Investing. It’s a popular method roughly half of Americans use to achieve financial independence. But what does independence really mean?

Getting away, apparently.

According to a recent Ally Invest survey, 38 percent of respondents listed travel as an important reason why they invest.

It’s not surprising that you want to invest and save up for bucket list vacations and travel during retirement. But what about shorter trips to see friends or just to get away for the weekend?  If your portfolio is constructed with long-term financial goals in mind, withdrawing money out of your stock portfolio might not be your best option.

But if you take the following steps, you can fit weekend getaways into your travel plans without derailing your investment strategy.

Cut out non-essentials.

Is that $12 burger and fries combo calling your name again? Stay strong.

Simple daily expenditures could be holding you back from last-minute travel. According to SWNS, Americans spend an average of almost $1,500 a month on non-essentials. If you can scale back — by bringing your lunch to work, getting around town on your bike, etc. — for a few weeks, then it could give you the cash flow you need to take that trip.

Look at your spending over the past two weeks and track how much you’ve spent on non-essentials and figure out where you can cut back (or eliminate completely). Keep your eye on the prize and stash your savings in a separate account, like an Ally Bank Online Savings Account, that earns a competitive interest rate.  Saving an extra $50 to $75 a week could be the difference between you spending a night on your friend’s couch or in a roomy, king-size hotel bed.

Consider alternative modes of transportation.

Planes will take you far away quickly, but they’re hardly ever the cheapest option. And driving might not be the most affordable option, either (gas, parking, and tolls all add up).

Instead, you may want to grab a ticket for the bus or train. Affordable bus options like Megabus, BoltBus, and Greyhound and train lines including Amtrak and regional service providers can get you to your destination for less than $100.

And if you’re flexible with your dates and seating preferences, that amount can shrink even more.

Ask if the price isn’t right.

Did you know you can negotiate your rental home’s price before you book it? It’s true! There’s generally no harm in reaching out to a host to ask, especially if you’re booking a last-minute getaway. Some may find it better to drop their rates rather than let their place go unoccupied.

No matter where you book a stay, keep your negotiation skills handy. You can respectfully ask for free upgrades at hotels in exchange for checking in later or lower rental rates than what’s listed online.

A spontaneous vacation doesn’t have to alter your financial future. Using these tips, it could be go-time in no time.

Discussion questions:

  • How do you best save for a getaway on short notice?
  • What’s your favorite weekend getaway?
  • What are your best last-minute travel tips?