Skip to main content

How to boost your travel budget before you take off

What we'll cover

  • Tips to help you set aside some extra cash before traveling

  • Costs you can cut to accelerate your saving

  • How savings buckets can optimize your vacation fund

When you’re saving for your next vacation, you might need to set money aside for months or even years before your big adventure. But what about those more spontaneous getaways? Or maybe you’re about to embark on your big adventure and you discovered some last-minute activities you want to fund?

When the travel bug bites, even the best of budgeters can struggle to resist the urge to hit the road, and sometimes you just have to give in to the wanderlust. The good news is there are ways to do it without letting it wreck your finances. 

Stick to the bare necessities

Regardless of the amount, financial goals usually require budgeting strategies. Take a close look at how much money you’re spending each month and what you’re spending it on. (Use one of our free budgeting templates to quickly map out your expenses.) Then comes the hard part — deciding what to cut. 

Use this calculator to uncover your saving opportunities and find the right cuts to build your vacation budget.

Start with the things you don’t really need, or maybe don’t really use. And for the essential spending (food, housing, utilities) look for ways to cut costs where you can. You might be surprised to discover the expenses you can live without. Try cutting some of these costs to jumpstart your sprint toward vacation:

Dial down your subscriptions

Those monthly payments for streaming services, book of the month club or a membership at your local movie theater can be convenient cuts. If you’re not ready to completely sever ties, many subscriptions will allow you to briefly pause for a month or two. 

Eat at home

You’d be surprised at how much you can save simply by preparing your food at home. In the U.S., most people are spending more on dining out than they are on groceries ($130 dollars for every $100 spent on groceries). But dining in doesn’t have to be boring.

Pick a new recipe from your favorite celebrity chef or incorporate a new spice from your local market. And consider cutting more costly items from your grocery list, like alcohol, to extend your savings even further. By embracing your inner chef, you could save big for your next adventure.

Unleash your inner coupon cutter

You can boost your travel fund even further by saving on what you’re buying. Be on the lookout for discounts on groceries, gas and other daily expenses. Some discount tools even have plugins that allow you to easily find and apply discount codes to your purchase. Make it fun by competing with your travel buddies. Keep track of how many coupon codes you scored this week. (The winner buys the first round of drinks on the beach.)

Take a look at your transportation

The average American spends between $150 and $200 on gas each month. Switching up your transportation routine could save you money in the short term. Consider taking public transportation, carpooling with coworkers or working from home a few days a week to cut down on your car costs (and your carbon footprint).

Crash budget with care

It’s amazing what you can save when the stakes are a much-needed getaway. And while many of these saving tactics aren’t for your every day, you might discover some costs you can live without. Plus, using a digital tool like Ally Bank’s Savings Buckets can help you set goals, see your progress and keep yourself motivated to put money aside for your next vacation, whether that’s next year or next week.

Explore more

Budget Save Spend

Read next

Money solutions and strategies sent straight to your inbox.

Tips and tools to help you build your best financial future.

Let's Connect