Are you the type of person who starts dreaming about your next vacation the second you start unpacking your suitcase from the last? Or maybe your jetsetter lifestyle means you constantly live out of a duffle?
If you live for weekend family getaways to the lake or annual extravaganzas in Vegas, it’s safe to say your 2020 vacation plans have probably needed adjusting. While current circumstances have made traveling a toss-up for the foreseeable future, that doesn’t mean your dream vacation will never become a reality. In fact, this pause or pivot in plans due to social distancing may actually present an opportunity to super charge your savings for future vacations. Read on for a few ideas of how you can make the most of your travel budget now and later.
Invest your unspent travel money.
Whether you had planned on a solo backpacking trip through Southeast Asia or a family road trip to Disney World, you were probably saving up for a while. Don’t let your hard work go to waste — why not make your money work for you now?
If you aren’t planning to spend your unused travel funds in the near future, investing the cash in the stock market could be an opportunity to make the most of your money, whether it’s a couple hundred or several thousand dollars. Consider putting it toward your IRA (Individual Retirement Account), adding it to the kiddos’ college funds, or even investing in a personal account to use for an epic vacation a few years down the line. With Ally Invest, you can open a Managed Portfolio for as little as $100 — why not use this unused cash to get started?
Roll this year’s vacation cash into next year’s savings fund.
There’s no denying that having to cancel a trip is a serious bummer — especially if it’s one you’ve been looking forward to for months or even years. But if you’re able to recoup the cash for plane tickets, cancel hotel reservations, and hold on to the money you would’ve spent on food, drinks, and souvenirs, that is all money you can put toward next year’s dream trip.
If you’re already planning on rescheduling for next year, a simple way to stash this cash away is in a savings account. Even better, with an Ally Bank Online Savings Account, you can create a bucket (basically a digital envelope) specifically for that money. That way, it won’t get lumped in with your other savings and stays organized. Plus, you can turn on recurring transfers to automatically deposit more into your vacation savings buckets until you’re ready to go. And come time for your next big trip, you’ll be happy to see your money has been growing at a competitive interest rate all along.
Add travel savings to your budget.
If you’ve never been able to find room in your budget for travel savings, now could be an opportunity to start building your dream vacation fund from scratch. If your spending has lessened due to being home more often, and you have some wiggle room in your budget, you might consider transferring some of your saved dollars to a newly minted vacation fund. For example, money you might’ve budgeted for dining at restaurants each month could now go directly into your vacation savings bucket. Or, if you’re still working from home, cash you would’ve put toward your daily commute could be directed toward savings instead.
Take a staycation.
Taking time to relax and recharge is important no matter what. So, if you’ve already booked the PTO, why not take advantage of it? A mini staycation at home can be a nice way to enjoy a few days without the stress of planning a trip, booking amenities, and spending hundreds of bucks on gas, restaurant food, and a new phone charger because you always forget yours at home.
If you have unspent travel funds, why not dip into them to make your time at home as delightful as possible? Whether that means splurging on some fancy wine, going all-out on an at-home spa experience, or finally buying that new video game you’ve been itching to play for months, you deserve to treat yourself. And if you have extra cash left over, you can save it for a rainy day or use it to boost your emergency fund.
Opt for a socially distant vacay.
We get it — you’re desperate to get out of the house. But being safe shouldn’t mean you have to cut yourself off from the world outside. If a getaway is what you need, you can make it happen (with lots of hand sanitizer, face masks, and some creativity, of course).
If you have cabin fever and no plans, you might want to visit … a cabin. Or, you know, an Airbnb where you can safely distance yourself from others. Just be sure to communicate with the host about social distance policies and adhere to the guidelines set by your state. And while you might not feel comfortable dining in restaurants or staying in a hotel, the great outdoors is always open if you need an escape. Camping isn’t for everyone, but a few nights under the stars (or in an RV) could be just the escape you crave.
While the world of travel may not look like it used to, it doesn’t mean your plans are shut down for good. Sure, it stings to have to reschedule, downsize, or cancel your vacation plans — but in the grand scheme of things, it could be an opportunity for something great. Whether you choose a homebound staycation, go on a socially distant adventure, or save this year’s vacation budget for the future, with a little forward thinking, you could set yourself up for the trip of a lifetime.
Ready to start saving up for your dream vacation?