Hey girl, hey!
Everybody needs a vacation from time to time. I mean, you know the saying… all work and no play makes a dull girl, right? Plus, as a young adult, I strongly believe traveling is good for the soul and teaches you many life lessons that you’d never learn had you not visited other places or experienced other cultures.
Yes, we all know traveling ain’t cheap, but girlfriends, you don’t have to substitute paying your bills in order to afford a vacation… just making a few adjustments to your budget and taking some time to plan should do the trick. Let me show you how:
Recently we went on a 7 day vacation to the beautiful island of Puerto Rico! Well… it wasn’t just a vacation, Dee and I actually went to get married (but more on that in a later post)! Anyway, some of my friends, who also happen to be my clients, wanted to make sure they could afford to be able to attend and witness our union. Annnnd I’m sure they were all in desperate need of a well-deserved vacation, especially after the way this year has gone. So what better excuse than to attend a destination wedding, right?!
But first thing’s first, when planning for a trip, you always want to do your initial research on how much it will cost you to get there and how much you should plan for spending each day you’re there. You can research package deals on travel sites like Hotwire or Expedia to get an idea of the trip’s total cost, but make sure to keep an eye out regularly, because travel prices tend to fluctuate, especially as your departure date gets closer. Then you can do some research on things to do and pricing. Once you get an estimated total of what everything will cost, you can begin what I like to call… the planning and saving phase.
In our case, in order to make sure each person attending our wedding could pay for their trip entirely, as well as have ample spending money for food and entertainment while there, we (my clients and I are always a team) created a “Puerto Rico” line item in their spreadsheet and began setting aside chunks of money from each paycheck until we reached their financial goal by a predetermined date prior to the wedding.
The worst thing you can do is travel using a credit card. You do not…. (I repeat)… do not want to be paying for travel experiences months or even years after the trip has long been over. So do yourself a favor, set a timeline and start saving girlfriend!
The way you decide to separate your travel money is completely up to you, but I have a couple of suggestions to make things easier. Some of my clients actually have a whole savings or checkings account dedicated to just travel expenses. If you travel often… I would strongly suggest this option. But on the other hand, some of my clients choose to lump their travel savings together with their regular savings, but have the amounts separated on their spreadsheet so they know what amount is allocated specifically for travel. Kinda like the example below:
So although your savings account may have a total of $1,275... you'll know that according to your spreadsheet, $425 of that money is allocated for travel. Make sense?
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The amount to set aside per paycheck will vary from person to person depending on your specific budget. If you can only set aside small amounts per paycheck in order not to overextend your budget, then perhaps your planning and savings phase will be a little longer. But on the flip side, if you can afford to throw some stacks towards your travel plans… then girlfriend, your dream vacation may be right around the corner.
What’s great is that each person that vacationed with us, came back with extra money in their pockets because they ended up not spending all the money that was budgeted (whoo hoo!). Even though every dime wasn’t spent… everyone still had a great time and was able to do all that they wanted to do without feeling financially restricted. How awesome is that? I mean really… who comes back with extra money from vacation?