Most everyone would like to travel a little bit now and then. Often, however, the prospect of actually doing it is a little bit expensive. Whether it’s booking a hotel for the weekend at the nearest beach or jetting across the world to a bucket list destination, travel costs can easily add up, and it can be difficult to justify making it happen. If traveling is a priority, however, you can do away with some of these concerns by maintaining a travel fund over time. By keeping a little bit of money separate, and either adding to the pot or helping it grow, you can occasionally dip into it for the sole purpose of making a trip happen. It makes the whole thing more doable and less stressful, and it’s easier to do than you might imagine! Here are five tips for getting started and maintaining a travel fund.
1.) Maintain A General Budget
Keeping a budget is the best way to have extra funds, period. This might not be the most specific of tips, but it’s important to remember not to start engineering your finances in only one way. If you’re hoping to generate a travel fund, you’ll need to get your overall financial outlook in order first. Once you set up a more general budget, you can begin to work a travel fund into it, not as an independent concern but as part of your greater strategy.
2.) Pocket Your Perk Money
“Perk money” is the phrase I’m using to refer to the little indulgences that we allow ourselves on a daily basis, and which add up over time. Think about how much takeout Chipotle you might buy, or how much you spend on Starbucks, and do a little bit of simple math to see how much it might add up in a month. Then, don’t just stop the activity – cut back on it and pocket the perk money. We read a lot about how much we could save by dropping the morning latte, but if you instead funnel that money into a specific fund, you can specifically direct your perk money toward future vacations.
3.) Do Surveys Online
Surveys online are a little bit overrated, in that some people mistake them as a means of side income. The truth is they’re typically somewhat time-consuming and most of them dish out only small financial rewards. However, if you find a few sites or apps that work for you and keep them in mind for idle time, you can at least start to stack up some spare change over time. As with perk money, if you put these earnings directly into a fund for travel, they’ll be more meaningful than if you simply lump them in with your general income. That is to say, $5 from a half-hour survey may not mean much in your bank account – but in a piggy bank for a trip fund, it might be that first percent of a plane ticket!
4.) Open An Investment Portfolio
If you’re not already investing, you can start with specific intent to generate a travel fund. Investing can seem a little bit daunting or even entirely unpredictable when you’re just getting started. But done strategically and conservatively, it can start to make you some extra money over time. Investing is not the same as gambling, in that it implies you have an actual projection of a positive outcome. It’s up to you to find such a projection, either through your own research or a trusted fund you can buy into, but the idea is that you can grow your income and put some of the extra toward your travel budget.
5.) Try Acorns
If investing is too complex or too daunting, you can try Acorns, which is a mobile app that essentially puts your spare change into a strategic portfolio. It’s not meant to have the same returns as an ordinary investment project, but it can net you a few hundred dollars over the course of a year, if not more, and that can be enough to make a major contribution to your travel plans.