Have you been fantasising about white-sand beaches and palm trees? Or maybe wandering your way through a dozen or more countries on a grand tour is more your speed.
Your dream holiday could involve luxury hotels and meals fit for a king, or a year away from work to explore the world – but whatever it is you dream of, you’ll never get there without a plan. Start working on a way to fund your experience now with these ideas.
The ranks, that is. Increasing income with a raise and/or promotion can be a great way to fund a trip – and the perfect reason to celebrate. It may not happen overnight (and then again, it might), but showing some ambition at work and being intentional about angling for better projects and more responsibility could be the first step toward your goals.
Pick up a side gig
The sharing economy offers many different opportunities to pick up a little cash on the side. If your income is eaten up by expenses, then a side income could be your way to put aside something for yourself. If you own assets such as real estate, a vehicle, or other goods, then you might be able to monetise their use. You could sell professional services in your off-hours, or produce small batches of a product for resale.
Find a buddy
Is your dream trip a solo one? Finding a travel buddy or two can help you reduce some travel costs, particularly lodging. It’s important to know yourself and your goals, though. A friend might make your experience even better, or ruin it entirely. It can be a way to achieve some savings, but don’t sacrifice your enjoyment of the journey along the way. Taking a shorter “practice trip” with potential buddies closer to home can be a good way to test the waters.
Apart from regular or side income, there can be unexpected sources that you might want to explore. Refunds, rebates or awards can provide a pleasantly surprising injection of cash. Many financial institutions mistakenly charged customers for payment protection insurance (PPI) – a mistake that they can be prompted to remediate. A Halifax PPI claim could provide a nice little seed fund for your trip. Keep an ear to the ground for unexpected funding sources.
Take a look at your expenses and see if there’s some room to cut back. There may be small luxuries and expenditures that you’d be willing to forego in order to achieve a greater goal. Auto-renewing subscription services are often culprits behind budget bloat, so it generally pays to check your accounts for things that you may still be paying for and no longer need or use. Even essential expenses may be possible to adjust for greater efficiency. Work on reminding yourself of your aspirations when you’re tempted to spend, and consider setting some boundaries such as “no shopping” days to strategically curb spending.
As you’re looking for opportunities to increase income and cut expenses, don’t forget to actually put money aside so that you can’t easily spend it. Set up a savings account or category for your travels. Put larger lump sums away as they become available, and allocate a portion of regular income toward savings, but don’t miss the power of micro-savings. These are tiny sums frequently tucked away into a savings account. There are apps that can simplify this process, prompting you to put away a few pounds here and there, or tying savings to spending. Some people find that making a micro-savings deposit every time they spend money on something is a good strategy.
Earn as you go
This won’t be the right strategy for everyone, but if it suits your dream trip, then earning as you travel can be a great way to defray the costs of the journey. Digital nomads do this by switching to remote work that can be completed from anywhere with a solid internet connection. You might not be able to fully cover your costs, but it is sometimes possible to supplement your savings with money from a travel-related gig such as blogging or travel photography. You might have a skill that’s valued in trade against travel expenses, or take advantage of live-work arrangements where you volunteer some labour in exchange for room and/or board. Again, this won’t suit everyone’s vision of the ultimate trip, but it’s an option worth considering.
Funding the trip of a lifetime starts today. Set your goal, review your options, come up with a plan, and start saving to make it happen.