Europe is a gorgeous continent with many diverse countries to visit. It is thus no surprise that many see a trip to Europe as their dream vacation. While this trip can be quite costly, you can still afford it as long as you take the right steps. Here are six tips for saving money for your European vacation.
1. Create a Vacation Account
If you plan to take your European vacation after you retire, you can set up a 401(k) or an individual retirement account (IRA) that lets you invest your money until you reach 60 years of age. IRAs, in particular, offer great tax benefits as long as you do not withdraw the money too early.
Even if you do not have an IRA or a 401(k), you can still create your own savings account and put a set amount of money into it each month. The account will collect interest over time, giving you even more money to spend in Europe.
2. Make a Budget
As you plan your vacation, you need to decide exactly how much you can afford to spend. This should help you figure out the amount of money to set aside each month.
Of course, your budget should depend on exactly where and when you are traveling. Trips to Europe, in particular, are often expensive due to the high currency exchange rate. However, you can reduce the cost of your vacation by traveling during off-seasons and by booking flights during the week.
Research the costs of hotels and airfare in Europe so you have a ballpark idea of the amount of money you will need. Do not forget to include the price of meals and transportation, as well. When adding up your final budget, you should include a buffer of around 10 or 15 percent to account for any currency fluctuations or other unexpected costs.
3. Eliminate Extra Expenses
You probably spend more than you think on nonessential items each month. Cut out those extra expenses and put the money you save toward your vacation fund.
Subscriptions, for instance, can easily add up over time. If you do not watch that much television, you do not need to subscribe to every streaming service.
Dining out is also an unnecessary expense. Even replacing just one takeout dinner a week with a meal made at home can make a big difference to your bank account.
Of course, making your own meals means buying more food at the grocery store each week. Still, there are ways to save money at the supermarket. Opt for cheaper, fresh produce and skip the prepared food section. Also, be sure to eat before you head out to the store. If you are hungry, you will be tempted to buy everything you see.
Finally, you should skip your morning latte runs at your local coffee shop. This alone could save you $20 to $25 per week. If you need a coffee fix, get an inexpensive coffee maker for your house.
4. Earn Extra Cash
Many companies offer seasonal or part-time jobs that you can use to bring in some extra cash. If you are too busy to work another 20 hours a week, you could always freelance or drive for a rideshare company. You can even sell some of your old crafts online.
5. Use Rewards Programs
Several credit cards offer cash or travel rewards for customers. You just use the card as you normally do and then get points that you can redeem for vacation-related purchases.
6. Recruit Others
Airfare and accommodations are cheaper if you split them amongst several people. Talk to your friends or relatives to see if any of them want to join you on your European adventure. You can then work together and encourage each other to save money for the trip.
Do not let your financial situation stop you from traveling to Europe. By following the above tips, you can make your dream vacation a reality.