The Professional's Guide to Saving for a Dream Vacation
Studies show that working professionals are taking less time off, but it's not just work schedules keeping them from taking vacations. Sometimes, the price tag makes it difficult to get away. Saving year-round is the best way to go to ensure that you'll be able to hit the beach or take that vacation you've always dreamed of when the summer months roll around. Ned Gandevani, Program Chair of the Master of Science in Finance, offers tips for saving for your dream vacation:
1. Motivate yourself to save – Sticking to your savings plan can often be the hardest part of saving. You may need a partner or someone who can motivate and support you in sticking to your goals. The best way to stay motivated is to envision your end goal. Print out photos of your dream destination or an activity you wish to do with your savings and put it somewhere visible. The constant reminder will help you.
2. Automatic savings – A good strategy to save money over an extended period of time is to set up an automatic withdrawal from your bank account or payroll check into a separate account. Withdrawing a small sum of money each pay period will afford you a great deal of savings without really noticing it. For example, if you get a coffee every day, that's approximately $20 dollars a week. If you skip your coffee for a month, you're able to save about $80.
3. Reward programs – Many retailers, credit cards and service providers offer rewards programs that you can redeem on flights, hotels and vacations. Capitalize on your points by consolidating all your reward programs into one or two accounts that you use in order to build up your credit. Having multiple accounts will only accumulate a small amount of points.
4. Pare down to the essentials – Review the plans you've signed up for and comb through to keep the ones that are necessary. Downsize your cable or data service for your cell phone to the minimum you need. Often times we sign up for services that we do not need. Maybe you signed up for an extra movie package with your cable service but hardly have the time to watch. Cut the extras from your accounts and you'll save a great deal of money that you can put toward your next trip.
5. Be prepared to take advantage of last-minute details – Often times, the best deals are for last-minute trips. Airline seats and cruise line cabins are perishable like any other travel product. It's better for companies to sell to you at a lower price and fill the plane or ship, rather than taking off with empty spaces. If you can be flexible, this tactic is a great way to get a good deal on travel.