Is your passport burning a hole in your pocket? Are you anxious to start digging into your travel bucket list? Are you hoping to take your kids to Walt Disney World …b efore they’re off to college? If the only thing standing between you and the family vacation of your dreams is a money shortfall, here’s a seven-step solution. Start small, stay the course, and in mere months you could be catching the next flight out of town.
Determine your dream destination and set your budget.
Where have you always wanted to travel to, if you only had the money? Delve deep into your destination and research affordable airfare, accommodations and activities. Play around with departure and arrival dates to pinpoint the best and most affordable time to travel. Download the free hopper app which will track your next flight and hotel stay and alert you as soon as the prices drop to their lowest point.
Create a savings timeline.
For example, if your dream family vacation is a National Park camping trip that costs $1500, you’ll need to save $500 a month, or $116 in a week, to stay on course for your target of $1500 after three months. Now that you know the breakdown, it’s easier to focus on saving $116 per week instead of $500 a month.
Set off on a three month savings spree.
Eliminate all unnecessary expenses. What can you live without? Brainstorm ten ways that you can cut unnecessary spending as a family.
Ditch dining out (and takeaway, too).
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American household spends $2,787 on restaurant meals and takeout every year. For the next three months, pack your own lunch for work instead of buying from the corner store. Brew your own coffee instead of stopping at a pricey cafe. Host a “Make Your Own Pizza Night” in your very own kitchen instead of ordering out. Place the amount you usually would have spent dining out on the town into your vacation savings account.
Press pause on entertainment spending money.
Host a standing movie night date in your living room, complete with popped corn. Pitch a tent and campout in the backyard. Play tourist in your own city and research free activities such as free entry museum days. Redirect the money you would usually spend on entertainment towards your dream family vacation savings account.
Cut the cable cord.
Join the millions of other Americans who’ve cut the cable in favor of streaming options like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu. While you’re at it, ditch your gym membership, too: there are countless free apps and online videos that offer at-home workouts of every kind, from boxing to yoga.
Find an app that takes the work out of saving.
Savings apps like Digit and Qapital both automatically transfer small amounts from your checking account to a separate savings account. You won’t even realize you’re making a commitment to save every day. Stay the course and you’ll be well on your way to your dream vacation destination.