Saving for Vacation: Easy as 1, 2, 3

March 08, 2022

As the colder weather winds down, we often begin to think about the upcoming summer months. Sunny days and warm temps are finally within reach, and many of us are ready to start planning where we can go to maximize fun and relaxation.

According to recent studies, the average American spends $1,145 on summer travel. But not everyone has this kind of cash just sitting around—most of us have to save for the expenses that go hand-in-hand with taking a trip. Financing a vacation requires some planning, so the sooner you start, the more time you’ll have to meet your savings goals, no matter what obstacles get in your way. (Because face it, situations always come up that try to stand in your way of saving money!)

Here are three simple steps to help you get started saving today:

1. Set a budget

First, figure out what you can afford. Not sure how to start? NerdWallet recommends using with a 50/30/20 general budget. This method allocates 50% of your after-tax income for necessities, 30% for wants, and 20% for savings. In this instance, the 30% “wants” category would include vacation savings. For tips on talking money with your partner, check out our "Ditch Disagreements About Dollars" blog.

2. Estimate costs

Got your budget in motion? Great! Now, let’s assume you’ve decided where you’d like to go, so next you’ll need to determine roughly how much the trip will cost. Considerations should include:

  • Round-trip travel (gas, airline tickets)
  • Lodging (including taxes and fees)
  • Local transportation (car rental, bus/subway fare)
  • Meals/snacks
  • Sightseeing/activities/shopping

Remember to factor in extra fees that may pop up, like baggage costs and tips. And even if you don’t book your trip through an online site like Expedia or Travelocity, you can use them as resources to estimate hotel and transportation costs.

3. Save the money

All right—you’ve got your budget planned and the destination picked. It’s time to do the work necessary to make your trip happen! Additional savings tips include:

  • Open a designated savings or checking account to stash cash specifically for your trip.
  • Set up an automatic transfer option to move money from your primary (checking/savings) account to your new vacation account each month
  • Take advantage of online resources to help manage your money, like HBT’s Funds Tracker, a customizable tool to help monitor spending and savings accounts.

Ready to make the most of your money as you plan for a well-deserved getaway? Check out more vacation-related saving tips here. And when the date is finally here, enjoy your trip!


This content is for informational purposes only. Readers should under no circumstances rely upon this information as a substitute for their own research or for obtaining specific advice from their own counsel.