Everyone loves the idea of a vacation, but taking time for yourself isn’t just about the fun — it’s also good for your health. Studies have shown that getting away from work for a while may decrease heart disease and depression, as well as make us more productive in the long run. Of course, taking a vacation to relax and enjoy yourself is great, but returning home to a drained bank account or credit card debt could negate all the stress-free vibes you’ve just cultivated.
Luckily, there are some easy ways to save up for a trip so that you can stick to a budget and make the most of your time away without worrying too much about money.
TRAVEL SAVINGS TIP 1: WRITE DOWN YOUR SAVINGS GOAL AND SHARE IT
How it helps: Studies have shown that people who write down their goals and send weekly updates to friends were more likely to successfully reach those goals, and the same theory can apply to savings. For example, if you’re hoping to save up a certain amount of money for an upcoming trip, try writing down your goal number on a piece of paper and sharing your weekly or monthly progress toward that goal with a friend or family member. Sharing your progress is a great way to ensure you stay accountable, as well.
TRAVEL SAVINGS TIP 2: OPEN A TRAVEL-SPECIFIC SAVINGS ACCOUNT
How it helps: You might not think it’s necessary to have different accounts for different savings goals, but this small step can help you reap big rewards. Keeping your savings accounts separate is a great way to easily check in on how your savings are growing for individual goals, plus it’s easier to make sure that the money you’re saving for specific things actually goes towards those goals. Another good idea: Name your new account after your actual goal. After all, an account called “Scuba Diving In The Great Barrier Reef,” is much more fun to save in than “Savings Account No. 2” is.
TRAVEL SAVINGS TIP 3: SET UP AUTOMATIC TRANSFERS
How it helps: Once you’ve opened your travel-specific savings account, set up automatic transfers from each paycheck to head directly into it. This way you won’t have to remember to do this yourself every month, and you’ll be less likely to spend the money on something else between the time you get paid and the time you remember to move it over to savings.
TRAVEL SAVINGS TIP 4: REWARD YOURSELF FOR A JOB WELL DONE
How it helps: There’s nothing wrong with allowing yourself to celebrate small victories in your savings goals — in fact, research shows that we’re more likely to forge ahead with objectives when we celebrate small wins along the way. Remember to keep the celebrating to a minimum, at least monetarily, since spending a ton to celebrate saving would be against the point. Instead, focus on making your celebration an additional way to look forward to your travels. For example, maybe a celebration for savings goals met for a trip to Greece could be dinner with friends at your favorite Greek restaurant, or perhaps three months into saving for a hike of Machu Picchu could be met with the purchase of your hiking shoes for the trip.
TRAVEL SAVINGS TIP 5: GET A SIDE HUSTLE
How it helps: If you’re struggling to sock away additional savings for travel with all the other expenses you have, consider taking on a side job. Most side jobs are flexible, and they often don’t require any additional education, which makes them an easy way to bring in a little extra cash. Consider applying your regular day-job skills to a freelance position (copy editors could look over resumes, for example), or try searching on sites like FlexJobs, Indeed or Monster for part-time or hourly opportunities.
The theory behind building up your travel savings before a trip is simple: The more money you can save beforehand, the more relaxed you’ll feel about your spending during your time away. The suggestions above are a great way to start saving today for that dream vacation you’ve been waiting to take. With a little ingenuity, some dedication and time, it’s more than possible to make your travel goals a reality.