We all look forward to that time when we can take a much needed break from our work lives and recharge – or as most people call it, going on vacation! Whether you prefer the beach or the mountains, we all deserve to enjoy some time away from the everyday hustle and bustle. Yet, regardless of which path of relaxation that you choose – it is likely going to cost money.
Rather than financing your vacation on a high interest credit card, there are much better ways to go about paying off your downtime. And, by following a detailed blueprint for doing so, you will be able to relax and enjoy your time off without the stress of finding a way to pay off the bills when you return.
Set Up A “Vacation” Account
One of the first things that you should do when planning your vacation savings is set up a dedicated vacation savings account. In fact, this step is critical if you are going to move through the plan and have an adequate amount saved prior to your next outing.
A basic savings account at a bank or credit union can suffice here. This way, you can easily move funds from your checking account and / or make regular deposits via your ATM or teller to help in building up your account. In addition, while the amount of interest you receive may not be astronomical, by placing funds into an interest bearing savings account, you will receive a small amount of additional money while you wait for your travel date to arrive.
While setting aside extra change or relying on a bonus to fund your vacation account will help, it is also essential that you make regular deposits into the account as well. These can be as easy as allocating a certain amount from each paycheck on a monthly or bi-monthly basis. This will get you into the habit of placing money into the fund. And, should you find that you have money left over in the account after you return from your vacation, you now have a great start on the following year’s fund!
Plan Your Vacation Early
In addition to setting aside funds for your trip, it will also positively add to your bottom line if you are able to save money on your vacation expenses. One great way to do so is by planning your travels early. One of the worst things people can do when setting up travel arrangements is waiting until the last minute. This is especially true when it comes to airline and hotel costs.
Therefore, take your time and shop around. This may require an additional amount of research time, but it will be well worth it as often you may find price differences of several hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on where you plan to visit and for how long. Oftentimes, you may also find great deals via online resources that are dedicated to travel. Some of these websites even offer you cash back if the price of your hotel or airfare goes down prior to your reservation date.
Have Fun – Within Reason
More on Travel
Just as with setting up a household budget, you should also set up a budget for your vacation. In this manner, you will be able to begin with the amount of money that you have saved for your trip. Keeping this amount in mind, you will know how much you will need to spend for transportation and lodging.
Once you have the figures for these primary costs, you will have a much better idea of what you have left over that may be spent on food and other expenses such as souvenirs. If you find that you have an abundance of funds left over, you may even want to extend your vacation or take an additional side trip while in your chosen location. If you are in an area such as Las Vegas, you could even use your excess funds to try your luck at the blackjack or poker table. But be careful here – while you may be able to win a few dollars, you will definitely want to keep your gambling funds to a minimum. Otherwise, it could affect the remainder of your trip!
In any case, remember to have fun. If you’ve worked all year and saved wisely, you deserve a break. After all, everybody needs a chance to recharge, and in so doing, you will be that much more productive upon your return!
George Gallagher works for one of the most popular private student loan consolidation companies. When not helping the world find better financial options, he likes to write for his favorite finance blogs.