For thousands across North America, winter was particularly brutal this year—and that means many of you are dreaming of a tropical getaway. Or maybe you’ve always wanted to run with the bulls in Pamplona and you’re not getting younger.
Whatever your fantasy vacation—and however simple it may be—you’ll need some extra dollars and a bit of travel-planning savvy.
Most experts advise that you first calculate all the costs you will accrue—airfare, car rentals, food, hotels or Airbnb, attractions and activities, souvenirs and shopping, and parking or Uber fares.
Next, you will need to decide if you want to save the money over time or if you’d rather investigate a short-term loan. Once you have a realistic total, divide that cost by the number of months until you want to leave. This gives you what you’ll need to save each month.
And if you are considering a loan, look for a company like SkyCap Financial—a member of Smarter Loans—and one that is considered to be among the most trusted lenders in Canada. Companies listed with Smarter Loans have been vetted by financial experts, including journalists and industry professionals.
In addition, the company offers SkyCap University, a free online course aimed at improving financial literacy for SkyCap Financial clients. The course covers everything from creating a budget and dealing with credit to preparing for retirement. Click on the tab labeled Travel & Leisure to learn more.
If you prefer not to borrow, and there aren’t enough months left to hit your target date financially, consider pushing back your trip just a little. Or think about staying 10 days instead of two weeks. You could also book a hotel room with a kitchen and eat in.
Financial expert Dave Ramsey, known for his thrifty advice and Baby Steps to Financial Freedom, says it’s fine to dream of a vacation and even begin planning while you are paying off debt. To keep motivated, he suggests making a dream board.
“Print out pictures of San Francisco and make a collage to hang in your home,” Ramsey says. “It’s a beautiful city, so the inspiration can also serve as décor. Each time you see it, remind yourself that your current sacrifices are totally worth it.”
Naturally, in our oh-so-connected era, there are apps that will help you save for your trip. Digit lets you set up several funds for whatever your needs may be, from paying off your credit card to planning that epic trip to Thailand. Without changing how you spend, Digit automatically takes out tiny amounts of money directly from your bank account every day and stores it away.
And, finally, the editors at Travel & Leisure suggest you tell others about your plan. “There’s a whole body of research showing that if you tell someone what your goal is, and if you write it down, you’re much more likely to achieve it. Tell your mom, tell your kids, tell your friends and co-workers that you’re taking this trip.”
Soon enough, it will be bon voyage to you and happy trails.