We totally get it. There’s nothing more exciting than going on a grand adventure with your friends, family or loved one. Travel changes the way we see the world, and gives us perspective in our lives. If travel is what you love to do, more power to you. Get out there and explore!
Americans are overall pretty lousy about taking time off of work for vacation. In fact, according to a recent survey, U.S. employees only take about half of their annual vacation time and PTO. Only half! And 61% of the folks who do take their paid time off continue to work while they are vacationing. What happened to that whole work-life balance thing we keep hearing about?
Millennials are working to change all that. They travel more often than any other generation, and spend about $200 billion a year on vacations alone. This is a good thing! There is absolutely zero shame in spending your hard earned money on travel, so long as you plan for it in advance. Let’s face it: paying for big trips costs big dough.
But fear not! Here are a few simple steps to make funding those adventures doable:
- Step 1: Plan it out. How much can you really put aside each year for travel? The easiest way to figure out that number is by setting it as a goal in your financial plan, and seeing how the rest of your financial picture is affected. With all the other stuff you’ve got going on (think monthly bills and expenses, saving for retirement, paying down credit card debt or student loans, saving for a house), you need to know what you can realistically put aside.
- Step 2: Start a travel fund. Not earth shattering by any means but do you have one? Make this a separate account away from your everyday bank account. That way it provides a barrier to accessing the funds for other expenses. Plus, watching your exclusive travel fund money steadily grow over time as you save is extremely satisfying.
- Step 3: Automate your contributions. We are big fans of automated saving of any kind. Maybe you put aside a certain amount after each payday. Perhaps you save your tax return each year. Whatever your plan is, automate your contributions to your travel fund account if at all possible. That way, you’re paying yourself before you pay everyone else. Kudos to you! Plus, if it’s automated, it’s one less thing you need to remember to take care of. People tend to spend what‘s left in their checking account at the end of the month. Taking it out automatically helps prevent you from spending those funds on something less important than that big trip to London.
- Step 4: Stay within your budget. It’s vacation planning time! While you surf the web and monitor your travel apps for the best deals, make sure the money you’re spending isn’t going to exceed how much you’ve saved. The last thing you should do is just close your eyes and start charging things on your credit card, because you don’t have as much as you’d like saved up. There are loads of places you can go without racking up debt. Aim for those for now, and hold off on the more expensive trips until your savings allow for it. Let’s be blunt, a whopping credit card bill is the last thing you want waiting for you when you come home from your wonderful trip.
- Step 5: Enjoy your vacay. You’ve worked hard for the money. You’ve been disciplined about saving. Now go and enjoy it.
If you would like more help with planning out your travel finances, just reach out to us. Best of luck and Bon Voyage!