I am so tired of winter, and it is only January. February is almost always miserable, but at least March provides a few days of nice weather. I also start my tomato plants and such for my garden indoors in late March, so I at least can ‘feel’ summer on the horizon in March, even if we do get the occasional snowstorm.
Normally, we would go to Florida for what our school calls ‘mid-winter break’. However, the rigors of high school basketball forbids us from leaving during that week anymore. So, I am trapped in Michigan until April, when we will head to Florida. Our trip will be nice, but I think Florida and other warm places are nicer when you are escaping the snow and the cold.
Anyway, I was reading the post Start Saving For Your Summer Vacation Now at the blog Not Made of Money, and I started thinking about how we save for vacation.
In the past, we always just kind of ‘absorbed’ the cost without a whole lot of planning. (We put charges on our credit card for the rewards, but always paid it off immediately.) Now, what I do is just put the money I make from the blog into a vacation savings account. Since I enjoy writing so much, it feels like we will be getting a ‘free’ vacation in a sense.
So, while pondering how we pay for our vacation, I came up with some tips for saving for vacation:
- Put all spare money into a vacation fund. You could put spare change or any dollar bills that you have in your wallet at the end of the day into a container of some sort and earmark it for vacation. Or, even make some extra cash recycling aluminum cans (or cashing them in at the store, depending on the state you live in.) I know this won’t entirely cover your vacation by any means unless you are camping or something somewhat cheaper. However, just accumulating the spending money for vacation in a pain-free way can be fun.
- Research your vacation destination thoroughly. Find out what time of year has the best deals to minimize your overall costs. (Not suggesting you cruise the Caribbean during hurricane season though…). Tripadvisor.com is a fantastic resource for researching vacation destinations.
- Buy an Entertainment Book for the city you are headed if you plan on eating out a lot, or if you think you will save more than what the Entertainment Book costs. (A friend of mine did this recently, and I thought it was a great idea.)
- Take advantage of any and all deals you can. Everyone knows AAA offers great deals on hotels, rental cars, etc. However, you may even get benefits from your credit card, even if it’s not specifically a travel rewards card. Check out the post “Credit Card Perks You Never Knew You Had” from Wealth Informatics to see what deals your credit card may offer.
- Earn money on the side that can be used for vacation. It doesn’t have to be something as time intensive as starting a blog, but even selling things you have around the house, taking on a holiday job, or maybe turning that hobby into a business on ETSY or something. Think about what hidden talents you have and take advantage!
- Traveling with kids? You have got to plan ahead of time and really consider some of the extra costs that children bring. Stroller rentals, increased food and drink costs, constant begging for souvenirs, etc. Try to step through what you will be doing on your vacation and try to mitigate as many of those costs up front as possible.
Regardless of where you are headed on vacation or how you are getting there, make sure you have the money saved for the trip ahead of time. You do not want to go in to debt for a vacation. Memories are great, and getting a break for day to day life can be fun. However, the stress created by carrying high interest debt is not fun at all.
What are your vacation plans this year?