Do you find yourself scrolling through Instagram wondering how everyone you know can afford such amazing vacations while you struggle to save for a weekend away?
Or maybe you already travel regularly, but want to find a way to squeeze in more adventures without going broke.
Follow these simple savings tips to make your travel plans more than just a daydream.
1. Plan your trip first
It may sound obvious, but planning your trip is the best way to start making your dream a reality. Researching the cost of your trip first ensures your savings will definitely cover the cost of your ideal holiday. If don’t do the groundwork first, you could find yourself cutting incredible parts of your trip at the last minute because you can’t afford them.
Start by researching the most expensive parts of the trip first: flights, vaccinations (if needed), accommodation and travel insurance. Next, try to determine how much spending money you will need each day. Travel blogs are an excellent resource for investigating how much you can expect to spend on food, drinks, entrance fees and other activities.
If you are booking any organised tours ask the travel company exactly what the tour includes. Does your trip include flights, insurance and meals? How much spending money will you need to bring?
Finally, make an extensive list of any items you’ll need to buy before the trip, including luggage, toiletries, clothes and anything else you can think of.
2. Make a savings plan
Saving small amounts irregularly and hoping for the best won’t get you anywhere fast. A solid savings plan is crucial.
The planning phase should leave you with an accurate idea of how much the trip should cost in total, then use good old-fashioned mathematics to calculate how much you can save towards this target every week.
Work out how much disposable income you have from each paycheck once you’ve taken care of the important things such as bills, rent, food and transport to work.
Think about how much of your disposable income you’re willing to put towards your holiday each week (or month) after taking into account your social life, gym memberships and other regular expenditures. Then set up a direct debit for this amount to a separate savings account (aka: holiday fund) to keep your plan on track.
3. Be realistic
A common mistake when creating a savings plan is aiming to save every single spare dollar. But in reality, this just isn’t practical. To avoid the horrifying realisation that you’ve only saved half of your target amount a week before your flight, you need to create a realistic savings plan.
Be kind to yourself when calculating how much disposable income you can put towards the trip. Don’t plan on spending the next few months alone in your room eating noodles and watching Netflix to save money. Set aside a sensible amount of money every week for meals out, after work drinks and other treats you need to get you through the week.
It’s also smart to give yourself a little leeway in case anything unexpected happens to throw your savings plan off course. Either add an extra few weeks to your savings timeline or factor in a small overspill amount in your budget to give yourself a financial safety net. It’s better to have a little extra money than find you can’t afford a trip you’ve already booked.
4. Top up your savings
Increasing your income or cutting back a little on unnecessary expenditure are great ways to boost your savings, but you need to make sure this extra money finds its way into your savings account before you spend it elsewhere.
Whether you’re putting in some (paid) overtime at work or earning extra money with a side hustle, transfer the additional income into your savings account immediately so that you’re not tempted to spend it on something else.
Similarly, if you choose to forgo a treat — for instance, by walking instead of getting an Uber or removing that cute top from your online shopping basket — transfer the money you would have spent directly into your savings account.
5. Be a discount junkie
It’s not worth stressing over every cent you spend, but taking care of the little things is the cherry on top of a good savings plan. These little hints and tips might not save you a fortune but you’ll definitely be able to afford few extra cocktails while on holiday.
Use loyalty cards or reward schemes to get money off anything you need to purchase for your trip. Points cards offered at chemists and drug stores are particularly useful, as the cost of holiday toiletries is often surprisingly high.
If you’re buying any large items for the trip such as a new backpack, trainers or a tour, try Google searching the name of the item + “discount code” to find any voucher codes you can use to get a discount when ordering online.
Saving a few bucks here and there means you’ll be in a better financial position come holiday time.
This article was written by Katie Tiffin and originally published on A Girl In Progress.