How to Save Money for Experiential Travel

There are two questions I get most often about our year around the world: How did we plan it and how could we afford it?

The answer to both of those things surprise people.

We didn’t plan it, really. There was a lot of seat of your pants adventure that kept it interesting. We were meeting new people every day and we remained open to seeing their cities through their experiences when they were kind enough to bring us along.

save for travel

We also really couldn’t afford it. Not in the traditional sense anyway. We had(have) a mortgage and obligations just like many of you. What we decided was that the trip was something we couldn’t afford to wait for. I’m glad we did it.

But that’s not to say that there aren’t things we did, and things you can do, to lessen the blow that experiential travel can bring to your wallet – especially if it’s holding you back from seeing the world.

A recent survey by TD Bank found that more than half (62%) of Canadians would consider going on an experiential vacation if they could find ways to save on the costs. That’s a big “if” but a completely surmountable one.

Save for Travel | Tips

Want more travel in your life without the burn in your wallet? Consider these tips from Christine Hunter, Vice President, TD Credit Cards, at TD:

Set a Savings Goal: Try to estimate the full cost of the trip, including all associated costs, such as transportation, accommodation, transfers, tips, activities, meals and travel insurance, says Hunter. You may never get it exactly right, but it will give you a ballpark figure to work with. For example on our trip we aimed to spend no more than $100 per night on accommodations for the four of us. There were places where that number was too low and others where it was too high but having a monetary goal was a great gauge to help keep us in check financially.
Create a vacation savings account: Even the smallest amount in savings can have a big impact. Find the places where you can save (that second $5 coffee every day adds up) and commit to putting those extra dollars into a high-interest savings account, which can grow into a nice holiday fund. (Hunter notes that saving $25 a week can generate $1,300 in a year to spend on your vacation!). The funny thing about these accounts is that once you start to save it becomes easier. I like the accounts that are automatic savings. For example, I have one set up so that every time I make a bank machine transaction $1 goes to a savings account. I don’t miss the money and it’s a little extra to add to vacation planning.

save for travel

Seeing this up close makes all the penny-pinching worthwhile.

Do your Research: Experiential travel doesn’t have to be expensive but convenience can come at a cost. Hotel excursions mean less hassle but aren’t always the cheapest option. Look for free or inexpensive activities that speak to your interests. Use the internet to research prices ahead of time and check for blogs that offer up first hand experiences from the places you hope to visit. Someone raving about a dive guide who isn’t on your hotel roster? Email them for the info and make the booking yourself. Doing your research will help you know whether you’re getting a good deal or being taken for a ride.
Use your loyalty travel rewards to help save on travel costs: Use a travel rewards card to pay for all of your everyday purchases, and then redeem the loyalty travel rewards earned on those purchases to help reduce the overall cost of the trip. For example, under the TD Travel Rewards Program, Credit Cardholders can have access to benefits such as travel insurance and preferred car rental rates, and other advantages depending on which card works best for you Setting point goals will also help to motivate you but remember, says Hunter, to benefit fully from using any credit card you need to pay the balance on time and in full.

How do you save for your travel? Share your tips in the comments below.

Disclosure: This post was subsidized in part by TD. As always all opinions are my own.

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