It’s February already, and how many of your New Year’s resolutions have fallen by the wayside already? Well, we won’t dwell on those. But if a dream holiday is on your wish list for 2018, we’ve got some tips for making it a reality.
With a bit of savvy saving and smart holiday planning, that trip of a lifetime could be closer than you think. Here’s how.
Be specific about where and when
If you’re vague about your plans, how can they ever happen? Don’t just tell yourself you want to travel more this year; pick a place and date to aim for.
Whether it’s escaping the winter to go island hopping in sunny Greece, or getting some perfect Instagrams set against the cherry blossoms in Japan, you need a specific target and deadline to work towards.
Saving for your dream holiday
It goes without saying that you’re going to need some funds to pay for this trip. Here are some ways you can speed up your savings:
1. Start today
Has your holiday planning taken priority over your financial planning? If so, you need to take a step back and make sure your budget is in line with your goals. Don’t have a budget yet? This step-by-step guide to creating a budget is a good place to start.
2. Separate your travel savings fund
Opening a separate bank account for whatever you’re saving towards is a good idea for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it creates a physical barrier and makes it that bit harder to just dip into your savings for an emergency cappuccino. Secondly, it’s easy to see how much you have actually saved and you can start visualising how you’re going to spend the cash.
3. Pay attention to all the money-saving tips you can find
Click-bait articles can be pretty annoying and pointless, but they can also contain some hidden gems. Have a quick read through any savings-related ones that catch your eye. You know, ‘10 things stopping you from getting out of debt’ or ‘You’ll be amazed you never thought of these 18 ways to save’.
Even if 90% of what you read is obvious, irrelevant or downright weird, make a note of anything that does strike you as a useful tip you could actually implement. Put the list on your fridge or bathroom mirror so you don’t forget about it.
4. Start making some changes
Don’t try to apply every tip tomorrow – that’s just setting yourself up for failure. Instead, make changes at a more realistic rate – perhaps one a week. Regularly review which changes are actually saving you money, and whether they’re easy to keep up. Some sacrifices might just not be worth the savings they produce, so don’t feel that you have to keep up with every little thing you try.
After a while you’ll hopefully find you have more income free to put towards your travel savings.
Ways to save when holiday planning
As your savings fund builds you can turn your attention to actually planning your trip. Again, we have some tips for making your budget go that bit further.
1. Look at cheap holiday packages
Often dream holidays involve exotic destinations and off-the-beaten-track itineraries. Planning this type of holiday can be tricky, but try to make use of discount package sites where possible. Groupon, Expedia and Lastminute are all good places to start your comparison shopping.
2. Stay alert
Price alerts are your friend when you’re trying to save on travel. All you need to do is enter your dates and location, and the computers do all the hard work. You’ll get a notification if prices drop for your chosen itinerary, and you can decide whether it’s good enough to book.
Flights are where you can probably save the most, so make finding a cheap airfare your priority. Skyscanner and Kayak both send flight price alerts direct to your inbox. Just be ready to buy when the right deal comes along.
3. Grab some luxury if you can
Splurging on an epic holiday doesn’t mean you have to travel on a budget, particularly if you got a great deal on your flights. But don’t just book luxury hotels at full price; set up hotel price alerts so you can jump on any great luxury deals that come along. Hotels can have sales at any time, and room prices usually fluctuate according to demand. Kayak and Hotelscombined both let you set up price drop alerts for hotels.
- If you have your heart set on an epic holiday, start by choosing a location and date.
- Set up a budget and start saving straight away.
- Put your savings into a separate bank account for your holiday fund.
- Read all the money-saving tips you can, and implement them one by one. Keep the ones that work for you.
- Use holiday package sites to shop around for the best deals.
- Set up price alerts for flights and hotels so you’re the first to know when prices drop. You can save a lot and even get a bargain luxury deal this way.