who takes at least one trip a month
"My partner and I put our end-of-year bonuses." -Lori LeRoy, 45, a travel blogger who takes at least six trips a year
"I work as a speaker, and I earmark money from specific clients to fund vacations. Whatever income I gain from those clients, I use for travel. I usually use different clients each year, and some vacations are just (by necessity) less expensive than others. " -Laurie Richards, 55, a public speaker who is constantly traveling
6. Save up as many miles as you can and use them wisely.
" I have a Chase United card that gives me one air mile for every dollar I spend. After letting your miles, you can pay for the 101-110 flights. 102 flights in full (17,500 miles gives you a free national flight, and 30,000 miles gives you a free international flight). Since I’m a frequent traveler—and since I’m good about paying my credit card bill every month—this works really well for me.” -Alexa Johnson, 26, a PR manager at a travel and tourism bureau who takes four or five trips each year
"I try to put miles I've saved to multiple economy flights, instead of of one, more expensive first class flight." -Kim Kessler, 43 , a PR representative who spends about five months each year traveling
7. Put travel experiences higher on your priority list.
" I used to spend a lot of my money on clothes, bags, and shoes, but I’ve recently made the decision to spend less on material things and more on travel. I’ve been using a site called Material World to sell some of the expensive clothes and accessories that have been accumulating in my closet, and I've poured all the proceeds into my travel budget. " -Tania Elliott , 35, an allergist who loves to travel and takes about 15 trips a year