Whenever you’re going on a vacation you have to make sure that you’re not going to kill your wallet. I’m 29 — I have rent, school loans and a car payment a month plus we are looking to buy a house this year so I get it. Traveling can be expensive. Not planning ahead can make it even worse.
That’s why we have our very own vacation fund that we save into. There are a few ways you could do this. You could set aside a certain amount a month (I do that for the house budget) or you can find other ways to save. Since we knew we had enough time to save for England, we decided on the latter.
Let me make one thing clear though, we did pay for our trip out of our pocket, originally we were going to use what we had saved toward that but my boyfriend decided he would rather pay for the hotel, flight and airbnb (more on that next month) ahead of time and then use what we saved for the actual trip. Regardless, of which way we did this, what’s coming from our own pockets will be just the hotel, flight and aribnb. Yes, I know, what we saved is also coming out of our own pockets, but it’s different when you forget about it :).
Here are some tips on budgeting for a big trip:
- Know your budget ahead of time — this was big for us since we were paying for the trip ahead of time (and our savings for England), we wanted to figure out how much it would cost for both before we bought our tickets
- Find easy ways to save some cash, here are examples:
- I shop a lot online, so now I use ebates. Any ebates check we received went directly to the vacation fund
- Credit Card Points: I don’t have the best credit card out there but I do get pretty good cash back with my points. Any cash back I received was sent into the fund
- Coins: Yes, you heard that right, I went back in time and rolled coins, brought them to the bank and asked for them to be put in our special savings
- Bottle returns: yeap, we’ve done that too.
- Gifts: When we would get money for Christmas or Birthdays we would add it to our savings, always the same amount for each of us so it was fair.
- Side savings: I also have a little stash of side savings because I know I’ll want some souvenirs
- Money from other trips: sometimes I come back from other vacations with some money left over, we add that to our savings for later use
- SavingStar: a way to save some money on groceries. You activate the savings, shop and then it will transfer to PayPal when you’re ready to cash out
So what’s the goal here? Well, we are going to be in England for about 9-10 days. We are hoping that what we’ve saved will cover our meals, transportation and all touristy activities that we want to do. Before we bought our tickets, I went through and listed all the things we want to do as well as the cost so that we knew ahead of time and knew if there were things we had to exclude — so far so good!
We also decided that since half our trip will be in an airbnb, we won’t eat out all the time. We will pack lunches and do breakfast at home (at least most of the time). We’ve started to look for things through Viator and plan to get some London Attraction passes to help with cost.
How do you guys budget and save? I honestly think knowing what you’re planning to do and what you can afford ahead of time really helps sticking to a budget and coming up with the best way to save.
Do you have any other tips?