Save Your Way to Your Dream Vacation

03
September

Vacations should be a time to relax. Save for your vacation and eliminate your money worries so that you can enjoy your trip.

Determine Your Need

The first step to save money for your vacation is to decide how much you will need. Set specific amounts for your goals. You might be able to save enough for your vacation without setting a goal, but if you choose not to define specific goals, you will not recognize opportunities to save when they occur. Figure out how much your vacation will cost. Whether this is the vacation of your lifetime or a quick weekend trip, be realistic about your expenses. Do not budget for a bare bones motel, if that is a place where you will never stay. Take into account incidental expenses, such as, tips, meals and gifts. Decide if you will need to purchase new clothes, for example, if you will be hiking, you will need boots, or if you will dine in high-end restaurants, you will need appropriate attire. If it is a family affair, do not count on your children being able to fit into clothes they wore on the last vacation.

Keep a Journal

Start a journal where you document all of your savings. Make it part ledger, part scrapbook. On one page, document how much money you have added to your savings. Be specific; include dates, exact amounts and the source of funds. On another page, include some memento that relates to your plans. For example, if you are planning a golfing holiday, paste in a picture of golf clubs or that of a hole on a famous course. The financial information is there to keep you honest and the pictures are there to keep you motivated.

Save Slow and Steady

Develop a timetable and stick to it. Figure out the dates when you will need to pay for parts of your vacation. This could be when you will need to pay for your airplane tickets or pay for the cruise ship, or any other expenditure. From there, you can determine how much you will need to set aside each week before that date. Stick to your schedule. It is important not to dig yourself into a hole, especially early on. Give yourself time to save so that it is not a stressful activity. The more money you will need, the more time you should give yourself to save that money. If you do suffer a setback, do not dwell on it. Simply recalculate how much more you will need to save during the subsequent weeks to make up for the short fall.

Watch Out for Fees

Nothing will sap your savings faster than paying bank and credit card fees. Read the fine print of your bank and credit card agreements to learn what fees they charge, how much they are and when you will incur them. Monitor your bank and credit card accounts closely to reduce the chance that you will have to pay any surprise fees. Investigate the rates at your bank to find out how much it will cost if you create a separate account for your vacation. A separate account makes it easier for you to see how much you have for your vacation, but an additional account may incur fees and you may lose any fee waivers for a high balance if you divide the money among accounts.

Share Your Goals

Let your friends and family know that you are saving for a vacation. They can alert you to tips for places to visit or may know of low-cost transportation. Telling your friends and family will also let them know that you have plans for your money and that you may not be able to do all of the activities you did with them in the past. This should ultimately help you to save if they do not tempt you with expensive propositions, such as nights out on the town or shopping jaunts. When you reach your goal and return home from a fabulous vacation, be sure to share your memories with your family and friends.

Saving for your vacation before you go will save you headaches when you return.

This post was written by

jason – who has written posts on Budget Clowns.
Father of three and married to a lovely women. Always looking for ways to save money, and invest it properly for my children's future.

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