How to Save for a Vacation When You’re Broke

women globeWhen my husband and I first got married, we had $45,000+ in debt combined.

We realized our predicament and were scared of the thought that we wouldn’t get to enjoy any of our child-free years traveling as we had envisioned, and instead just paying down debt. However, we weren’t willing to sacrifice all our happiness and dreams for the sake of being debt-free, so we figured out a way to save for a vacation even though by everyone’s standards, we were flat-broke.

Vacations are not just a luxury. For many people, vacations help you de-stress and realize why you work so hard most of the year. They help you mentally and emotionally.

Here are our tips on how to save for a vacation when you’re broke:

Make Travel a Priority

People often wondered how we were able to travel to Costa Rica, Seattle, San Francisco, Vegas, New York, Palm Springs, etc, when we had so much debt, but the truth is we made travel a priority.

If you are trying to pay off debt and don’t know how you’ll be able to afford a vacation, you have to learn to make it a priority. Which means, figure out a plan on how you’re going to pay off your debt, and every time you make your mini-goals (ie, paid off $10k by a certain debt), then you reward yourself with a vacation.

Set Mini-Savings Goals

You make your debt payments on time each month, right? So make your vacation savings a priority too. Every week, set aside $25, $50, or $100. Whatever you can afford that won’t affect your debt payments, but will still balloon in size. Making small weekly savings is much easier than making a bulk monthly payment.

Use Credit Card Bonus Points

My husband and I charge everything on a credit card, but we pay them off in full each month. We save all our points and only use them for travel.

We were able to put $600 toward our most recent Cabo vacation, taking our bill from $2000 to $1300. Not bad for airfare for two and a four-night, five-day trip to an all-inclusive hotel, right?

Take Advantage of Your Resources

By resources, I mean your family and friends. Take advantage.

Do your friends live in any cool places? Ask to crash on their couch. Do your parents ask you to go on their annual trip to Hawaii? Tag along.

Hotel can often be the most expensive cost of a trip. Staying with friends or family helps to severely offset the cost of your vacation. I’ve stayed with friends on vacations to Australia, New Orleans, San Francisco, London…

If there are any smaller weekend getaways that you can drive to, that will also help you save money on your vacation.