Piggy Bank

4 Ways To Save For A Vacation

Paying for your next family vacation shouldn’t have to be a stretch or put you in financial stress. But how to save for vacation when finances are tight? We are here to share with you 4 ways to save for a vacation. The whole family can pitch in to make it happen. Even the little kids feel a sense of accomplishment when they contribute to the family goal and see it happen!

This page does include affiliate links, we will receive a small commission if you make any purchases from these links. This comes at no extra cost for you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Paying for your next family vacation. Take these 4 steps and make it happen.

It’s not always easy to save for a family vacation. Sometimes life gets in the way.

One of the most difficult times in our lives was not too long after our second baby was born. My husband had just started a commission only job and I was finishing up my degree while working part-time; not to mention that student loans were piling up.

The stress of two young children and trying to make ends meet was getting to us. The commissions were good when they came, but it wasn’t consistent and this made it very difficult to plan and budget. It would take my husband time to build his network and clients before the money would become consistent.

At this point, the weight of life was starting to get to us. We were becoming disconnected as a family. It was the reality that we were living in, but we always knew that this isn’t how we wanted it to be.

We knew our family needed a vacation together. It was clear to us that we needed time away from the stress of daily life. Our family needed to recharge and connect.

So how do you save money when money is already tight?

During this time in our lives, the biggest problem was that we had no way of saving for a vacation. We could barely figure out how we were going to pay for the tires that our car desperately needed. How could we justify a vacation? We learned a lot during that time on how every penny adds up.

Keep reading for a few creative ideas that help us put travel into our budget. Let’s dive into 4 ways to save for a vacation even when money is tight.

Here at Jet Lagged Mama, we are 2 working parents.  Both my husband and I are currently working full time. We know it can be difficult to make ends meet, let alone taking the family on a vacation. So, how do we balance our budget to create an experience with our kids?

1. Make it Automatic

Our first way to save money for a vacation starts with a story. One day my husband came home excited from work. I thought he had got a bonus or something. No, he said he had an idea that would help with getting us on our next vacation. A colleague at work had mentioned how he had set up multiple sub-checking accounts with his bank to save money for specific things.

Black interior of car with a start stop engine button to show that saving for vacation should be automatic.

He has accounts for many different things that have to be paid annually or just in case of emergencies. Each time he gets paid a small percentage of his paycheck goes into each one of these accounts. Brilliant!

Do you have a checking or savings account? Of course, you do!  Many of you probably already do this.

One of the best things that we ever did was to open a savings account specifically for travel. This Savings Account is linked to our checking account.  Every 2 weeks, the bank automatically transfers a fixed amount to the savings account that we call “Travel Fund.”

Before this, we would go in every couple of weeks and manually transfer money to savings, but sometimes we would only transfer a little or even take away if we needed funds for other expenses.

By making it automatic we were able to build our travel fund faster. By not having to touch anything, this took us away from watching it. At first, it will seem slow but over time it will add up.

Let’s say every two weeks $100 is transferred into this account; twice a month or about $200 a month. Over a year of saving that $100 every 2 weeks, you now have saved $2,400 for a vacation! Make it automatic and you’ll be on vacation before you know it. Nice work!!!

2. Every Little Bit Counts

Piggy bank with a penny going into show every little bit helps to save for bigger things. Every little bit counts

If you don’t have a piggy bank or coin jar, get one! Believe it or not, over time that loose change and coins add up. We’ve had a time where each of our kids had over $100 in their coin jars.

Amazon has tons of choices that you and your kids will love. One of my favorite ones is on Amazon here. It is electronic and it will take coins or dollar bills, my kids love it because it feels like a real bank to them.

Get your kids involved. By getting your kids involved and saving they buy into the fact that they are helping to contribute and save for the family vacation.

First find them each a small jar or piggy bank. Let them know exactly what it is for. Maybe it is their spending money on treats or souvenirs, or it can go pay for an activity of their choice. Whatever the reason keep them involved and let them know what it is being used for.

Bonuses and Spiffs: At different times in our marriage we have had jobs where my husband and I would get little cash incentives, monthly bonuses, or annual bonuses.  We would take these and add them directly to our travel fund.  Sometimes it was just $25 or less.

These little cash incentives and bonuses, if put directly in with the savings, it will add up. Since it’s not money that we expected or have planned in our budget to live on, we would put it into the Travel Account straight away.

3. Sell your Stuff

Yard Sale sign to give examples as to how you can save for a vacation.

Sell stuff online:  Go through your old books.  Look and see if your used books are worth anything.  That old textbook you hung on to could still be worth $20-$40USD. There are so many local and neighboorhood apps that allow you to sell your stuff.

Facebook even has local groups and specialized groups. Those baseball or basketball cards you’ve been hanging on to for years, try finding a group and see if you can make some extra cash for your vacation.

You don’t have to make a “yard sale” poster and go around the neighborhood posting them everywhere and wasting your Saturday morning baking in the sun trying to sell all your unwanted stuff.

Amazon makes it easy to sell books.  Not just textbooks, although textbooks usually have a high return value, any books can be sold. You just have to make sure that it is worth your time.

I usually only sell a book if I can get over $10 for it but it’s free to list your books. We’ve even sold some of our used kids and baby books for a small profit.

Also, you can find a local and community sale or Craigslist.  Go through your old stuff that is laying around.  Post it online or take it to that local sale and make some cash. 

My husband and I have done this many times to help save for our next trip.  As our kids grew from the infant stage, we would post the infant toys and baby things online to sell. 

