Is there a place you often find yourself thinking about getting away to or a trip you've always wanted to take? It could be more than a faraway thought or pleasant daydream. A well-executed plan could make it a reality. Here's how to get started.
Establish your vision
Visualize your dream getaway. What are you doing? Lying on a sunlit shore with a tiny umbrella in your drink? Having a drink at a local pub? Reaching the top of a mountain and taking in the breathtaking landscape? Are you traveling with anyone or on a solo adventure? How do you feel? Happy? Relaxed? Adventurous?
Then, think about what you want to get from your trip (i.e., adventure, family time, relaxation). Which aspects appeal to you most (i.e., the ocean, a theme park or other place close to your heart)? What would this trip have to have to fulfill your vision? Take note of these so you can prioritize them in your planning.
When planning a trip with someone else (i.e., a partner, friend or family member), remember to also consider their vision. You may have to compromise (similar to how you would if you were investing together).
If you're a more visual person and want to go the extra mile (vision-wise), you could create a paper vision board with corkboard or posterboard — or a digital one with design software or an image sharing site like Pinterest. It can serve as an inspirational and hopeful reminder of what you're working towards.
Think through the details
Once you have a clear vision of what you want, you can begin mapping out (figuratively speaking, but possibly literally also) how to get there. Start by thinking about the specifics of your trip and considerations for being away from home. Then, follow-up with research to explore your options.
Here are some things you might want to consider:
- Where do you want to go?
- What places fit the bill?
- Do you need a passport or other documentation?
- How many PTO or vacation days do you have?
- How long do you want to be gone?
- Is there a specific season that would be best?
- Will anyone be joining you?
- How are you getting there (i.e., plane, bus, train, boat, car, spacecraft)?
- How are you getting around once you're there (i.e., car, rideshare, boat, bus, bike, walking)?
- Where are you going to stay while you're there (i.e., hotel, rental, RV, tent)?
- Will you be eating out most of the time?
- Would you need to buy or pack groceries?
Note: Your trip might be less enjoyable if you get hangry.
- What activities would you like to participate in while you're there or on the way there?
- Are there any specific sights you'd like to see?
- Will you be visiting any stores?
- Are you going to want any souvenirs?
Note: Consider leaving extra room in your luggage for any items you might bring back.
- Do you need to plan for anyone or anything to be looked after while you're away (i.e., plants, pets, loved ones)?
Calculate the cost and create a budget
Estimate any costs associated with your answers in each of the categories above. Keep in mind the length of your trip and how many people will be joining you. If you plan to travel abroad and use local currency, you'll also want to factor in the foreign exchange rate. Rates fluctuate, but it'll give you a better sense of how far your dollars may go. Once you have your estimates, you can combine those numbers to get an idea of how much the trip will cost you in total.
Maybe you already have enough money saved up to cover the cost of your grand adventure, but if not, you have options. You could create a budget to help you put money aside or — if your trip is farther off — you may want to consider investing. Our investment calculator can help you get a clearer picture of your savings potential.
If you need additional guidance, you can share your target savings goal with your financial advisor. They can help you come up with a strategy that works with your other financial goals.