How to Save for a Dream Vacation without Breaking the Bank

Get Ready to Go Anywhere on Any Budget

Vacations are a great way to relax, but there’s nothing relaxing about coming home to a pile of debt. It’s easy to max out credit cards and tap into savings when you’re taking that long awaited dream vacation. But there’s a better way. With a little planning and forethought, you can take a trip almost anywhere.

The goal is to have all the money you need for the vacation before you leave. And there are a few tricks and tips that can make that goal attainable – and in less time than you might think.

Start by Setting a Budget for Your Trip

You need to set a goal before you try to meet it. First, decide where you want to go. Look at plane tickets, accommodations, tours, transportation, food, entertainment and other activities. Get a feel for the costs associated with your trip. Then set a realistic number for how much you are willing to spend.

Set Up a Travel Savings Account

If you are saving money for a specific purpose, it helps to set it aside. This removes the temptation of spending it on something else. You could use a jar or an envelope. Better yet, you can set up a separate savings account with automatic monthly deposits. A savings account has the added benefit of keeping your money secure. Deposit your savings at the beginning of the month, not the end. Many studies show that saving right after you get paid is more effective.

Stick to a Household Budget and Cut Expenses

If you don’t already have a household budget, now is the time to make one. Once you make a budget, go through it and look for things you can reduce or remove. Maybe you could go without cable or an online video service for a little while. You could try using coupons at the grocery store, cooking meals at home more often, or biking to work. Look for anything you can cut or reduce, and put every cent you save into your vacation fund.

Look for Ways to Pick Up Extra Money

The gig economy provides lots of opportunities for people looking to make extra cash on the side. Here’s a few ideas to get you started:

  • Drive for a ride sharing company like Lyft or Uber whenever you have free time
  • Rent out a room or a couch in your home through a service like AirBnB
  • Teach English to children online through VIPKID
  • Sell things you don’t need online through sites like eBay or Poshmark
  • Walk dogs on the weekends through an app like Wag
  • Work extra shifts or overtime
  • Have a yard sale

Visualize Your Vacation

Making your goal visual can help make it more attainable. Print out an image of the place you want to go. Attach it to a chart that includes a box for every month you plan to save. Put the total savings goal at the bottom. Put this picture and chart someplace where you’ll see it a lot, like on the fridge. And update it every month with your savings progress.

Hack Your Vacation

There are lots of ways to save money on travel. Consider looking for plane trips at off times of year, or taking your trip in the slow tourist season. Compare the costs of staying in a vacation rental versus a hotel. If you look hard enough, you may be able to find some big savings that make your vacation affordable.

Let Bank of Colorado Help You Save

Want some help with your savings goal? Open a savings account from Bank of Colorado for your vacation savings. Having your money in an account instead of a jar keeps it more secure. It also makes it less likely you'll use it for impulse purchases.