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Travel budget 101: How to save money for your vacation

 

It's always time for a vacation. But before you're ready to search for discounted flights and travel deals, you'll want to save up some vacation funds. With a little savvy budgeting and conscious effort, your bank account will be as prepared for your travels as you are.

Follow these money saving tips for your upcoming vacation:

 

Remember: Every penny counts

You know that annoying loose change that piles up at the bottom of your purse? It can actually add up pretty quickly. Make sure you dedicate a jar to collecting loose change. After a few months, take it to the bank or a counting machine at your local grocery store to convert it to bills. You may be surprised by how much you have, but even $20 can make a difference. With the money you save up from your loose change, you can buy travel size toiletries before you leave and museum tickets, souvenirs or meals during your trip.

 

Create a designated savings account

Diane Harris, editor of Money magazine, shared her tips for saving up for vacations with Travel + Leisure - one of which was to open a separate travel savings account. You can set up automatic deposits so you know there's some money entering the account on a regular basis. If you choose an interest-bearing account, you may even see some growth in your money during the time leading up to your trip. Harris said this works because "Money that we haven't touched — we don't miss. You will automatically adjust your budget."

 

Reach for your goals

Instead of just daydreaming about an incredible vacation, set the goals that can make it a reality. Start by deciding where and when you want to go, so you have a tangible outcome to work toward. Look at your upcoming work schedule to see if there's an ideal time for you to be away from the office. Plus, do your preliminary research to determine a rough estimate of how much flights, accommodations, food and entertainment will cost. When you have a specific number in mind, you'll be more determined to make the sacrifices to reach it. Yes, that does mean eating out a few less times each month, refraining from buying coffee every morning and holding off on any other extraneous purchases.

Your money saving efforts will be well worth it as soon as you step foot in your vacation destination. Happy travels!