Traveling costs money, from plane fare to hotels, rental cars, tickets to attractions and more. Start saving early for vacation so traveling in style doesn’t cramp your style later. Research your trip and learn the true costs involved. Don’t forget things like passports and visa fees, checked luggage fees, and tips at restaurants. Prioritize activities on your vacation plan, in case savings come up short and you need to cut something. Make saving for travel your main priority after you take care of necessities.
Start a vacation savings account, and have some of every paycheck deposited into this account. Also, get a piggy bank or a change jar. Add all your leftover change every day.
Budget every dollar you earn and every penny you spend. Get help through sites like Mint.com, or learn to use simple budgeting software like Quicken. Track every expense for a month, then review your spending and figure out where to make changes. Make a plan you can live with and then stick to it.
Pay down debt
Pay down the credit card with the highest interest rate first. Roll that payment amount into the next highest when the first card is paid in full. Repeat with every card until you have all $0.00 balances. You may need those cards on vacation. Try transferring balances to zero-interest cards, or to cards offering travel mile rewards and perks.
Get freebies, rewards and incentives
Get frequent shopper cards at all your favorite shops and use them to save more – such as saving on gas with shopper rewards points. Put all your expenses on a rewards credit card, and pay the bill in full every month. Airlines and hotels offer rewards card programs, and you can earn enough points in a year to pay for plane fare. Use the rewards card for work expenses and get reimbursed through your job. Use airline and hotel rewards cards to book travel on those brands and earn even more points.
Use discount and coupon sites
Many free sites like Groupon, Living Social and Couponcodeday offer coupons and discounts for purchases, activities and even travel. Never make a purchase online or in a store without checking for deals on these sites. Often you can save 30-70% over retail with a few minutes on the internet. Put the money saved into your travel piggy bank. Clip grocery coupons from the newspaper, and get Internet grocery coupons at, grocerysmarts.com or any of hundreds of other coupon sites. Put your weekly grocery savings into the travel piggy bank, too. Even saving $10 a week on groceries adds up to over $500 at the end of a year.
Cut Back – on Everything Possible
You have already heard this advice thousands of times: bring your lunch to work, cook dinner at home, dine out less, plan meals in advance and use leftovers for lunches. Try a few of these ideas, too.
- Drive less and save $25 a month or more in gas
- Unplug appliances, take shorter showers, turn off the water while brushing your teeth, and adjust your thermostat. These changes can equal 5% savings on the monthly utility bill.
- Give up your gym membership and jog or work out at home.
- Skip the expensive coffees three to five days a week.
- Cut back on haircuts and salon treatments. Stretch them apart by an extra week or two. Get services at beauty school student clinics.
- Use the library rather than visiting a bookstore. Resell used books from home to Half-Price Books or Amazon. Trade and share e-books with friends rather than buying more books.
- Save money on movies by renting through Netflix or Redbox.
Eventually, your patience and hard work pays off with savings you can use toward your next travel adventure.