We all need a little R & R from time to time, but affording a vacation—and even enjoying one—can sometimes be difficult. However, the rewards can be great. In fact, British researcher Scott McCabe noted that "vacations can provide rest and recuperation from work; provision of new experiences leading to a broadening of horizons … promotion of peace and understanding; personal and social development … and subjective wellbeing.” McCabe believes these positive benefits to be so strong that he even recommends families be given some form of financial assistance if they are unable to afford vacations on their own. But don’t expect a check from Uncle Sam for your next trip just yet.
So what can you do? MoneyComb believes you need to START Smart. Where START stands for Set priorities, create Targets, take Action, Reduce spending and Track progress. First, you need to make saving for a vacation a priority and then set a specific target, such as saving $200 / month for a trip next year. Creating a target is about identifying a specific vacation for which you want to save, the rationale being that the more you are concretely envisioning that warm, sunny beach in a Hawaiian paradise next to your travelmate, the more motivated you will be to save. By partnering with an expert traveler’s advocate, like Suncierge, you will get a good ballpark on the amount you'll need to save and when you should plan to go for the best value.
Ok, so you have a savings plan in place for that next big travel experience. How do you make it a successful break? The key is coming back refreshed not stressed about all the money you spent, weight you gained or work you now have to do. Here are a few quick tips for a successful vacation:
1. Don’t go overboard and get the best value. You want a great beach vacation, but that trip to Fiji is thousands. Well, how about a closer destination, maybe Mexico, South Carolina or Virginia Beach. You can often find great deals and less touristy places outside of the Caribbean Islands, Florida and California. Here's another suggestion from travel guru Christine Soper, Founder & CEO of Suncierge: "You want a fabulous travel experience, but you need it to be a good value for the wallet. Partnering with a travel expert who will consult and guide you to the best options tailored to your specific dreams and budget will enable you to find hidden gems not always evident online."
2. Make it exciting. Don’t be afraid to try something new or out of the ordinary. Adventurous? Check out amazing and affordable hiking, biking, kayaking or backpacking journeys tailored for all fitness levels, in local spots as well as around the world. Or maybe just visiting a new destination, tasting the local cuisine and immersing yourself in a new culture is all you need to expand your horizons?
3. Don’t feel guilty. We all deserve a break once in a while. And a good vacation can help create a better and stronger you, actually increasing your overall productivity for the year.
4. Prepare for your vacation. Beyond logistics, study the local culture and places online. A travel advisor is also a terrific source of travel tips, safety notices, what to pack and even the best excursions where you’re headed. This can help build a sense of anticipation before leaving and greater appreciation once you’re there.
5. Don’t eat out for every meal. Meals on trips can often end up being over 50% of the cost. Even if you don’t have a full kitchen available where you stay, try to keep drinks, snacks and simple meals available and accessible. There’s no reason to spend a fortune or eat unhealthy just because you’re not at home.
Finally, make sure to enjoy yourself and don’t worry about status. Maybe even try to visit and stay with friends or family. It can add a social element to your trip and save you money too!
Need some help? MoneyComb is partnering with travel firm Suncierge℠ - the first travel service to offer comprehensive travel design, preparation and concierge services for time-starved individuals who aspire to travel. Whether you want to delegate the planning chores to a full-service expert or just need to troubleshoot a do-it-yourself travel plan, Suncierge anticipates all your needs before, during and after your adventure. Check them out at Suncierge.com!