Some working adults have given up on the idea of taking an annual vacation. Recent bouts of economic volatility have changed the way many families and individuals view yearly time off. But the good news is that anyone can enjoy a couple of weeks off each year and not break the bank by going to Hawaii, Europe, Alaska, Mexico, or anywhere in the continental U.S. How? The answer is planning, along with a small dose of budget-cutting.
Cut Unnecessary Expenses
If you want to play, you’ve got to pay. But there’s no need for pain. Simply go through your monthly budget carefully, and identify at least two areas where you can reduce expenses. Most people can reduce the amount of money they spend on eating at restaurants, fast-food places, and convenience stores. All those hot dogs, candy bars, fountain drinks, hamburgers, and pricey meals add up quickly. There’s no need to eliminate all restaurant meals, just to cut down on what you spend in this general category. When you decide to eat at home instead of at that fancy Italian bistro you love so much, soften the blow by reminding yourself that you’re doing this for a higher goal, which is a nice vacation several months from now.
Refinance Student Loans
If you take the time to research how to refinance student loans, you’ll likely be surprised at all the options. For people who are currently paying on their education debt, a refinance package can significantly reduce monthly payments, which translates into more funds available for other purposes, like travel. Some companies can help consumers do a complete refinancing deal online in under a half-hour. After that, monthly payments can decrease almost immediately and you end up with a nice bit of breathing room in your regular monthly budget.
Set Up a Monthly Contribution
Use the age-old pay yourself first principle by setting aside a fixed amount of money each month toward your once per year excursion. If you determine your total cost for next year’s week in Florida, for example, will be $1,800, put $75 from each bi-weekly paycheck into the fund. For some travelers, this is the most painless way of covering the full bill. That’s why it pays to do detailed planning before deciding on the contribution amount. Consider asking your employer or bank to withhold the amount from each direct deposit paycheck and place it into a separate account.
Join a Travel Group
There are plenty of choices here, including church groups that organise yearly group trips at large discounts off regular prices. In fact, group travel is one of the easiest ways to chop a huge chunk off the total price tag on any vacation. Whenever you can hook up with a church group, travel club, university organisation, or any other entity that allows you to buy in to their group vacation, consider taking part if their destination matches your personal travel preferences. Plus, there are stand-alone membership organisations that do nothing but take organised trips several times per year. You can usually get into one of these clubs by paying a small yearly fee, which is more than offset by what you save on air tickets, hotels, and other expenses.