7 Real Women Share How They Save Money For Vacations

Illustrated by Hannah Minn.
Imagine if you had unlimited funds to spend on travel. For some of us, it might mean having constant access to a private jet — or at least always flying business class — and exploring every corner of the world. It would mean taking last minute trips to far-off destinations and balling out at the most extravagant hotels and the finest restaurants. Of course, that dream jet set scenario is just that, a dream. In reality, we've got rent to pay, loans to settle, and daily grinds to worry about, so taking a trip requires some saving. How we choose to do that, however, varies from person to person.
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Ahead, seven real millennial women share the tools they use to set money aside for travel and their most useful tips and trick for how to save up for an awesome vacation. From personal finance apps to old-school cash-stashing, these women have some seriously smart approaches to meeting their travel goals. A few of them even have saving tricks that allow them to take those spontaneous trips we thought could only happen in our fantasies.

1. Make a line item in your budget specifically for travel

Illustrated by Hannah Minn.
Age: 29
Occupation: Consultant
City: Washington, D.C.
What do you use to set aside money?
Charles Schwab account (no ATM fees when taking out money abroad) and credit card points
What are your tips and tricks for saving money so that you can afford a trip?
I make a line item in my budget specifically for travel. I'm self-employed and the money I make from one of my clients is solely for paying off debt and travel. Credit card signup bonuses also help me stretch my budget. I love my Chase Sapphire and Amex Platinum because they have a variety of transfer partners, and Southwest points will also get you pretty far domestically and for flights to the Caribbean. Pro-tip: only use travel cards for expenses you already have (rent, utilities, groceries, gas, etc.) Never go into debt to meet a signup bonus. Lastly, if you have some lead time before your travel, you can gain interest in your savings with an e-savings account like the Barclays account.

2. Follow @TheFlightDeal on Twitter

Illustrated by Hannah Minn.
Age: 28
Occupation: Executive assistance
City: Chicago, IL
What do you use to set aside money?
I simply take my "fun money" and use it for travel. It’s in my checking account.
What are your tips and tricks for saving money so that you can afford a trip?
I follow @TheFlightDeal on Twitter and have notifications for when it tweets. When it has a deal for my city, I check my interest level in that city and decide whether to go. I haven’t paid more than $500 for international travel roundtrip. Airbnb is also my best friend for getting the best accommodation deals.

3. Auto-save a set amount from each check deposit

Illustrated by Hannah Minn.
Age: 25
Occupation: Software engineer
City: San Francisco, CA
What do you use to set aside money?
I auto-save per check deposit using my Chase app.
What are your tips and tricks for saving money so that you can afford a trip?
Edge case, but I switched careers and ended up making 146% more than what I had been making previously, where I was barely breaking even and unable to save. I treated my promotion as non-existent, added a $500 auto-savings marker for each direct-deposit of a paycheck, and withheld as much of my paycheck as I could to increase my tax returns and make it feel as if my salary didn't increase. Didn't change my lifestyle. Got a giant tax return.

4. Use the Wealthsimple app

Illustrated by Hannah Minn.
Age: 23
Occupation: Policy writer
City: Toronto, ON
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What do you use to set aside money?
Wealthsimple. It actively sets money aside for me each paycheck, so I don't have to worry about doing it myself or forgetting altogether. I am able to choose the amount deposited and change it at any time. The app also invests my money for me! I have a separate savings account on the app just for travel. I can see my future money projections through the app and can book time off work and plan travel according to the timeline on Wealthsimple!
What are your tips and tricks for saving money so that you can afford a trip?
Having a separate savings account for travel really puts into perspective how much I am willing to put aside for travel and what types of vacationing I can afford. Automatic deposits really help my self-control and ensure that I am working towards things I know I want! Being a spontaneous person, I feel comfort knowing that I will always have a little money set aside for those weekend trips that require less planning. Also, having the ability for my travel account to invest little amounts of money each month means that when those big trips come around (the ones that actually require planning), I will have even more than I put aside because my money was working for me instead of sitting still in the account. The best part is knowing that I am always ready for a getaway!

5. Save a dollar a week leading up trips planned far in advance

Illustrated by Hannah Minn.
Age: 25
Occupation: Attorney
City: New York, NY
What do you use to set aside money?
Paper envelopes and credit card points
What are your tips and tricks for saving money so that you can afford a trip?
I start bringing coffee and lunch with me to work as soon as flights are booked to save money. I put all pre-booked things (hotel, flights, trains, etc.) onto my travel credit card to get points and make it so I can pay it off over time rather than in a lump sum. If the trip is planned a long way out (for example, my family is planning on going to Ireland in March 2020), I do the save a dollar a week for a year thing ($1 the first week, $2 the second week, $3 the third week, and so on) and keep it all in a paper envelope. In addition to that, I take out money every week (around $20 if I can, but any amount that works for me at the moment) and put it into a separate envelope. I don't typically spend cash, so I end up saving quite a bit this way.

6. Take advantage of credit card points

Illustrated by Hannah Minn.
Age: 28
Occupation: Local government Employee
City: Honolulu, HI
What do you use to set aside money?
Credit card points
What are your tips and tricks for saving money so that you can afford a trip?
I prefer Amex Membership Rewards cards. The Gold Card gives me four travel points per dollar on my regular grocery and dining purchases. I use the Blue Business Plus Card for two points on all other purchase categories. The points add up quickly, and I've been able to transfer them to my airline easily and to go on short trips at a discounted rate.

7. Use the Digit app

Illustrated by Hannah Minn.
Age: 24
Occupation: Social Media Strategist
City: New Orleans, LA
What do you use to set aside money?
I use Digit! It is constantly pulling money for savings, and you can set goals with deadlines. In October 2017 I decided I wanted to fly to Calgary for a week-long trip, so I set a Digit goal and had $1000 saved for my flights and spending money by the end of January. I'm bad at intentionally setting aside money, so Digit taking automatically ensured I got it done without feeling like I was "losing" money. By the end of January, it felt like finding $20 in your pocket!
What are your tips and tricks for saving money so that you can afford a trip?
The two biggest things I spend money on in my regular life is eating out and shopping, so when I need to save for travel, I am very intentional about cutting down on both of those. My weekly grocery budget is $50, and I try to not eat out at all (which is obviously unrealistic, but when I need to grab food out it's often a 4 for $4). As for avoiding buying clothes, I only go to the store when there is something I have a genuine need for. If I don't love any of the choices I find, I won't buy something that "will do" — if I don't love it, I shouldn't spend money on it.

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