Get crafty or if you have jewelry or collectibles – Try selling your talents or stuff on Etsy.

If you are crafty or artsy, give Etsy a shot at selling some of your talents. If you haven’t heard of Esty it is a great way to earn extra money. Etsy is a website focused on handmade or vintage items and crafts. You can make and sell anything including jewelry, bags, clothing, home décor and furniture, toys, art, as well as craft supplies and Art!

Try picking up some freelance work on Fiverr! Use your talents to make some extra cash.

Fiverr is a relatively new website that offers freelance work for hire. You could easily pick up some freelance work to earn some extra cash for you next trip! So if you have a niche in design work, computer programing, photography, videos, writing, and seriously so much more; check out Fiverr.

Even if you don’t have a lot of digital experience or a special skill set, there are still jobs (or gigs as they call them) for you. They even have jobs for just data entry.

Yard and Garage sales

This is an easy way to easily make a couple of hundred dollars, and rid you of stuff that is cluttering your life. By doing this you will now have room and space to display all the trinkets, pictures and souvenirs from your trip.

In addition, this is also a really fun way for your kids to get involved. They can sell their old toys and really feel like they are “earning” their trip.

Garage sale hack** Our kids set up a lemonade stand at our last garage sale. They sold water, soda, lemonade, doughnuts, and other small treats. The kids made more money off their lemonade stand than we did off the garage sale 🙂

Check out this awesome garage sale pack on Amazon, it has all the signs and stickers you need to make your garage sale easier.

Extra benefits of selling your stuff

Getting rid of things around the house or the so-called “decluttering” actually has a positive impact on our emotional well being.

1st – By having less “stuff” to manage you are using less mental work.

Vintage and old items that take up space on your shelf, sell that stuff and use the money for a trip.

The more things we own the more we have to manage and maintain. The more stress this can cause in our lives. Even if you’re don’t realize it, your stuff laying around maybe stressing you out.

2nd – You will have less negative energy. Clutter and stuff can weigh us down and it actually holds us back.

If you are looking to book a vacation, you might be thinking about all the repairs you need to do on the “stuff” you have. Shout out to Mindful Decluttering & Organizing for the tips.

Bike being repaired, save money and sell your stuff. So you can go on a vacation!

For example if you have an ATV- that isn’t running top-notch you might think about the money you need to spend there versus on your next trip. If you didn’t have the ATV you wouldn’t have that stress. (I’m not against owning ATVs, we actually really enjoy them, this was just an example).

It could be as simple as kids playhouse needing repair or the electric clippers needing repair. Do you really need the electric ones or will the hand ones work just as well? Better yet, ask your neighbor to borrow theirs for the 1 time a year that you cut your bushes.

3rd- More Time! Isn’t that what we are looking for. Yes, we need the money but we also need the time to travel.

When your home is organized with less stuff your mind doesn’t go through decision overload or analysis paralysis. Our minds get tired and by having more stuff, it is mentally exhausting. That’s all us parents need is more exhaustion.

4. Tax Returns

White budget sheet with coins inside a scale and a black calculator to show 4 ways to save for travel.

If you are lucky enough to get a tax return, take that return and put it towards your next family adventure. We have been able to take full vacations just from our tax return and not have to dig into our Travel Account.

This is ideal as your travel account continues to grow. Other times we’ve been able to pay for a partial trip from our tax returns, but make sure to put it into the Travel Account right away. It’s tempting to buy a shiny new toy.

Take the financial stress out of your vacation. This way you can enjoy your time and create those experiences that you and your children will remember.
Infographic on 4 Ways to save for your next vacation.
Infographic 4 ways to save for your next family vacation

Wrap up on 4 ways to save for vacation

No matter how much you make or how many bills you have, there’s always a way to take a vacation. Family vacations make memories that will last a lifetime for you and your kids. You can’t put a price tag on memories.

So, use these 4 ways to save money for vacation and your family will be on a trip before you know it. Good luck friends!

Do you need some motivation to save for your next trip? Check out our favorite quotes and places for some serious inspiration:

Favorite Travel Quotes

The Best Road Trips in The USA

The Best Travel Gear For Kids


April 4, 2020 at 3:11 pm

Great tips! I am a huge fan of the automatic deposits. I have them set up for multiple different things! I automatically transfer money for bills also. It allows you to set realistic goals and stick to them!

I am thinking of selling stuff soon!

April 4, 2020 at 8:36 pm

Really useful tips! I’m always trying to save money for travelling and it seems to take forever but it’s true that by making simple changes to your spending habits you can surprise yourself with how much you can save!

April 5, 2020 at 1:02 am

Thanks for all these tips. It’s always nice to get some new ones under your belt. Definitely pinning.

April 5, 2020 at 1:49 am

Agree with all your tips, especially the one about selling the old stuff. I can’t believe how many clothes I still keep hanging in my closet for years. I often spend time at the weekend to sort them out and sell them online. Make quite a bit of money to save for my future travel plan!

    April 8, 2020 at 10:47 pm

    That’s a great idea, I should spend more time looking through my closet. I have so many clothes that I don’t wear anymore. Thanks for your comments!

April 5, 2020 at 12:12 pm

Those are great tips. I do the same.

April 6, 2020 at 2:33 pm

So many useful tips! I love going through my stuff and having a garage sale or selling things I no longer need! It is definitely my travel money!

    April 8, 2020 at 3:00 pm

    Thank you, Marisa! I agree, we have so many things sitting around that we can turn into cash! We are all going to need getaways after this quarantine so it’s the perfect time to go through your stuff.

Comments are closed.