Always dreamed of the trip of a lifetime, but can’t see how to get your money to stretch that far? No destination is entirely out of reach, as long as there is some careful planning, smart expenditure, and nifty tricks. Once you have your ultimate destination in mind, you’ve got every reason to start saving up. We only get one opportunity at life, and we have to grasp it by both horns and see the world – you don’t want to get old and grey, and regret never having visited your dream destination, just because you didn’t think you could afford it. Create a budget, plan your expenses during the time before your holiday, and away you go. Here’s everything you need to know about funding the trip of a lifetime.
1. Create a budget
First things first, you need to know how much it’s going to cost, everything included. With this in mind, you’ll be able to work out just how long it should take to save up. Don’t just take into account travel and accommodation, though – that’s only the start. When it’s the trip of a lifetime, you’re going to want to skimp on the fun stuff, so you need to make sure you’re saving enough for spending money too, including meals, entertainment, and internal transportation. A quick internet search of the country should bring up other travellers’ experiences with the day to day costs associated with visiting the country so that you can factor it into the budget.
Include travel insurance, toiletries, vaccinations, any additional holiday clothes you might need, and any car hire. Once you have this figure, or at least thereabouts, you’re going to be able to work out how long you have to save up more accurately. Be strict with yourself – if you’re not saving at the rate you have agreed then you’ll have less money for fun stuff once you’re there. The trip itself should be incentive enough to be good with your personal finances; it certainly does the trick for us.
2. Pay attention to timing
Buying flights and accommodation for peak times is obviously more costly, but some people are tied into travelling during certain holiday periods due to their employment or their children’s school holidays. Even in these cases, it’s possible to make savings. Airlines and accommodation providers tend to have sales, especially after Christmas, although also after Thanksgiving if you are based in the US in more recent years (who knows why!). Making the most of these cheaper flights and accommodation to book summer trips is the best way to get great deals, and even make some significant savings.
If there is any way you can avoid travelling during peak school holiday times, this is obviously one of the best ways to get more holiday for your buck, so to speak. Even if it’s possible to catch the beginning or end of the season, there will be savings to be had.
One quick tip when booking flights: airlines use internet cookies to put prices up each time you visit their website. This is why flights seem to get more and more expensive, even in a matter of days. Each time you visit their website, clear your browser’s cookies beforehand, and the prices will not rise so rapidly.
3. Make the most of rewards
When used conservatively and conscientiously, credit cards can make a considerable difference to holiday saving, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, many will offer you cashback on a variety of purchases, which can be put towards saving towards a holiday.
Secondly, you can use credit cards to score air miles and contribute towards accommodation and travel costs. It’s all about playing the credit card game to get the most out of their reward schemes. Some credit card companies such as Chase offer great rewards, which can really contribute towards the cost of a holiday. Make sure you check out Chase Ultimate Rewards if you think that you could be making better use of your credit cards for saving towards your holidays. It takes a bit of patience, and some smart application, but it can make a serious difference in the cost.
4. Find a buddy
If you’re travelling alone, you’re footing the bill for all the accommodation, travel, food, and drink that you consume. It can be pretty lonely, too. Obviously, if there is a couple of you travelling then you share the cost of some of these things, and you’ve got a buddy to keep you company on those long journeys too. Having a great travel companion can make all the difference when you’re on the go, so choose wisely. If you do prefer to travel alone, the backpacking lifestyle means that sharing hostel rooms and meals with fellow travellers can be a great way to save money while you’re on the road.
5. Work away
If you’re lucky, you might find the time to take off around the world, see the sights, and experience the incredible smells and flavours of new cultures. These are the perfect situations to find a bit of work to take with you on the road – no I’m not suggesting washing up in diners for your dinner – why not try freelancing instead?
People with creative flair could pay their way with photography, blogging, or a bit of creative writing. If you’re proficient in foreign languages, why not offer up your services as an English teacher or translator, although you have to be more careful with this if you’re working for a foreign company. Even on shorter trips, the odd bit of freelance work wouldn’t go amiss to give yourself a bit of extra spending money.
It’s totally possible to go on the dream holiday of a lifetime, without breaking the bank. You don’t need to plough your entire life savings into the cost of the holiday, as long as you plan well, make a few savvy financial decisions, and stick to your budget. You never know, this could easily be the future of holiday planning for you and your family. So get saving, and enjoy that holiday you always dreamed of.
- Collaborative Post