We all have that dream vacation that we plan to take “someday.” Maybe it’s a picnic right next to the Eiffel Tower. Or taking an African safari. Or waking up in a tiki hut on the crystal-clear ocean.
Whatever it may be, “someday” can be closer to today with a little planning. Affording the getaway of a lifetime is all about being intentional in how you save, plan and budget.
Here are the four steps to making your dream trip a reality.
Step 1: Determine your destination
Pick the place you want to visit, the people you’ll take with you, how long you will stay and what you’ll do when you are there. Don’t limit yourself here. Whether you’re interested in a five-star ski resort, an adventure in the Outback or a Caribbean cruise, nothing is off the table. This is a dream vacation, after all!
Step 2: Factor in the time
Look at your vacation days available from work and the kids’ school schedules to see when you can go. Just as important, pick a date that gives you enough time to save for the trip. It’s totally fine to plan a year or two in advance for a luxury getaway or a trip across the pond. Once the date and destination are set, start a countdown and get excited!
Step 3: Figure the amount to save
Tally the costs for all your expenses — airfare, hotels, car rentals, food, attractions to visit, morning coffee runs, souvenirs and so on. Divide that total cost by the number of months until you leave. That amount is what you should save each month.
For example, let’s say you need $8,000 to take that once-in-a-lifetime European vacay in 15 months. With 15 months to save, that means stashing away $533 a month. You can do it! To keep yourself motivated, just think about the reward of lying on the beach or sitting at a European café at sunset on a vacation that is already paid for!
Step 4: Look for the deals
Check out each part of your planned trip and see where you can get special deals — from airline tickets to local attractions to lunch at a seaside restaurant. Then, sign up to get email and text alerts for discounts. Who knows? You may come in under budget and have even more to spend on your getaway!
Your dream vacation isn’t reserved for retirement or a 25-year wedding anniversary. Imagine what your adventure looks like, and make it a reality. All it takes is you, a plan and a budget!
—Used with permission from EveryDollar.com