By Ana Snyder, M.S., Exercise Physiology; CPT, FNS
I love taking time off. I give it my all at work, and if I go too long without a vacation I get dull and lose my edge. That’s why I’m always planning for my next vacation. And, the best time to plan your vacation is when you’re stuck at home. For many people the biggest problem is money. I need to get the most out of my time off so I can be my best person when I am at work. Over the years I’ve tried and tested a lot of different ways to save money for vacations. I’ve broken down how to budget for a trip into five key areas:
The first and most obvious step is to create a budget. Many people live paycheck to paycheck and don’t do enough to track their spending. You can easily find good tips on saving money, but unless you know where your money is going, it is hard to follow through.
You will also be able to afford more trips when you know how to plan a vacation on a budget. You may find you’re wasting a lot more than you think on things that just aren’t that valuable or important to you. If this is the case, the simple act of creating a budget may save you an enormous amount of money. A secret side effect of having a budget is that you get a better idea of where you’re spending your time. Finding out where you are wasting time is just as important as saving money, because as everyone knows, time is money. But unlike money, time wasted can never be replaced.
The philosopher David Hume said anticipation of pleasure is, in itself, immensely pleasurable. What this means to me is that when you get back from vacation you should start planning your next trip. As soon as you start planning, the pleasure of anticipation begins.
And the earlier you prepare, the easier it will be to save money. Last-minute deals and flying standby can be really cheap, but unless you have a really flexible vacation planned, jumping on a last-minute deal can lead to a lot of unexpected expenses.
A penny saved is a penny earned.—Benjamin Franklin
Knowing how to save money for a vacation is important, but it’s easier when you spend less money when you are on vacation.
Are you getting away or running away? Wellness doesn’t just help your body and soul, it’s easy on the pocketbook, too. If you go on vacation to hide from your problems, you aren’t doing yourself or anybody else any favors. Take care of your emotional, mental, and spiritual situation before you jump on that plane. If not, you’ll find your ability to enjoy travel and time off to be severely limited.
Many mindfulness retreats are quite reasonably priced, and if you use one of these instead of taking a globe-trotting vacation, you can not only save money, but also find yourself coming home happier, more rested, and with less anxiety. This is the kind of vacation that prepares you for work in ways that can make your career shine, and possibly even earn more money.
The lower your stress and anxiety are, the less often you will feel the need to splurge and indulge yourself in order to make it through difficult times or unexpected hassles. Many wellness trends are based on cutting-edge research, so keeping up to date and informed will help you take advantage of the newest ideas.
You can also make small changes in your daily routine that will improve wellness.
If you enjoy coffee shops, look for healthy hot drinks with less fat and sugar than the standard fare. You can treat yourself without sacrificing progress toward your fitness goals.
When you take the time to properly care for yourself you’ll find you spend less money and get more enjoyment out of life.
Research shows that experiencing life makes you happier than when you collect things. Science backs up the old adage that “to give is better than to receive,” and brings more lasting joy. Remembering that experiences are better than things is one of the most powerful ways to save money. Volunteering, for example, doesn’t cost anything but feels much better than going to the movies.
People love to go out to bars and restaurants, but these activities are often the biggest drain on your bank account. One way to budget for a trip is to replace some of these costly events with less expensive, and often free (and healthy) activities. If you volunteer, hike, or go to the park, you’ll not only save money, you’ll burn calories and boost your mood, too.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive. If you invest in some good kitchen tools and plan ahead, healthy meal prep can be cheap, easy, and fun. Vegetarian instant pot recipes can help you explore the versatility of the instapot while improving your overall nutrition and slimming down. If you take advantage of fall and winter vegetables, you can spend more time getting out of your house and out of your own head. Maybe socialize more with people down at the farmer’s market while you do your shopping. Eating seasonal produce helps you stay more connected to nature, and you may find few people around you want to do the same too. You can use it as a way to expand your social circle to include more like-minded people.
The right fitness equipment can help you save money, too. The ShakeSphere shaker bottle allows you to mix your own protein shakes instead of buying them pre-made. You can not only save money but also tailor your post-workout nutrition to meet your own particular needs.
Take control of your life and do things for yourself instead of paying someone else. You’ll build new skills and confidence in your abilities while saving money at the same time.
Be honest about your spending. When you create your travel budget, include an estimate for the spontaneous purchases and emergency expenses that typically pop up on trips. There are a lot of unexpected things that happen on vacation, and if you can anticipate those and plan your budget accordingly, you can be more confident that your budget is exactly what you need and the most you will spend. This will decrease your anxiety, make you happier, and help you enjoy the anticipation of your next vacation.
If your honest budge is still too high, consider more budget-friendly vacations so you can get the same benefits of a break without breaking the bank.
By creating a mindset of saving, you can change your entire way of life, save more money, and get more out of the dollars you spend. It’s similar to diet and exercise; we sacrifice things we don’t need right now in order to make a better life tomorrow. And once you make it a part of your lifestyle, it doesn’t even feel like a sacrifice.
There are many other ideas you can incorporate, but these five tips have given me the best results when budgeting for vacations. If you want more ideas, then watch the video below:
How many of these ideas do you already implement, and what changes can you make to do even better? Improve your focus today and see how fast your savings can grow.
BONUS: To keep organized, use these ideas and try a money saving app.