Millennials LOVE traveling. For most of our clients in their 20s and 30s, it’s their #1 financial goal. We prioritize it over throwing a big wedding, buying a dream home, or flaunting a designer wardrobe. Say what you will about us, but H.E.N.R.Y.s™ tend to value experiences (especially ‘grammable ones) over material things.
Unfortunately, travel can be expensive, especially in popular destinations like Paris and Hawaii. With all the other sh*t we have to pay for (8 weddings and 4 bridal showers, anyone??), freeing up the cash for vacation can seem impossible.
Helping our clients achieve the “fun” goals they have (read: like everything besides retirement) is one of the best parts of our job. We want you to have your financial sh*t together, of course, but we also want you to be able to enjoy your money.
So, we’ve got a few tips to help you learn how to save for travel without making any major sacrifices.
1. Open A Savings Account and Nickname it “Travel”
Use an online bank (we like CapitalOne360 or Ally) to open high-yield savings account specifically for your travel savings. Studies show that if you name the account with the goal in mind, you’re less likely to dip into for other reasons. You can even go a step further and name the goal with your exact destination. That way, if you withdraw any money from the account, you’ll feel like you’re robbing yourself of beers at Oktoberfest or skydiving in New Zealand.
2. Set Up Auto-Save to Your Travel Account
If your plan is to save whatever’s left over after you pay your bills, you’ll never save anything. Our trick? Save first. For example, if you want to have $3,500/year to splurge on travel, set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to your new travel savings account either once a month ($291) or every 2 weeks ($185). You should use this method for other savings goals too, like shopping at the holidays or building your f*ck-off fund.
Once you’ve got money set aside for your expenses and goals, you can spend whatever’s left in your checking account guilt-free.
3. Accumulate Credit Card Rewards Points
There are some credit cards out there with really good rewards programs, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, that gives you 2 or 3X on travel and dining. You can then use those points towards flights and other travel-related expenses.
CAVEAT: A lot of people are scared to use credit cards too much out of fear of getting into debt. We only advise this step for those who pay off their credit card bills in full every month. You’re spending the money anyway—might as well get rewarded for it, right? If you’re in credit card debt, don’t utilize this method until your debt is completely paid off.
4. Consider the Road(s) Less Traveled
Sure, there are reasons tourist cities are popular: they’re awesome! London, New York, Sydney, LA…all definitely worth a visit (or two, or three). But, they know they’re cool, and they charge you for it. If your travel budget isn’t huge, we recommend saving these cities for later on when you have more saved up.
That doesn’t mean you can’t travel at all, though. There are tons of amazing spots around the globe that are a little less discovered, and therefore often a lot less pricey. The cost of a trip to Thailand is rising, but it’s neighbors Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam are less expensive and offer a lot of similar activities. We <3 France and Italy for its food and wine, but Portugal is a more affordable and equally delicious option.
Before deciding where to go next, do your research. Sources like The Lonely Planet and Afar can give you the rundown on the best places to visit on a budget.
We love getting the f*ck out of town as much as you do. If you’ve got any good travel tips or must-see spots, leave them below in comments. To read more financially savvy lifestyle articles like this, click here.