Summer’s Over, Now It’s Time To Start Saving For Your Next Vacation

September 14, 2015

And just like that it’s fall again. The kids are back in school, the leaves have already started to change, and our summer vacations are behind us. But it’s never too soon to start dreaming of—and planning for—that next getaway. Saving for your next vacation can be relatively easy with proper budgeting and some good old fashioned comparison shopping. Here are a bunch of tips to help you get ready for your next vacation faster—and for less.

Budget

There’s nothing exciting about budgeting until you realize that if you do it right, your dreams become within reach.

The first thing you’re going to want to do is have a ball park figure of when and where you want to go. This will help establish a timeline for your savings, as well as determine how much you need to save. Like with anything, you’ll want to work backwards. If you want to fly somewhere in March that costs $1200, for example, and it is currently September, that means you have six months to plan for it. Now break this down. $1200 divided by six is $200 per month.

Now you need to determine where you’re going to get this extra $200 a month from, and that’s when you really need to look at your spending to see where you can afford to cut costs. Can you swap your fancy cappuccinos for home or office brews? What if you start making your lunch two extra days a week? How about if you took public transit, biked, or car pooled to work? Dissect your spending habits and stay focused on your goal of going on a trip. Don’t’ forget to factor in any spending money you may need while you are away.

Travel Rewards Credit Cards

If you don’t already have a travel rewards credit card consider switching. Many carry excellent incentive sign up bonuses that could propel your savings by several hundred dollars. By making purchases on a travel rewards card instead of another type of credit card, you’re helping reach your goal of travelling sooner and for less. There are a variety of these cards on the market and many carry low balance transfers, making it easy to switch. Shop around to find the one that offers the flexibility, flights, and destinations that work for you.

Bring Some Friends

Now it’s time to see where we can cut costs more. Many airlines and travel agents offer discounts for groups. Consider booking with some friends to cut costs by an average of five to 10 per cent.

Spend Less on Airfare, Hotels and Travel Insurance

Compare, compare, compare. That’s the easiest and best way to find the cheapest flights and hotels. These guidelines will generally help you find better rates:

  • Compare tickets and hotel rates early, and often. As soon as you know when and where you want to fly out, compare airfares and room rates regularly to get a feel for what’s a good deal. Prices will fluctuate and this research will give you the knowledge needed to know when to book.
  • Fly mid-week because it’s said that mid-week flights are more likely to have seats to fill, so you may find cheaper flights Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.
  • Fly mid-day. Most of us want to get to where we are going early (or get back before the day is over) making mid-day flights a good option when looking for the cheapest flights.
  • Be flexible with your arrival and departure dates. Seeing how the costs vary from one day to the next could save you hundreds of dollars.
  • Take advantage of those travel rewards credit cards by putting any accumulated points towards your trip. Use that card to book your trip so you can start working towards your next one.
  • Pay attention to the seasons—many destination have high and low seasons, and prices are adjusted accordingly. Try for a “shoulder” season, that sweet spot just after the high season ends. Choose the season that reflects your budget, but be sure to research weather and travel advisories before you confirm that booking.
  • Be smart and pack travel insurance to protect you in the event something goes off plan. Compare travel insurance quotes to get the best deal. If you’re planning on vacationing more than once within the next year, a multi-trip policy could save you even more money.

Be Flexible (and Adventurous!)

If you know you want to go somewhere in March and you’ve budgeted $1200 but you’re pretty open about the destination, then consider booking your trip last minute. These packages can be significantly marked down and you can usually find an awesome deal, no matter your budget. When going this route, it’s good to make a checklist with the things you’d like and the things you’re willing to compromise on.  This way you can find something that suits your needs—sunny and all-inclusive? Yes please!

So make a budget, establish a timeline, and turn those travel dreams into realities—for less.



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