How To Save Up For A Vacation.

Most vacations will run you at least $2,500 (per couple) for air/hotel and food, depending on destination and length of your trip.  So what is the best way to make sure you can save up this chunk of change in order to actually afford a vacation each year.  Here are some quick tips my fiance and I use when setting aside money for a trip.

- Always put money aside in a separate savings or checking account when you get paid, and always put more than you originally plan.  If you have a check for $1,500 then set aside at least $500 (assuming $1000 will be enough to get you through the next 2 weeks).   This way if you absolutely NEED to dip into that $500, you can, but it isn't at your fingertips to play with if you are easily tempted, like I am.

-Save loose change.  I know it sounds weird saying to keep a piggy bank but sometimes loose change can add up to something more than just a couple of bucks.  Buy a giant bowl, set a date to cash in your goodies, and then continue putting change in it up until that date.  Even if you only set aside $50, it is $50 you could spend on dinner when you go away for the weekend.

-Tax returns and office bonuses are a hidden gem.   I always bank on my tax returns or annual bonus to help us travel, and it goes a long way.   We usually base our trip off of how much we get back in returns and bonuses.  For example, if I only get $1,000 total, then we plan a cheap, short trip.  

-Make sure your travel agent understands your budget and plan months in advance with them.  He or she will keep their eye out for deals in your price range and will alert you when great travel opportunities arise.  This will make it easier for you to find exactly what you want at aprice that won't leave you cringing at your bank account when you return home.

-Go all-inclusive.  If you love to eat and drink and know you will spend a fortune on those two things then try finding an all-inclusive resort.  It allows you to pay for everything up front so when you arrive you won't need any extra money.  Plus, some resorts (like Sandals, Beaches and Grand Pineapple Beach Resorts) give you the option to pay over time if you put at least $400 down.  The only catch is airfare must be paid up front if you are including that in your package.

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