7 Ways To Increase Your Travel Budget Savings and budgeting

While taking a vacation is believed to provide an escape from the stressors of everyday life, managing a growing travel budget can be anything but relaxing.

In fact, the 2017 Stress in America study conducted by the American Psychological Association found that 62% of Americans see money as the number one source of stress. And for those who don’t plan their vacations in advance, money can often become a major concern and a source of debt.

While charging travel expenses to a credit card may seem like an ideal solution to taking the stress out of travel planning, this tactic can create a greater financial burden as interest charges pile up and , ultimately, cause greater anxiety when invoices arrive in the mail.

Fortunately, with a little research, forward thinking, and expert information, there are ways to increase your travel budget without compromising the quality of vacation experiences. Read on for some smart tips to cut spending and budget for a vacation that increases your travel budget even more.

Keep a separate travel account. Instead of scrambling to figure out how you’re going to pay for a trip at the last minute before you book, create a specific account for the trip and save throughout the year.

“It is essential that you keep your vacation fund separate from your other savings account,” says Leslie Tayne, debt settlement lawyer and managing director of Tayne Law Group. “The best way to deal with unforeseen costs is to be prepared, so that it doesn’t take anything away from your [allocated] vacation funds. “

Chelsea Hudson, a shopping expert at the cashback site TopCashback.com, suggests putting the change in any cash transaction into your vacation savings to help make it grow faster. Whenever you break a big bill and get $ 1 or $ 5 back, drop the extra change into a jar at home to add to your travel fund, she says.

Meanwhile, Jenn Earley, owner of Cultured Vacations travel agency, recommends using the so-called envelope method. “Whenever you get paid, put money away in an envelope,” she says. “Try something like $ 40 per pay period. At the end of the year, you might have enough for a round trip flight to a place like Barbados or even Paris,” she adds.

Take advantage of the rewards programs. When used strategically, credit card rewards programs that offer points for daily purchases can help you increase your travel budget and offset major vacation costs, including airline tickets. and hotel costs. For example, the AAdvantage MileUp card from Citi and American Airlines allows cardholders to earn 2 miles for every dollar spent at groceries and with American Airlines. “Those miles can add up quickly, helping you pay for your next vacation much sooner,” says Stephanie O’Connell, Money Expert, Author and Speaker at StefanieOconnell.com. Meanwhile, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers two points for travel and meals at affiliated restaurants and one point per dollar spent on all other purchases.

Plus, you can double your reward points when you shop at cash back sites like Ebates.com and Swagbucks.com. Both sites allow you to accumulate points for any purchase you make through their online portals, which can be redeemed for gift cards from merchants such as Amazon, Target, and Starbucks. You can then use these travel gift cards to pay for vacation expenses, such as dining expenses and travel activities.

Increase your cash flow. Finding extra space to pay for a vacation can seem like a daunting task, but increasing your income can help solve this problem. For example, you could ask your employer for a raise, look for self-employment opportunities, or sell your old or unused property, suggests Tayne. “Whichever route you decide to take, good planning and time management will be essential to increasing your income and increasing your travel funds,” she says.

Check out online markets like Upwork for Freelance Work or shop for people in your area through TaskRabbit.com. When it comes to selling unused items, post clothes and shoes on sites like Poshmark or ThredUp and gadgets on Gazelle, or try eBay and the OfferUp app to sell a variety of housewares.

Reduce monthly expenses. If your budget feels tight with limited funds to pay for a trip, it’s time to rethink your monthly spending. Beth Whitman, travel expert and founder of WanderTours and Wanderlust and Lipstick, a site that provides travel tips and stories aimed at inspiring and empowering female travelers, says she is making a conscious effort to cut household expenses. and keep only the recurring services that matter. more. For example, she canceled the cable and changed mobile operator to reduce her bills. This freed up extra money in her budget to help her save for family travel, so that she doesn’t feel too thin.

Leverage your network. Check in with family and friends who live in popular destinations to see if they would be ready to welcome you on your trip, suggests O’Connell. Since hotel stays are one of the biggest travel expenses in any vacation budget, saving on accommodation will give you more room in your budget to prioritize experiences. “They may even offer you to use their home while they’re on vacation and can have some great insider tips on where to go or restaurants to try,” she says.

Alternatively, you can search for babysitting opportunities to reduce accommodation costs through HouseCarers.com, a site that connects owners with reliable babysitters.

Choose strategically where you are going. O’Connell recommends visiting countries where the cost of living is lower and which offer cheaper daily expenses, such as those in South and Central America and Southeast Asia, which allows you to further stretch your travel funds. Keep in mind that many popular destinations are experiencing an offseason, during which you may enjoy cheaper plane tickets, cheaper accommodation, and even offers on dining and entertainment.

Sarah Moe, business and money coach at Flauk, a company that helps entrepreneurs launch their businesses, suggests using the Hopper app to identify the cheapest time of year to visit a particular destination. “Their calendar displays the cheapest dates to travel and lets you set notifications, so you know when to buy a cheaper plane ticket,” says Moe.

Talk to the locals. Before spending your hard-earned vacation dollars, you want to make sure that your schedule is filled with interesting activities and sightseeing. The only catch: travel activities can get expensive.

Before your trip, start monitoring sites like Groupon for budget deals on popular attractions, dining, and entertainment in your destination city, suggests Tayne. “Not only will you be able to get big discounts on things like things to do, museums and restaurants, but it can also be a great way to find places to go and things to try,” she says.

Whitman also points out that talking to local residents can help you discover free or inexpensive things to do. “Ask locals for suggestions on what they like to do, as they’re more likely to point you to hidden gems that don’t cost a fortune rather than more touristy activities,” says Whitman.

Alternatively, using apps like Like A Local to find free or cheap things to do around town is a smart way to cut your travel expenses even further.