We all have dreams of our perfect vacation, but once we start planning it out, we realize our budget can’t possibly afford it. When this happens, your dream vacation seems like it will stay just that – a dream. But with some careful planning, patience, sacrifice, and some willingness to a bend a little bit, your dream vacation could actually be closer than you think. Here are a few ways to make that dream a reality.
Make a Plan
The first thing you need to do is make a plan. Where do you want to go? When do you want to go there? Who else is going? You need specifics for your dream vacation so that you can more accurately determine the cost. Once you know what it is you want, it’s time to start planning out the details. Look up the cost for flights and hotel rooms, and any other expenses you might think of. Come up with a range of prices, and add them all up. At the end you should have a rough idea as to what it would cost to have this dream vacation.
During your planning, it’s important that you remain flexible. Sometimes, if you’re willing to cut a few corners, you can bring your dream vacation much closer to reality. For example, maybe you want to travel somewhere in July, but going there in May is half the cost. Or maybe instead of staying at five star hotels every night, you could find some more budget hotels, of even stay a few nights at a hostel. By remaining open to new possibilities, you might even find that you are able to travel for next to nothing. As long as you are not sacrificing your dream too much, you will still end up with an amazing trip, and one that doesn’t take you as long to afford.
Start a Savings Account
Now that you know how much you need, the next thing to do is start saving towards that goal. The best way to do this is by opening up a separate savings account – one that is solely for your vacation fund. One option is to sign up for another account at your bank, and to deposit a set amount into it each month from your paycheck. Any time you come into some extra money, you could then deposit it right into this account. Over time the amount grows, and before you know it you have enough to take your trip.
Another option is to use a service like Digit. Digit analyzes your bank account, and when it thinks you can afford it, it takes out a little bit of money and puts it into a separate savings account. It’s a great way to save without having to think about it too much, and if Digit accidentally takes out more than you can afford at the time, you can easily transfer it back to your bank.
Whatever method you decide to go with, just be sure the account is separate from your main accounts, so that you are less likely to touch it for other needs.
Bring in Extra Income
If you want your savings to grow even quicker, you’ll want to bring in some extra money. There are plenty of ways to do this, and which you choose will depend on your own situation. For instance, you could take on an extra job, look for ways to make money from home, or even sell your old car by searching for “sell my junk car” online. The opportunities are endless – the important thing is that you go out and find the one that works for you. Think about how much time you have, where your skills are, and how much work you’re actually willing to put in. The answers to these questions will help you to determine how to best in bring in some extra income.
Finally, a great way to help afford a dream vacation is through reward programs. There are now many credit cards that will give you reward points every time you use it, which you can then redeem for savings on travel expenses. Here are some of the best travel rewards cards to get you started. If you use your credit card a lot, and you have a good credit rating, this is a good way to go.
With a few small adjustments to your daily life, affording your dream vacation is no longer so far-fetched. Take some time to plan it out – including any ways to make it more affordable – and then put a plan into action. In the end your hard work will pay off, and you’ll be off on that trip you’ve always dreamed of.
Rachel Slifka is a freelance writer and human resources professional. She is passionate about helping fellow millennials find success with their finances and careers. Read more by checking out her website at RachelSlifka.com.