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How to Afford A Vacation When You Haven’t Taken One in Over a Year

  August 18

This post may contain affiliate links.

afford a vacationRaise your hand if you’d like to be at a beach somewhere with an umbrella drink in your hand.

Oh yes, that would be me. Right over here – this lady.

I really want to go on a vacation soon, somewhere warm, but unfortunately that will be a long way off.

We recently traveled in May to celebrate time together as a family before my husband started residency after graduating from medical school.

Let me tell you, it’s a good thing we did. I knew his residency schedule would be hard, but it’s been almost unreal. The job is extremely challenging and requires a lot of thought and energy. Any time he makes it home in time to read to the kids before bed, he falls asleep in their room.

Needless to say, we’re all still adjusting, especially me. I am doing all sorts of new things like cutting the grass and taking the trash to the curb. You know, dude things. (Hence me fantasizing about being on a beach somewhere without a care in the world.)

Life Is Hard. Vacations are Awesome.

Needless to say, raising a family is hard. Running a house is hard. Running a business is hard. And, sometimes it’s nice to get a break.

However, there are many of you out there who are caught up with work and family responsibilities and can’t get that nice vacation break that you want. Maybe you’d like to take a vacation but you have no idea how you’d fit it in to your schedule or how you’d even afford it.

According to the seventh annual Vacation Confidence Index by Allianz Travel Insurance more than 170 million Americans haven’t taken a vacation in the last 12 months. And wait, hold the phone. Allianz’s research also showed that 37% of people haven’t been on vacation in more than two years!

Oh my gosh, guys. We need a break! Two years is far too long to deal with day to day life stresses without some time to yourself.

So, if you’re one of those people who hasn’t had a vacation in a long, long time, here are some ideas for affording that vacation you so badly need:

Rent an Apartment

A great way to save money on a vacation is to rent an apartment. I’ve rented several apartments on Airbnb, and it’s always been a great experience. For about half the price of a hotel room, I usually get a bigger place, a kitchen, and more amenities. Sure, I don’t have someone cleaning my room every day like I would in a hotel, but that’s okay.

Staying in an apartment allows me to feel like I actually live in the city I’m visiting. It also helps to save money because you can buy some groceries and cook meals in your apartment.

If you’re interested in trying out an Airbnb apartment for your next vacation, here is a $35 credit to get you started!

Go Somewhere Nearby

Just because you want to go on a vacation doesn’t mean that you have to go to the airport, wait in super long lines, get a cab, and spend a bunch of money.

Instead, you can go to a nearby city, rent an Airbnb, and just enjoy being away for a little while. For example, Chicago is only a 4 hour drive from my new home in Detroit, so that would be a good weekend getaway that wouldn’t require plane tickets for four people.

Save Ahead of Time

There’s nothing worse than returning home from a vacation with maxed out credit cards and a bunch of regret. In fact, this could be one of reasons so many people haven’t traveled in a while. If you put a vacation you can’t afford on your credit card, you’re not going to feel relaxed when it’s over. Instead it will cause you more stress.

My advice is to save ahead of time for your vacation. You can create a separate high yield savings account with a vacation goal in it. I use Smarty Pig for actually saving for goals like this (read my review of that here) and Personal Capital to track my spending and make sure I’m on track.

Every month I have a small amount of money automatically deducted from my bank account and put in a Smarty Pig account. I do this for a variety of goals, like Christmas spending, throughout the year. When that fund gets full, you know it’s time to start shopping around for vacation destinations, and the best part is, you’ll already have the money there to pay for it.

When’s the last time you went on a vacation? Do you usually save for vacation ahead of time?


Disclaimer:  Allianz Travel Insurance sponsored this post and provides travel coverage for the unexpected to so many people. I received financial compensation from Allianz Global Assistance (AGA Service Company) for this post, but the content and opinions are my own.

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8 responses to “How to Afford A Vacation When You Haven’t Taken One in Over a Year

  1. I’m ashamed to admit I haven’t been on a real vacation (not involving family or wedding commitments) at all this year. I was laid off from my day job a couple of weeks ago, so I’m cutting back for a while. Hopefully, the extra days in San Diego will suffice. My boyfriend bought a new truck, with attached pop up camper, so I’m hoping to squeeze in some cheap weekend trips to the Smokies this fall 🙂

  2. You don’t even need a special program to save for a vacation. I have a separate online savings account through Capital One (formerly ING then CO360) with high interest for vacations. I set up two auto transfers a month to hit after my bi-monthly paychecks are deposited. Even $50 a month can add up to a nice local vacation.

    I second using Airbnb. We used it in Rome and saved tons, especially because we could cook. We ate out a few times but cooked in most times and groceries were so much cheaper there then home so it was a win-win!

  3. We are big fans of day trips! I think we’ve been to a mountain town here in NC three times in the past month hahaha (about two hours away). Cooler weather, happy kids = fantastic day!!

    Our last “real” vacation was in January LOL and it was one night in Charleston. I’ll admit – traveling overnight with the girls is not something I’m a huge fan of. They do NOT do well in hotels.

    Sorry your hubby’s residency schedule is so crazy!!! I can’t imagine!! I hope you’re doing well – feel free to text/email if you need to vent! 🙂

  4. This year, we have had less travels as we’re saving for my twins’ education. They’re entering school this year, so that would require us some money. Hopefully, we’d have one in the first quarter of next year.

  5. Nice tips! We have a travel fund, and each year, it’s a must that we have 1 international trip at least so we basically try our best to save as much as we can for this trip.

  6. There’s always credit card bonuses! I spent 1500 on airfare for an upcoming trip to Chile. After that, I decided to join the ranks of all the other travel hackers and try to go on trips for wayyyy less.

  7. Weekend getaways are so great! They are relatively expensive, you don’t need to stress out about the prices of flights or even just being in the chaotic airport, and it is just the right amount of time to take a break from reality! I have never actually stayed in an Airbnb apartment before but I have only heard wonderful reviews about it!

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