Everyone deserves a break now and again. It’s much easier said than done though. Like most things, it sounds good on paper but in reality, saving for a vacation can be a stressful affair.
However, all hope is not lost. With a little discipline and sacrifice here and there, it’s possible to save a hefty sum you can use later on.
Here are ten useful tips to help you save money for your next vacation.
1. Open a dedicated vacation bank account
The first and arguably easiest way to deal with saving up for a vacation is opening up a dedicated savings account. Preferably, you should set up automatic payments into the account, and as long as you’re able to restrain yourself, the money should remain unused until it’s time to travel.
Even better still, choose an interest-bearing account to let your money grow while you wait for the trip date to arrive.
For this purpose, there are lots of banks to choose from, but the most recommendable option is to go for an online account. Most people are just too lazy to bear the inconvenience of having to get up and physically withdraw the cash.
2. Cut back on your monthly food budget
Opening a bank account may be slightly inconvenient for some people. However, there are plenty other options to choose from instead. According to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average of 12.5% of income is spent on food. Forty three percent of this sum ($3,008) is spent on food eaten away from home every year.
There is great potential in cutting down on the amount of food you consume each month.
Some common ways of cutting down on this number is by buying groceries in bulk, shopping at farmers’ markets or even joining a Consumer Supported Agriculture (CSA). You can look for a local CSA here. Here are some more tips to save money on groceries each month.
On the other hand, growing your own food is much cheaper than buying prepared food from the grocery store. If you’re really into it, you can even start a garden in your backyard to save some money. Admittedly, it will take some time, but a green thumb is acquired, not innate.
Lastly, you should avoid eating out as much as you can. Eating out once in a while isn’t too bad, since we all get tired or want to go out with friends from time to time. But you shouldn’t get too lost in it.
3. Use your car to make a little cash on the side
If the rise of companies like Uber and Lyft is an indication of anything, it’s the fact that you don’t have to slave away paycheck to paycheck. If you’re diligent enough, you can make thousands of dollars every year just by renting out ridesharing.
According to this data, the average Uber and Lyft drivers earn between $14-18 per hour.
Where you live also plays a part. Here’s a look at the average income per trip, by city.
There are also a lot of different options most people may not have heard of, either. For instance, relatively new business models growing around cars include: taking other people’s children to school, delivering groceries and taking dogs to groomers.
Other ways still include: being a wedding chauffeur, taking people to appointments and delivering pizza.
Alternatively, you could altogether get rid of the car and stick to public transportation.
4. Pick Up a Side Job
Picking up an extra job is also a pretty efficient way of getting some cash in your pockets. True enough, you’ll have much more on your plate, but the only true way of saving up faster is getting more income in.
There are several ways you can raise some money aside from your regular job. You have the option of going for something more traditional like waiting tables or babysitting. Or you could also go a bit more unorthodox.
There are several ways you can raise a decent wage working a side job online working as a freelancer. There’s always market for marketers, programmers and transcribers. Platforms that can help you out with the latter option are sites like Upwork.com, Freelancer.com and Fiverr.
On the other hand, seasonal jobs are also pretty easy to get. During winter, for instance, retail employees often hire to higher degrees to cope with the influx in customers. Summer also brings with it extra support in farms and pools – workers and lifeguards.
And like we mentioned in the previous tip, the sharing economy has opened up tons of opportunities to make money from stuff you already have. Here’s a look at the average monthly income for various sharing economy gigs:
Need more ideas? Here’s a huge list of side hustles you can start right now.
5. Ditch the pricey hotel for an Airbnb or Bed & Breakfast
If you really want the hotel experience, you can make the extra effort to save for it. That’s mostly the case if you’re in it for the comfort and luxury that comes with tourist hotels.
But, if you’re willing to cook your own food and stay in a more conservative space and be more personal with the locals, consider an Airbnb.
An old-fashioned hotel definitely has its own kind of appeal, but if you’re really trying to save up on food and other expenses, Airbnb is unbeatable.
If you’re lucky enough, you might even get similar quality as you normally would with an even better experience than conventionally.
Plus, Airbnb’s are typically located within the neighborhoods local people stay in, so you can get a better feel of the culture of wherever you’re vacationing.
6. Sell some of your stuff
If you have some extra stuff lying around the house and no way to get rid of it, there are several websites out there that can help you out. You can either join a Facebook group dedicated to sale and purchase of commodities, use eBay or even Craigslist.
The most common things that will always have market include video games, furniture and unused appliances. Even toys have a mass market if you know how to research it properly enough.
7. Make your credit card work for you
Consider getting a credit card that will accumulate miles as you carry about your day-to-day activities throughout the year. If you’re a regular traveler, you could get your holiday flight for free by racking up your frequent flyer miles.
Alternatively, you can also earn a lot of flier miles without even signing up for a credit card to begin with. Some providers offer this option for when you’re eating out, shopping online or taking surveys.
8. Travel in a group
When planning for the trip, consider making the plans as a group.
In the process, you could also save a ton of money in terms of traveling costs and hotel booking. Group purchases give you a huge advantage both in terms of shared expenditure, and the fact that airlines are often willing to give you a break if you do.
9. Travel during shoulder season
If you’re traveling to a destination that’s normally crowded, traveling during an off-season is one of the best ways to save some cash. This is especially true if you’re traveling to a destination that’s usually expensive.
If ‘off-season’ is during the winter when nobody really wants to travel, you may want to consider the not-so-crowded-but-still-bearable season. Alternatively referred to as the “shoulder season” it’s still enjoyable, only far from the crowds and exorbitance.
10. Book Your Transportation at the Best Time
Timing is everything, even when it comes to saving cash. Since plane tickets will take a huge part of your budget, you have to be sure to make your travel plans while it’s early enough.
It’s been suggested that the best time to book your tickets is eight weeks in advance, while others prefer to play on the edge and opt for six instead.
Pick an option that you feel is the most appropriate for your budget and book directly with the airline to save on extra convenience fees. At the same time, don’t forget to use those air miles while you’re at it.