Those famous Instagram mommies make it look so easy to travel the world as a family. From the perfectly stylish outfits to the kids who look so well-behaved, you are left baffled and impressed that anyone would hike Manchu Picchu or train hop through Europe as a family of four.
Back here in the real world, you are stuck at the first step: saving money for your next family vacation. When you consider how much you’ll need, it can be overwhelming, but with a little strategy, it can actually be pretty manageable to create a nice little nest egg to fund your family’s next adventure.
Separate Your Money
Saving money is rarely easy, but if you keep your vacation savings mixed in with your daily spending money, you’ll be all the more likely to spend it before your trip arrives. Instead, open a new savings account at your bank that is solely for money to spend on your next vacation.
Alternatively, you could create a cash envelope at home with the same purpose. Set aside all of your spare change and loose cash on a weekly basis and add it to your vacation fund in addition to making regular weekly contributions in a lump some of $20, $50 or $100 depending on how much you need to save and how much time you have to save it.
Pay Yourself First
Once you have designated the increment in which you will contribute to your vacation fund every week, you need to make sure you actually follow through with it. The easiest way to do this is by committing to “paying” yourself first, by putting the designated amount into your saving as soon as you get paid. This helps you to eliminate any excuses of not having enough money left over after bills to save for a trip.
If you are using a bank savings account, have the weekly or bi-monthly contribution directed deposited into the savings account so you never even have that money in your checking account.
Make Money on the Side
You can make it even easier to stash away cash in your vacation fund by taking on some side work. Don’t have time to take on a second job? There are plenty of opportunities available that can offer you a flexible schedule and provide a second income stream.
Take on a new gig through a website like Upwork, which is a great outlet for freelance work for everything from web development to writers and accountants. For work that is more social and fun, start your own Amway business. Or if you have a guest house or spare room at home, rent it out on Airbnb for extra income. You could even become a driver for Uber or Lyft and capitalize on the success that the rideshare industry is experiencing.
Use a Credit Card Wisely
Aim to make every dollar that you spend help you save for your trip by making as many purchases as you can with a credit card that offers travel rewards. There are a ton of options to choose from, including airline-specific cards that earn airline miles and general cards like a Capital One or American Express card that earn points that can be redeemed for a variety of things, including hotel stays and airline tickets. The Points Guy has a great breakdown of the best cards, including a review of the current offers, benefits and fees for each one.