4 Finance Experts Share Their Secrets For Hitting Your Dream Vacation Budget Goal


Jason is an adventure travel writer with a passion for exploring the world's most beautiful and remote destinations.

Whether you’re dreaming about an all-inclusive African safari or a round-the-world cruise, we all have that one dream vacation we’d love to experience. The only thing stopping most of us is cash

But with the right financial planning, that dream vacation is possible—you just need to know where to start. 

We’ve asked four finance experts to share their secrets for saving for a dream vacation, and we’re spilling them all in this round-up post.  

1. Set Up a Dedicated Travel Fund

First things first–set up a dedicated savings account for your holiday. Most banks allow you to set up additional savings accounts for free, so it should be easy to do. 

Give your new savings fund a specific name that reminds you about your dream vacation every time you open up your online banking, for example:

  • World Cruise Fund
  • African Safari Fund
  • Dream Trip to Venice Fund

This little reminder of what you’re saving for will help keep you on track long-term. 

Don’t forget to check whether you qualify for any kind of reward savings account. Some banks like Chase, US Bank, and AXOS offer rewards for new, qualifying sign-ups. 

2. Try a Savings Challenge

Now it’s time to get that travel fund filled. Go through your monthly budget and see how much you can sensibly put aside for your vacation. 

Remember, paying off debt before committing to a vacation savings fund is important, so you should only put money away that you can afford. 

If you struggle to put money away every month, try a savings challenge to keep yourself motivated. 

A popular one is the £1500 challenge. Start with $1 on a Monday, then $2 on Tuesday, all the way to $7 on Sunday. The following week, reset and start again. 

If you can commit to that savings challenge for an entire year, you’ll have $1,456 in your new vacation fund. 

3. Utilize Points for Traveling

If you already use a credit card, you could earn valuable travel points with your everyday spending. 

“With a Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card, you can earn 185,000 bonus points after you make qualifying expenditures. Using a points card for everyday purchases is a great way to pay for your travel experiences without using cash.” – Andy Medearis from Deals Points

It’s not just credit cards that can give you points for travelling; airline miles, hotel points, and transferable points can all stack up and go toward your dream vacation.  

In general, points and miles are worth about a cent each, so you need to rack up a lot of points to see tangible savings. But if you’re already making purchases or staying in hotels, why not get those rewards in the process?

4. Know Where to Splurge & Where to Save

You’ll need a savings goal for your dream vacation, so do some research and create a figure you can work toward. Then, figure out when you want to go – how many years do you have to save?

At this point, you can figure out exactly how much you need to save per year (and per month) to reach your goal. 

If your monthly or yearly savings goal is too much of a stretch, you have two options: extend your savings period or reduce the amount you spend. 

Here are a few tips on knowing where to save and where to splurge:

  • Location is key – always opt for cheaper accommodation in a central location. 
  • Look for free experiences – guided tours might be expensive, but are there free options for self-guided experiences?
  • Figure out your non-negotiables – perhaps you’d love to fly first class, and you’re willing to cut other areas to make this dream a reality. 

This trip is incredibly personal to you, so it’s up to you to determine how much you need to spend and where you’re willing to make sacrifices to help your budget. 

5. Ditch the Subscriptions

Did you know that the average American subscriber pays $924 a year for subscription services? That’s $77 a month for things like Netflix, Hulu, and Apple TV+. 

“One of the first things we look at when anyone wants to start saving money is how many monthly subscriptions they pay for. If you’re serious about saving for your dream vacation, ditch the streaming services and go for free (with ads) platform options instead.” – Michael Dinich from Wealth of Geeks

Streaming services have been bumping prices up consistently for years, and it’s eating into our budgets. 

If you simply can’t live without your favourite subscription, see if there’s a lower-tier option that would save even just $5 or $10 a month. Every little helps on the quest to save enough for your dream vacation!

6. Invest For a Retirement Trip

This tip works well if you’re planning to save for your dream trip and go when you retire. In that case, a regular savings account is doing your vacation fund a disservice. 

Since the average interest rate on a savings account is well below inflation, you’re losing purchasing power by around 2.63% each year. Put simply, your vacation fund won’t go as far in the future. 

Instead, you could make your money go further by investing it (of course, this option does come with more risks). 

“Stepping into the complicated world of investing can be overwhelming, but it can be life-changing with the right strategies. I went from a $45K portfolio to over $1 million in nine years – that’s the power of dividend growth investing.” – Ashley Akin from Dividend Earner

If you do want to begin investing, education is key. There are many stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds, so understanding how to choose the right options is essential. 

Always speak to a qualified broker if you’re interested in new investments but are unsure where to start.

7. Start a Side Hustle

From creating digital downloads to offering PA services, there are endless opportunities to make some extra cash from a side hustle online. 

But rather than using freelancer platforms that are crowded with underpriced providers, take matters into your own hands and focus on local clients. 

Reach out to businesses in your area and offer your services—whether it’s graphic design, copywriting, marketing, or event planning. You never know what side projects you could pick up. 

“We regularly help start-ups develop business plans, and our best advice is to start with a valuable offering. Create a professional-looking portfolio and be confident when pitching businesses – you never know what could grow into a successful new business.” – Chris Demetriou from Archimedia Accounts

Happy Savings!

The number one challenge most people face when saving for a dream vacation is consistency. Life always has a way of throwing us off track, so don’t be discouraged if your holiday fund gets delayed because of car repairs or major life events that can’t be avoided. 

Each week, remind yourself of the dream you’re working toward and get back on the savings track whenever you come up against obstacles. You’ll soon be sitting on that plane!

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