How to save for your dream vacation Starting to save today can make your dream vacation a reality, sooner than later. Start saving today to make your dream vacation a reality. A relaxing beach, staggering mountain, or a European museum. Do you find yourself daydreaming about all the places you want to go? Sometimes it’s a big undertaking to get real with that travel bucket list and make your dream trip actually happen. Unexpected expenses, spontaneous splurges, and that daily eating out habit – you might be asking yourself, “how can I save money?” No matter what’s standing in between you and the travel experience of a lifetime, you can start making it happen today, with a savings plan. Being financially smart isn’t just about retirement plans and emergency funds. It’s also about finding ways to live the adventure you want. Here’s how you can do it. Set a goal amount or a goal date to save toward, and then build your savings plan by working backward. Say you’ve determined you need $1,000 for that Miami Beach vacation, start by saving a set amount each month until you hit your milestone. Or, if you know you want to get out of town about 9 months from now, try saving a bit each month until you hit that date, then assess how far and long you can go with your honeypot. Here’s Why Setting a goal amount or date is a simple way to put you on the path toward some well-deserved R&R and makes the dream a reality, in numbers. By having a savings plan and with an architecture that works for you (see below), you’ll watch your savings grow and begin to envision that exciting dream coming to fruition. Being excited about making a dream a reality can be a great motivation to start spending smart. You might find yourself visualizing what your money can actually do, and how far it can go, as your savings grows. Instead of that cash going toward grabbing a spendy iced mocha every morning, you might picture yourself grabbing hold of a zipline. Instead of buying a new (name your must-buy-now temptation of choice), you might dream about snagging tickets to a foreign film – in a foreign country. Savings plans work because they provide a framework that is tied directly to the goals that you create - so long-term goals can begin to outweigh in-the-moment pleasures. Try This Price out each part of your travels to estimate how much to save. This is the fun part: research how to get where you’re going, where you’ll stay, where you’ll eat, how you’ll get around, and how much extra coin you’ll want to have in your pocket. Calculate a ballpark estimate of these costs – and voila – you’ve got your goal amount to shoot for. Now the work... Figure out where you can make tweaks in your day-to-day budget. For example, if you’ve already figured out you have $75 of extra spending money a week, consider having your friends over for dinner rather than eating out and put those saved funds straight to your vacay account. When you know much you need, and when you want to have it by, you can be more intentional about your money and where it goes – especially with island sunsets on the brain. Save without thinking via transfers or direct deposit. Set up an auto-transfer through your work or bank to put aside a dollar amount or percentage before it even hits your pocket book. You’ll be less tempted to spend if it’s already stashed away. Open a separate vacation/travel account. It’s easy to open an extra bank account (often with perks), and with automatic transfers, you can watch your savings grow as if by magic. Plus, you’re going to feel like a baller with an extra bank account. You can even consider opening it with a separate institution than your checking account to make it even harder to access when budget busters arise. What Now? Spending and saving is all about finding a system that works for you. But what’s true for us all is that starting to save sooner can make the dream happen sooner. A dream vacation can feel a million years away, we know. But it’s not – by starting today, you’ll be closer than you have been yet to the experience of a lifetime. Dreaming of travel doesn’t have to be just a dream. A simple savings plan that you can act on today can make it a reality right now.