So you want to save for your dream trip, but don’t know where to start? Amid the unprecedented coronavirus lockdown, the fact is that we don’t yet know when global travel will be back to normal. With these 7 easy tricks, now can be the perfect time to start saving and planning to make your next bucket list holiday a reality without breaking the bank. We use these tricks every time we start thinking about our next trip, and we’re finding it’s a great way to stay motivated during these unprecedented times so we hope you find them useful too!
Plan your trip
This might seem obvious, but it’s so often overlooked. Where do you want to go? How long do you want to spend there? Where will you stay, what will you do, and how will you get there? You don’t want to be planning too much – an overplanned trip can destroy the spontaneity that makes travel so rewarding – but you do want to have a clear idea of your key accommodation, transport and activity plans.
Make a budget
Even though you’ve planned your trip, you can’t save effectively for your trip without knowing how much it’s going to cost. The first step for this is to put an indicative price on each component of your trip. Have a look at websites like SkyScanner to get an idea of flight costs, check out sites like Booking.com or AirBnB for accommodation costs, and see travel guides like our country travel guides to get a picture of how much your day-to-day expenses will be. Where possible, book cancellable accommodation to lock in an initial price for one of your largest expenses. For your day-to-day expenses, don’t forget to build in a buffer of 20% or so, you never know what you might be tempted to buy when you’re on the road!
Now that you have indicative costs for your holiday, see where you can find savings to reduce the overall cost of your trip. For hotels, see if you can find lower cost options by booking direct with hotels (tip – try calling or emailing them, as many hotels have agreements that they won’t advertise lower fares than on aggregators), or by booking non-refundable options. For any activities you have planned, you might be able to find discounts through vouchers (see providers like Klook for some great discounts). And for your flights, try alternative dates too avoid peak prices (for example, you’d generally want to avoid major holidays, and weekdays can be a lot cheaper than weekends in some cases).
Use reward credit card sign up bonuses
Another great way to save on costs is through reward credit cards. Many reward credit cards offer large sign-up point bonuses that can be used to bring the cost of flights down to just the tax component. The offers differ by country, but have a search for “point hacks” and your country name to get an idea of what’s available. For example, in Australia, St George Bank recently offered an 80,000 Qantas Point sign-up bonus for their Amplify Signature credit card. This sign-up bonus could be used to get a return economy flight from Australia to almost anywhere in Asia (you just cover the taxes), or more than cover a one-way business class flight in the region. Best of all, they offer two Qantas lounge passes to give your trip that bit of extra luxury from the start! Depending on how you use them, points can be used to significantly reduce the cost of flights, which in turn are typically one of the major costs of your holiday.
To reduce the effective cost of your trip even further, have a think about what you can save from your regular budget while you’re away. For example, you might be able to rent our your home or your car during your trip to gain some offsetting income. You might be able to turn off your electricity during your break, or suspend gym memberships and domestic health insurance (though you should always have travel insurance, and seek independent financial advice on the tax and other implications of any of these offsets if your’e unsure).
Use a savings bank account
This is more of a psychological thing, but still going to be super useful for the vast majority of people if, like us, you see money in your regular bank account as money to spend! Think about setting up an account with a different bank (as long as there are no fees, of course), or at least a separate savings bank account with your regular bank – most banks should offer this for little or no cost. When you find you have a bit of spare money, think about sending it over to your holiday savings account. To be honest, this isn’t going to lead to you earning a lot of interest (at least not at current interest rates), but it will really help with the discipline and psychological aspects of working toward your savings goal to pay for your dream holiday!
Pay your savings account regularly
This is the ultimate savings trick, yet it’s so simple! Every time you get paid, send some money straight to your separate savings bank account. Once you’ve calculated your ‘out of pocket’ trip cost after discounts, rewards points and offsets, divide the remaining amount by your . For example, let’s say you’ve calculated after all of your discounts, rewards and offsets, a 2-week trip will cost $2,000. If, for example, you’re paid weekly and you have 6 months until your trip, you should send around $80 to your travel bank account every time you get paid. After 26 weeks, or 6 months, of keeping this up, you’ll have over $2,000 in your account!
Saving for a trip can be difficult and it’s easy to come home with a pile of debt. With these easy tricks though, you can be confident that you can work toward your dream trip without breaking the bank! Remember anything in this article should not be considered financial advice, and you should do your own research and get your own advice to decide what’s best for you. Let us know in the comments – what are your secrets for saving for your travel?
One final note…
The international travel situation is constantly evolving throughout the COVID-19 crisis. We might not know exactly when we can go on our dream trip yet, but it’s a perfect time to start saving and planning for your next adventure. We’re frequently researching the best options for travel once it’s safe again (check out our article on the 5 destinations to travel to once borders reopen), so be sure to follow our blog and our social media accounts (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) for the latest updates! Thanks for reading to the end, here’s to a Better Break soon!