Budget Vacations can be the most rewarding. Have student loan debts? Work an entry-level job? Not to worry, everyone can afford to travel. Life is short after-all. With careful planning and some of the budget vacations hacks, you can afford that well deserved trip to Iceland or Fiji. Vacations are supposed to be relaxing, so whether it is a cruise or a road trip, you can find creative ways to save up enough bread!
1. Create a Budget
The first thing you should do for any vacation is plan a budget. You should research your destination and how much experts predict you will spend daily on meals, hotels, sites. You should also factor in how long you will be traveling whether it is a month or seven days. Then, set up your goal budget. Excel is great for creating spread sheets and can help you achieve your goals. Next, you should calculate what percentage of your income you want to set aside for this vacation every month. The tricky part will be adhering to it.
2. Open a Vacation Savings Account
As a rule, I don't carry cash when I am trying to save money because I am more likely to spend it. When portioning out your earnings for a budget vacation, your best ally is opening a separate savings account. Make this a savings account separate from your rent and student loan fund. You should even consider mobile banking. Chime is an excellent online banking account with no over draft fees or maintenance cost. You can monitor your progress without the temptation of dipping into your funds for your every day spending needs.
3. Live Below Your Means
It is not easy, but sometimes we have to live below our means to achieve our saving goals. This means you should start packing your own lunch to work, rather than spending ten dollars for a Chopp'd salad. Just say goodbye to Starbucks, cutting out five dollar lattes will do wonders to your bank account. There are thousands of little life hacks that we can do to save. Opt out of your gym membership and hit the parks. You can run and do your push-ups there. Stop downloading books on your kindle and visit your local library. Get a haircut a budget salon rather and save yourself fifty bucks and learn to do your own nails.
Whatever you do, don't splurge on clothes. If you have to write a note on your bathroom mirror. Thread-Up and thrift stores are a great alternative. Read: 13 Best NYC Thrift and Vintage Stores You Have to See.
However, it is okay to treat yourself to one indulgence every week or so like that latte or a new book.
3. Use a Credit Card with Reward Points
Make your credit card work for you when you are trying to save for a budget vacation. When you pruchase airline tickets, with the right credit card you could be getting cash back and earning miles. You could spend $300.00 off a $1,200.00 round trip to Portugal, simply because of your rewards points.
Also, consider down load money savings apps like Penny Hoarders, Digit or Quapital. The algorhythim will transfer a certain percentage of money from your savings account into another account like your budget vacation account. Take advantage of technology.
4. Pick-up a Side Hustle
There is no shame. Most New Yorkers have their main job and two or three side hustles. A second income if you have the time can be a great way to budget your vacation. You can pick up a weekend job busting tables or something more chill, like working in a book store. Again, you can also take advangage of technology. Get into the ride sharing game and work for Uber, Lyft, or Via. Turn your home into a cash flow with AirBnB. Watch someone's dog or cat and earn money with the app Rover. Perhaps, you like cleaning with apps Tidy. Are you gifted at assembling IKEA furniture? Then, download Task Rabbit.
If you prefer working as freelance writer or artist, look on UpWorks. There is no shortage of side hustle options.
5. Sell Used Items
Sell your clothes to vintage and consignment stores. You might not get much money, but it can help cover groceries. Consider pawning more valuable items at a pawn shop or on Craigslist or eBay.
6. Cut Back and Reduce Utilities
It is time to cutback. You will be amazed at how a little can go a long way. Maybe it is time to cut your gym member ship for a while. Are there any subscriptions you can do without like Spotify or Audible ? Having an AC is a big budget killer, opt instead for a window fan. Find ways to cut down that phone bill, which we all know are more often too high.
7. Look for Travel Deals
Use Expedia or Hopper to find great discounts on hotels and flights. Flights on Tuesdays and Thursdays as a rule are generally cheaper. Consider going to your destination in an off season. Instead of going to New Orleans in May for Jazz fest, go in December for the holidays; it is not hot and hotels are way cheaper.
8. Consider Crowd Funding
Turn you budget vacation into a positive endeavor. Enlist your friends and family on Facebook to donate five bucks to help you achieve your goals.
9. Pick a Budget Friendly Destination
Lastly, maybe choose a budget vacation destination that is within your reach. For example, London is lovely but is one of the most expensive cities. Go off the beaten path. Budapest is gorgeous and thrilling and great for anyone who wants to vacation on a budget.