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How We Saved For Our Vacation

Do you want to learn how you can pay cash for your vacations? Well, here are a couple of ways that my husband and I fund our vacations without using credit cards. It helps us keep our vacation budget in check and eliminates the financial impact on our regular monthly expenses. We started taking semi-annual trips about three years ago, so we've learned a few traveling tricks. 

Annette Harris jumping into Blue Hole Mineral Spring Jamaica
Annette Harris jumping in Blue Hole Mineral Spring

Plan In Advance

When planning for a vacation, it's essential to plan as far as possible in advance. Planning allows you to know what to expect financially for your vacation. Many hotels and resorts will enable you to book at least 18 months in advance, which will make it easier to plan. If you know how much it's going to cost, you will be able to adjust your budget and save accordingly.

See my feature in How You Can Save on Travel on a Tight Budget to choose wisely when deciding when to travel.

Take Advantage of Paying Later

If you are going on a cruise or booking an all-inclusive resort (my favorite), you may have the option to pay later. Many popular vacation destinations and cruises allow you to pay on your vacation monthly, 90 days in advance, or once you arrive at your location. Again, planning will enable you to build up your vacation budget or add it to your monthly savings budget for the year. This will eliminate the need to pay all at once using your credit card. 

Create a Souvenir Budget

It was my husband's idea to create a souvenir list. So, we sat down together and made a list of everyone we wanted to souvenir shop for. We also listed the items we wanted to get for each individual, magnets, t-shirts, bracelets, etc. This included items for our neighbors who collected our mail, family members, and coworkers. Then, we created a souvenir budget. We ended up spending less on souvenirs than we expected and were able to redeposit the remaining funds back into our savings account to be used for our next vacation. Haggling with the vendors helped reduce our spending a lot. Don't be afraid to haggle. 

Video: Souvenir Shopping on a Budget

Plan for Excursions

If you don't want to stay on the cruise ship or the resort property the entire time, it's essential to research and budget for excursions. For the most part, planning for tours at resorts may cause you to pay more. So, we plan our excursions through a reputable source such as Viator and end up saving hundreds of dollars. We've used Viator on our last two trips and loved every tour guide they assigned us with. Just remember to take tips for the tour guide.


Speaking of tips, you should include money for tipping in your vacation budget. Some resorts like Sandals don't require tips, but you may have luggage or a driver to your destination if you are flying. It's a good rule of thumb to tip them a few dollars because they tend to make most of their money from tips. 

See my feature in Keeping Up with the Joneses (Tip 2).

Stick to Your Budget

Sticking to your budget is essential. If you see that you are running low on funds, avoid the temptation to use your credit card for excursions, dinners out, or souvenirs. You have already planned and set a budget, so keep your budget in mind when traveling alone or with friends. 


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