The Dollars and Cents of Pursuing a Dream to Travel

So you want to travel but it costs money you don’t have, right?
Allow me to help….

First thing first: traveling costs extra money and it can be really hard to save money, especially when you’re already strapped for cash.  I hear ya. Money is a very real barrier and in order to cross that barrier it takes some degree of sacrifice or change in spending habits. Been there done that. This is coming from the woman that just lived with her parents for a year to save money for a five-month solo trip through Europe. Dating when you live with your parents isn’t cool or glamorous, trust me. But exploring Europe for five months made it all worth it.

The goal of this blog post isn’t to dispel in any way that saving money is hard, that vacations can cost a lot of money or debate with anyone whether or not travel and new experiences are worth the savings sacrifice. I think you know where I stand on that last one, anyway.

What I’m hoping to do here is shed light on different tactics you can use to start making the dream (assuming its something you want to do) a reality.

Here are three steps to get you started. Good luck and happy saving!

  1. Put money aside every paycheck. It can be a set amount or a % of each paycheck. The trick here is to transfer the funds out of your everyday checking account the same day you are paid. Put it in an envelope or a fancy account, but whatever you do, move it ASAP so that you don’t get comfortable with the idea of ever having that money. Its kind of like playing a mind game with yourself, but overtime you will adjust your life to suit your new budget and forget you ever had the $20, $50 or $100 you just saved for a future vacation.
  2. Spend a few weeks writing down and tracking everything you spend money on. Hopefully you identify a spending pattern, such as daily trips to Starbucks at $4 a pop, that mean less to you than a future vacation would. If you’re willing to compromise and make coffee at home, at the end of the week deposit into your vacation piggybank what you would have spent that week on Starbucks. The same applies to eating out, the weekly yoga session you loath, the fancy wine vs. Two Buck Chuck (does it really taste that different, anyway?) or the reoccurring membership fee for 24 Hour Fitness and Netflix that is automatically charged to your card but you never use.
  3. If you have a vacation in mind for next year – and lets say you want to have $3,000 saved – break the total amount down by paycheck and see how the amount you need to set aside each paycheck becomes more manageable. Using this example, if you want to have $3,000 saved one year from now that means you need to set aside $125 each paycheck (assuming you get paid 2X a month). $125 might seem like a lot, but if you can cut from multiple places (i.e. reducing Starbucks trips, canceling $10/month Netflix account, eating out less, etc.) its more manageable.

Good luck saving. If you start today you’re dreams are closer than they were yesterday.

For other tips and tricks spend a few minutes reading what fellow travel bloggers have to say:

 

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