How to Fast Track Your Vacation Planning

It may not feel like it, but summer’s coming up…and fast. This means that, if you’re a person who vacations, you should absolutely be planning it or at least thinking about what you’d like to do during your trip. Don’t waste any time and fast track your vacation planning so that you’ll be better prepared no matter where you’re going or what you want to do!

Vacations are an important part of life so don’t let anyone tell you differently. While vacation may mean something different in different seasons of life, it’s still important to plan getaways (even if it just means camping at your local campground for a couple of days). Breaking the monotony of your routine can help you refresh and even make it easier to get through the day-to-day. Plus, it’ll give you something to look forward to while you’re planning it, something to enjoy while you’re in the moment, and something to reminisce about when you’re back home.

Include Vacation in Your Financial Goals

How does it go…all work and no play? Yeah, we all know how that ended. If you don’t already get the point, taking a break and enjoying yourself is so important. But, what happens if you’re in the middle of trying to reach a lofty financial goal? Many advisors would tell you to put off the vacation until your financial goals have been met, but I’ve never been a believer of that philosophy. In fact, I believe that by getting out and enjoying a vacation now, you’ll be more likely to come back ready to better achieve those goals.

But it takes planning.

Plan. That. Vacation. But do so responsibly.

That starts by including a vacation line item in your budget. Even if means a few dollars each month, putting a small amount away for vacations (and other fun excursions) regularly can quickly add up. Sure, you might not be able to go off to Hawaii for three weeks, but a night away at a nearby hotel or campground can have a similar effect.

Speed Up Your Savings

Ok, you’re taking a vacation. Great. But, it’s April and your vacation is planned for June. That gives you two months to financially prepare. 60 days. That’s it. Before you give up and admit defeat, know that you can do it – it’ll just take work.

Consider the following things you can do to help you save for that vacation:

Sell Some Stuff

Use Facebook marketplace or a yard sale to get rid of your old junk. You can potentially make hundreds of dollars doing this (don’t ask me how I know…).

Cut Your Expenses

Sure, we all know the whole save x-thousand dollars a year by cutting out your daily coffee and it gets old especially when looking forward to that coffee is what keeps you going on busy days.

So, if you aren’t going to cut that latte, where will you cut your expenses? My guess is a quick look at your current expenses will give you plenty of things to cut back on. Consider going vegetarian for one meal a week to save a few bucks. Save a little more by ironing your clothes yourself instead of having them ironed at the dry cleaner. And then make sure every little bit you save goes directly into that vacation fund.

Start a Side Hustle

Know how to sew? Make stuffed memory bears or face masks or, heck, if you’re really good, offer alterations. Have a degree? Offer tutoring services. You can even do this virtually if you’re short on time. Successful side hustles earn into the thousands a month and, while you can’t expect that right away, you can earn some extra money for your vacation.

Don’t Use Debt

One thing that many people do is put off saving for vacation and just put it all on their credit cards. Don’t do this. Make sure that if you absolutely do have to put it on your credit card that you’re able to pay off the entire amount that you charge immediately following your vacation. The last thing you want to do is spend the next year drowning in your financial situation, just because you took a vacation.

Organize, Organize, Organize

Make sure that you’re organized for your vacation. Not only should you know where you’re going to stay and what you’ll be doing, but you should also set a budget and know how much money the entire thing is going to cost you. Plan out how much you’re going to spend per day and on what.

  • Will you buy groceries when you get to your vacation spot? Or eat out?
  • Have you been there before? Do you want souvenirs?
  • Are there taxes or gratuities associated with your stay or your activities?
  • What are some issues that could come up while you’re gone?

Knowing the answer to each of these questions before you set out on your vacation can help make it easier for you to spend only what you’ve set aside. Also, consider grabbing my Vacation Planning Worksheet to help you plan, and don’t forget the itineraries so that you can stay on track!

Use Tools and Apps

While they do come with their own caveats, tools like Priceline, Airbnb, and Google Flights can all help you save money on your vacation. They have deals and filters that you can use to find the best price and the best options. Take advantage of everything these tools have to offer while making your vacation go more smoothly.

Planning your vacation is an important part of having a successful life both emotionally and financially. Taking time to relax and enjoy a getaway can make a world of difference in how you’re able to handle the mundane. From quick trips to a nearby town all the way to elaborate Caribbean escapes, you can fast track your vacation planning in just a few steps!