You know those vacations where you think, “I could stay here forever”? The kind of getaways that are so dreamy, relaxing, and enriching you’re ready for another trip as soon as you get home? For most of us, the getaway is never long enough. By the time you’re really living that island life, walking that city-slicker swagger, or connecting with Mother Nature at your home away from home, it’s usually time to head back.
So, maybe it’s time for a relocation of sorts for a lengthy bit of time. We’re not talking just a few weeks — but a long vacation (or extended stay where you take your work with you) that’s actually a month or more.
An extended getaway may seem indulgent and impossible, but with technology and smart savings strategies, it’s never been more practical. And we’re here to help you get ready for take-off.
Yes, an extended getaway is truly possible.
It’s not such a wild idea. We promise. Already, some residents in other countries typically take lengthy summer vacations. And more employers here in the U.S. now offer generous PTO (that’s paid time off) policies, unlimited vacation time, or even sabbaticals. Making it easier — and in some instances, even encouraged — to take more than just a few days off at a time to really have a chance to recharge.
And with today’s digital capabilities, it’s definitely less complex than ever before to connect with work from, well, anywhere really. You might already be working from home — so why not keep it up, only from a different destination? As long as there is a power outlet and decent Wi-Fi for video conferencing, you can be your productive work self on top, board shorts and by the beach on the bottom.
The Cost of a Long-term Vacation
Undeniably, a lengthy escape is more expensive than a weekend away. It’s important to note that your budget most often balloons in the lodging category. So, if you’re planning a trip that’s a few months instead of a few days, a hotel stay may be impractical or cost too much.
Instead, you can make your dream vacation affordable by subletting an apartment or a house for the short-term. (No long-term lease required.) Or you could use sites like Airbnb and VRBO, which can help you find long-term vacation rentals that are fully furnished and wired for your connectivity needs. Book a long-term Airbnb for a month or longer, and you might be able to land a discount off the rental’s daily or weekly rate. And with the variety in choices, you could land a stay in an incredible apartment in the city, HGTV-worthy tiny house in the woods, or even a breezy beachside cottage.
Pro tip: Rent out your home while you’re away, and you could cancel out any lodging costs you may accrue (or even make extra money!).
Other than where you sleep, food is also a considerable cost to factor into your budget. We don’t want to discourage you from tasting the local cuisine, but choosing to dine out at lunch (it’s generally cheaper than dinner) or picking up your take out order (to save on delivery charges) are easy ways to save money while still experiencing the flavors of your new location. And of course, dining in is the smartest way to reduce your food bills (and eat healthy on a budget) when you’re on vacay.
Save longer to stay a while.
On average, Americans spend about 10% of their income on vacations. If you’re considering an extended stay getaway, use this amount as point of reference when trying to figure out how much to save. Set up a vacation bucket in your Ally Bank Online Savings Account and keep your travel money separate from your other savings goals. By visualizing your financial goals — a.k.a. seeing exactly how much you’ve set aside (and how far you have to go) — you can get there faster.
Once you know your target savings amount, and when you want to take your long vacation, you can figure out how much you need to save per week (or month) to achieve your goal. Simply divide the amount by the number of weeks/months you have until your trip, then set up recurring transfers into your savings account. When you automate your savings, you’re more likely to hit your goal — so you can quit daydreaming about your vacay and hit the road.
But what about taxes?
Plan to work remotely during your long getaway? Will you be in a different state than where you’re normally employed? Before jetting off, research how long you can be there before you’re subject to income tax reporting requirements. Tax codes vary, and you could be on the hook for paying state income tax in another location if you work from somewhere else for a certain amount of time.
Take a long-term breather.
An extended stay vacation is a different type of trip. It’s a kind of travel that is slower, calmer, more exploratory. And it’s more sustainable for both you and the environment as it often involves more stable lodging, fewer activities, and a deeper connection with your destination and its culture. But getting away for the long-term is not without expense, which is why it’s important to plan in advance and prepare for the expected costs.
A long vacation can be the substantial recharge you need that a few days, or even a week, away can’t give you. Instead of feeling somewhat relaxed when it’s time to go back home, an extended stay somewhere lets you hit reset and return home remarkably refreshed.
Save smarter for your extended stay vacation with our savings buckets.