Expert Advice: Smart Ways to Boost Your Vacation Fund
Small changes that will bring you one step closer to that getaway
Everyone dreams of travelling, but seeing the world isn’t cheap. From flights to accommodations, travel costs can add up fast. But that doesn’t mean you need to blow your bank account whenever you set out on an adventure. With these six smart ideas, saving for your next vacation will be a cinch.
Travel booking: plan in advance
Being an early bird can save a bit of money. For example, Catherine Gabourie, a senior travel agent with CAA, suggests looking as far in advance as August and September if you want to go away for March break. The perks for booking a vacation package or cruise in advance can mean a room upgrade, drink package or free parking.
Budget planning: create one for your vacation
Start off by researching all the costs associated with your trip. You’ll want to look at flights, accommodations, attractions, meals, local transportation and spending money. With all of these expenses factored in, you should be able to come up with a rough estimate of your trip costs. Now with that number in mind, you can start saving.
Let’s say you’re planning a Eurotrip in a year that will cost you $3,600. That means you need to save $300 every month to be on budget when you depart. By having a monthly number to work toward, you’ll be encouraged to reach that end goal.
Slash expenses: spend wisely
Not automatically saving for a vacation every month may make it difficult to come up with extra funds for the trip. One way to cushion your travel kitty is cutting or reducing expenses, which will let you save more money.
Maybe that means you pack some lunches instead of eating out. How about your cellphone bill? Is it possible to renegotiate your contract to lower your monthly bill? Are you still using your gym membership or watching cable on a regular basis? If not, cut the services you don’t need and put that money saved toward your vacation fund.
Weigh options: consider an all-inclusive vacation
With the Canadian dollar still relatively weak compared to the U.S. dollar, there’s a lot of value with all-inclusive vacations. “Everything is paid up front in Canadian dollars” says Gabourie. “Your food, drinks, some alcohol, amenities, entertainment and non-motorized water sports are all included.” You’ll also save a lot of time planning, since all-inclusives will include your flights, accommodations and (sometimes) transportation.
Side hustle: work a little more
OK, working more is easier said than done, but how eager are you to travel? Check with your employer to see if you can get some overtime hours. If that’s not possible, you could look into picking up a part-time job. A side gig may—or may not— pay more than your regular job, but the idea is that this additional income will help pay for your vacations, or add an additional boost to your funds.
Collect rewards: use a travel rewards credit card
When used responsibly, travel rewards credit cards can be a quick and easy way to grow your vacation savings. Most premium travel credit cards offer a big signup bonus when you spend a set amount within the first three months of having the card. Depending on the company, the signup bonus could be worth a few hundred dollars in flights or hotels.
With travel rewards credit cards, you’ll earn points on your everyday purchases that can be used toward travel. Remember, these points are only worth it if you’re paying your full balance every month; if not, the interest charges just aren’t worth it. Also, many travel credit cards include travel insurance, which means you may not need to buy an additional policy.
Ready to plan your next vacation?
We have expert advice on the top four factors to consider when doing your research. Alternatively, one of CAA’s Travel Consultants can help find—and book—your dream holiday. Just call 1-800-992-8143 or visit a CAA Store for assistance.
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