The pandemic put a lot of vacations on hold. Now, as the world starts to open up, hopes are high that we’ll be able to go on the much-needed getaways we’ve been patiently waiting for.
Whether you hope to spend your next adventure lounging on the beach, theme park hopping or kayaking down a babbling waterway, make sure you can afford everything you want to do with these tips on how to save for vacation.
Choose Your Timing Wisely
As you begin planning for your next vacation, consider going to your destination sometime other than during the summer. Early in the year (January to February) or late summer/early autumn (September) – essentially staying away from peak travel times like holidays and school breaks – are good choices. This way, you’ll be avoiding crowds and saving money by choosing less sought-after times.
Calculate the Price and Set a Goal
Depending on whether you’re planning to stay domestic or travel internationally, there are a variety of costs to account for, including plane tickets, transportation, lodging, meals, entertainment and souvenirs. All-inclusive trips are great, but you should still save a little extra money for spontaneous out-of-pocket expenditures.
Once you have an idea of how much your vacation will cost, subtract what you already have saved. The difference is your vacation savings goal. Knowing the specific amount of money you still need to save will allow you to figure out how much money you need to set aside per paycheck, week or month.
Pocket Some Extra Cash
Make saving for your next vacation a little quicker and easier by earning some extra money. One way to do this is by picking up a side gig or part-time/seasonal job.
A side gig, also known as a side hustle, includes jobs like driving for a ride-share service like Lyft/Uber, making food deliveries or doing freelance work. Side gigs offer the flexibility to work around your current schedule while earning additional income. If you need inspiration, check out these 5 great gigs for college students and 7 best part-time retirement jobs.
For a part-time or seasonal job at a brick-and-mortar location, grocery stores, restaurants and other retail locations often have plenty of options. Do your job search through a website like Indeed or ZipRecruiter, or visit the official website of a business you like and search for career opportunities.
Another way to earn a little extra money is to sell items you already have. Consider holding a yard/garage sale or sell more specific items like art, clothing, knickknacks and collectibles, with websites or apps like eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Let Go and Poshmark.
Make the Most of Your Money
Consider opening a special savings account specifically for vacations. Make it a high-interest or high-yield savings account if you can.
If your vacation isn’t for a while, consider saving with a high-yield certificate of deposit. There will likely be a minimum deposit requirement and you won’t be able to access that money without a penalty until it matures – after 6 months, a year, 2 years, etc., but the annual percentage rate or APR will likely be higher, meaning you’ll earn more interest.
Another option is using a cash-back rewards credit card. We all have daily expenses, so why not earn money on eligible purchases? Then, funnel those cash-back rewards right into your vacation savings.
Cut Costs Where You Can
Anywhere from a year to six months before your trip, try to be extra frugal. Set a stricter budget and save a little extra cash by not eating out, canceling a gym membership or cutting back on subscription services.
Shop Discounts and Sales
If your vacation will require a lot of walking (hello, theme parks!) or if you’ll be participating in watersports, hiking or other activities, you may need some gear you don’t already own. Get a new pair of walking shoes or more specific gear when they’re on sale to minimize the amount you have to spend.
AAA members can save with the AAA Powersports, RV and Buying Program or take advantage of discounts on products from Outdoorsy, Life is Good, Reebok Outlet Stores and other merchants.
Another way to save and shop the sales is by using a travel agent. They will help you find different travel packages, comparing prices to help you find the best deals for your budget. AAA Travel Advisors are friendly, knowledgeable and will help you find and plan your next vacation.
Learn more about all the ways AAA and Discover can help you handle your savings.