Summer is the perfect time to take a break from the daily grind. It is a time to relax, unwind, spend time with loved ones, or meet new people and make memories that will last a lifetime. However, the cost of a summer vacation can be daunting, especially if you have not started saving yet. Do not worry, though, because there are plenty of ways to make it less stressful.
Before we dive into the ten steps to start saving for a summer vacation, let us take a moment to talk about why vacationing is not just a whim. Taking time off brings plenty of social, medical, and health-related benefits. For one, it can help reduce stress linked to numerous health problems, including high blood pressure and heart disease. A vacation can also help you reconnect with your loved ones and strengthen relationships, as well as provide a much-needed break from the daily routine.
Now, here are 10 steps to start saving for a summer vacation:
First, imagine what your perfect vacation looks like. Where do you envision yourself having the most fun and enjoying the most? Research all you can about your dream location. If food is your thing, find restaurants in the area, look at menus, and read reviews. Also, jot down the sites you’d like to visit. Make sure you have a sense of what it is like moving around in that particular location, and focus on the neighborhoods or hotel complexes where you’d like to stay. This stage is all about dreaming and needs no editing. Later, you can make adjustments and set realistic goals.
Vacationing is worth it, but it is not cheap. If you want to reach your goals, you will have to create a budget. After dreaming of your perfect vacation, research prices for flights, accommodation, food, and attraction tickets. Figure out how much you need to save and start planning accordingly. In this stage, you can begin editing and designing a vacation plan that fits your vision but is also doable.
Now you know how much you would spend on your summer vacation. Always leave a little margin and blow the budget slightly to ensure you do not come up short. Then, look at your monthly budget and cut back on unnecessary expenses. Where can you save enough money that can go to your new set goal? Maybe you’ve been missing gym classes anyway and can choose a smaller gym membership so that the rest of the money goes toward saving for vacations.
Go around your house checking for items that are no longer in use. It is a two-fold benefit, as you will declutter and make extra money. You would be surprised at how much money you can make by selling clothes, furniture, appliances, and other things you will probably not miss. Be careful not to spend that money elsewhere. This leads us to the next step…
By regrouping all the resources for your vacation goals, you can keep track of your progress and resist the temptation to dip into the funds for other expenses.
Reaching your vacation goals might entail a little sacrifice. For a few months before summer, you might want to take up extra hours at work or create new sources of income, like tutoring students in your neighborhood.
Whichever amount you can save through discount cards or cashback apps can go directly to your savings toward summer vacation. You can think of every extra buck you make with savvy purchases as a reward to your future self.
Set a goal to do most of your shopping with a credit card that offers points or miles to purchase flight tickets or as credits when booking a hotel or renting a car. Make sure to pay your bills on time and in full each month to avoid interest charges. Carrying a balance or paying only the minimum amount due can negate the benefits of the rewards earned. Look at the fine print so you make the most of this system.
As with every budget, you need to check in frequently to make any adjustments and also for accountability. Are you reaching your goals? Do you need to change plans and therefore revise the budget? Have you earned enough rewards, so you can start spending a little less conservatively? Checking in keeps you motivated and in control.
It is never too late to start planning, but doing so in advance usually means spending less and having more control over your plans. By starting as soon as possible, you can avoid editing or rethinking your vacation plans. You might even add items and luxuries you did not expect to indulge in if you exceed your saving goals.
Taking a summer vacation is important for your social, medical, and overall well-being, and with these ten steps, you can start saving today. Remember to have fun with it and stay motivated towards your goal.