Traveling is a huge part of my life. I love to get out, explore, see new places and meet new people. I love to get off the beaten path and immerse myself in different cultures. Fortunately, I married a man that is just as adventurous and just as curious.
When we first got onto a budget as a married couple, we were both concerned about how traveling would fit into our new lifestyle. How could we still travel and see the world while putting money away towards our future goals?
The simple solution: make traveling a separate goal in our budget.
Our budget is divided into many goals that we put money towards each month, such as baby’s college savings, retirement, investments, and now traveling. Traveling was just as important of a goal to us as the others, so it only made sense to include it in there. We want our son to be exposed to foreign languages and cultures as he grows up, just as we were given the opportunity growing up.
So how do we do it?
First, we give ourselves an annual budget for traveling. We divide that number by 12 and that’s how much we need to put away each month. That first year, we decided to save double each month so that we would have money that year to travel, but also save for the following year’s travel fund. That way, our travel fund would be fully funded in January for the next year.
I keep the current year’s travel fund in a regular savings account. I have a specific travel credit card that is only used for travel expenses and I pay that off in full each month using my travel fund. To save money for next year’s travel fund, I have a one-year CD that allows monthly additions and expires in January.
We now know exactly how much money we can use towards travel throughout the year. This money includes ALL travel: from weekend getaways, to traveling home for holidays, to big, international trips. We have to decide if we would rather put our travel money towards more convenient and direct flights or choose the least expensive option. I am the Queen at finding travel deals and I almost always choose the least expensive option. Just was the case this past summer. I saved a TON of money by traveling to Sweden with my baby on my lap and dealing with poor connections. It was a bit of a nightmare (check out my experience here), but it was only one long day and now we have plenty of money saved over for the rest of the year.
We are doing so well, in fact, that we are thinking about going to South America next month, assuming I can find a good deal. And yes, WE CAN DO THAT. We can take a last minute trip across the globe, because we’ve made a plan and stuck to our budget.
How do you save for travel?