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How To Save Money For A Vacation Of Your Dreams?

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Travel is a dear passion of mine that I don’t get to enjoy as much for one reason or another. I totally envy those who can afford to travel all over the world. Maybe one day.

And how about those who in Europe? How nice is it to be a few [driving] hours away from a different country … in all directions? Ok, a bit of an exaggeration, but it’s definitely more convenient to travel across Europe if you already live there. For those, like myself, who live in the U.S., we are left to pay high ticket prices on airline tickets and coordinating complex travel arrangements.

Our Trip

Just last year, we finally gave in and really made it a priority to go on our dream trip. Fine, I’ll admit, it was more like me “whining and crying” for a few weeks before my husband agreed. Where is it that we wanted to go – you may wonder … It was the Maldives. Forget the ticket prices to Europe, they’re cheap in comparison to getting to the Maldives islands.

Let me set a little bit of context (and maybe brag a little): the Maldives is a tropical nation in the Indian Ocean that is mainly composed of small islands, 1,190 in total to be exact. It is theorized that due to global warming, in just a few decades all of Maldives islands will be underwater. For this reason, the Maldives has often been termed the “vanishing paradise.”

There is not an easy way to get to the Maldives, especially getting to one of those 1,190 islands. The further away your “hotel island” is from Male (the main island), the higher the cost of you getting to your hotel because you’ll need to be flown to it rather than taken there by boat. And then there are the hotel costs. Long story short: a trip to the Maldives can get super expensive!

After watching some YouTube travel series about a couple traveling to the Maldives and talking about their amazing experiences, I was determined that we must go. We now needed to figure out how we’re going to find the money.

In this post, I’d like to share our experience about what it took to save for our dream vacation to the Maldives, and I hope that you find these tips useful.

Create a budget

One of the first steps to planning a vacation is to have a good idea of how much the trip would cost. It’s important to have a realistic expectation about how much the airline tickets and hotel prices cost at different times of the year.

For example, if you plan a trip to Mexico, your trip would be cheaper in the latter part of the year so you may plan your vacation around that time. Create an Excel spreadsheet (leave your email below to get your FREE Budgeting Template) or use a notebook to create a list of potential expenses.


    Things you should consider when creating your budget:

    • Airline ticket prices 
    • Hotel Stays
    • Additional services that you may want to splurge on (ex: spa, dinner for two, etc.)
    • Trips outside the resort (ex: tours, adventure trips, etc.)
    • Meals
    • Tip $ (even at all-inclusive hotels, servers often expect for you to leave them a tip for serving you)
    • Souvenirs

    If you need more help on budgeting for your trip, I created a whole post (with a Free Budgeting template) on how to budget – check this out.

    Set a Goal Date

    It’s important to have a goal date in mind by the time that you need to reserve travel. Think of it as a “no turning back” deadline. My husband and I gave ourselves about 6 months to save for our trip. Believe me when I say this, but having a goal date in mind will help you drive your purchasing decisions. You must give yourself a deadline; otherwise, you will tend to make “exceptions” here and there. But knowing that the deadline is set in stone, you will be more likely to stick to the plan.

    When you browse the web and see something that you want to order, you should be asking yourself:

    • Do I absolutely need this?
    • Can this wait?
    • Would I rather spend my money on this or go on vacation in x months?

    Figure out How Much You’ll Need to Save Each Month

    Now that you know have a better idea of how much you’ll need and when you need it by, take the amount that you need to save and divide by the amount of time that you have.For example, in order to save for a $5,000 vacation and having a goal date that is 6 months out:

    • $5,000 / 6 months = $833 a month that you’ll need to save.

    Then decide: 

    • Is that a reasonable amount for you to save? 
    • Do you need to go back and revise your trip budget? Could you skip the all-inclusive option (if applicable)?
    • How much do you normally save at the end of the month, after you’ve paid out all of your expenses?
    • Is there anything that you can pass on for the next 6 months to help you save? (ex: eat more at home vs going out)

    Begin Saving

    1. Remind Yourself Daily

    The next step is really to stick to your schedule by keeping the end goal in mind. You can do this by putting a post-it on your bathroom mirror reminding you about what you’re trying to achieve (this actually works for all kinds of goals, not just budgeting). This way, every morning that you wake up, you are reminded about staying that today is another day to stay on budget to get you that much closer to your end goal: vacation of your dreams.

    2. Use Cash

    Keep cash in your wallet so that you are not tempted to use your the seemingly bottomless credit card. It’s also easier to track of, as you can allow yourself to keep a limited amount each day . Even if you are tempted to buy something during the day and you’re out of cash, it’ll give you another day to think whether you really need to be wasting your money away on that item. Cash works wonders.

    3. Use Technology to Help You Budget

    I am a big proponent for using technology to help me save money. I use the mobile app called Digit which analyzes what goes in and out of your bank account (via an algorithm), then makes small withdrawals and places them in your separate “account.” You can use the same logic above to help you save.

    The app allows you to indicate how much money you’d like to save and by what date. Digit does the rest.

    Other mobile apps that you should check out:

    • Mint
    • Mvelopes
    • Wally
    • Spendee


    Regardless of how you choose to save money, going on your dream vacation is totally possible although it does require some work. But if you keep the end-goal in mind, it’s totally achievable and your vacation will feel so much more worth it.Are you planning a trip? Where are you hoping to go?

    Leave a Comment!

    I love hearing from you and as always would love to learn your ideas, perspectives, and comments. And if you just want to say “hi” – would love to take the opportunity to say “hi” back!

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