Travel can be really expensive. Even though you can save money on the cost of accommodations or flights (hint, Skyscanner), you still need to have the money in the first place. And if you have big dreams about taking a trip to Italy, Hawaii or Thailand next year, chances are you’re going to need to save a whole lot between now and then.
But your budget is tight and all of your money seems to be pre-allocated, so how can you managed to put another $1,000 or more away in the next year or so?
This is where saving money for your next trip goes. And there are a few things you can do that can help you figure out what you need to save, set up a plan for it and find some additional cash that you may be overspending. Here are our best currated tips for saving money for your next adventure:
Build yourself a trip budget and savings plan
Before you can star saving for your next trip you need to have an ideal of what you’re saving for and how much you’ll need.
If your travel goals are more vague such as wanting to take one vacation per year, there are two ways you can go about this. The first way you can go about doing this is you can set a yearly trip budget, for example perhaps you set a trip budget for $1,500 per year all included. That means every year you know you have to save $1,500 for your travel, plus it narrows down your vacation spots to places you can reasonably go for that amount.
The second is you can create a projected vacation plan, let’s call this the “five-year vacation plan” where you take a moment to figure out where you think you’d like to visit on your vacation for the next five years and plan out a reasonable budget for it. This plan is by no means the be all, end all. You can revisit it when you work on your yearly budget!
Include your vacation expenses in your yearly budget
If you don’t have a yearly budget yet, you really should. If you’ve never made one before and aren’t sure where to start, there are some great resources on how to make your first budget, budget tips and even a handy-dandy app called Mint that helps you track your spending.
Once you have your yearly budget, make sure you build your yearly vacation savings. This way you’ll be putting aside funds specifically for your travels and you’ll be financially ready to purchase your airfare and hotel reservations when the time comes.
Many people forget to include expenses such as presents and vacations in their yearly budget and when the time comes they’re strapped for cash and unable to make the purchases. Or more likely they make purchases they can’t afford. Neither is a great place to be in. But you’ll be in front of the game with your budget!
Cut your spending
Cutting your spending can be one of the most straightforward ways to save a little extra cash. So while you’re putting together your yearly budget, pay attention to your spending. You can do this by reviewing your statements and tracking your expenses.
Most people will quickly realize that they’re spending way too much money on some things like eating out or entertainment. Once you know your spending habits, you can start making adjustments. Think about it… instead of having that coffee at work, you could be sipping on an espresso in Italy!
Increase your income
We know, easier said than done. But here us out: If you find that your spending is reasonable but you’re still struggling to build your travel fund, increasing your income might be the best way to find that extra cash. Increasing your income doesn’t necessarily mean asking for a raise (though if the opportunity arises, by all means), you can increase your income by picking up additional hours at work or creating yourself a little side hustle.
While picking up my hours or asking for a raise are probably the easiest ways to raise your income, getting yourself a second job, often referred to as a side hustle can be a great way to bring in a little extra cash. No one is expecting you to design the next Facebook or create the next Buzzfeed, a side hustle like teaching guitar at your local music school or tutoring high school English is just as admirable.
It might sound like a lot of work to take on additional hours, but think if you can manage to bring in an additional $150 each month, within a year you’ll have an additional $1,800. If travel is at the top of your list, this might be your best option.
Use your credit card to your advantage
Using a travel rewards credit card (responsibly) is a great way to earn rewards that you can redeem towards travel. If you have a great rewards program for your credit card and use it enough, you can have enough rewards built up to help pay for your next trip. There are even specific cards that will allow you to partner with Airline loyalty programs such as WestJet Rewards and Aeroplan.
Cash back credit cards can also be a valuable tool when you take the cash-back you’ve earned and put it towards your travel budget. Travel reward credit cards also usually include travel insurance so that’s an additional cost you’re saving on.
Remember, rewards are never worth if you’re not paying your full balance at the end of each month. The interest charges will cost you too much!
Save money by comparing flights and hotels
No matter where you travel to, every dollar you save on expenses helps. Here at Skyscanner, we have 1,200+ travel partners, so every time you search for a flight, hotel, or car rental, you’re guaranteed the best price.
You can also take advantage of some of our other features such as price alerts, searching everywhere, and searching the cheapest month. These search tips are pretty simple, but they can save you a lot of money on your travels.
With these tips on how to save money for travel, you’ll be ready to travel without spending a fortune. The real question is, where will you go next?