How to Save for Your 2021 Travel Bucket List

Melinda Crow

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It's time to save for travel again, finally.Photo by Michael Longmire on Unsplash

Every day the world of travel is beginning to open up again. We can feel the excitement in the air. Whether your bucket list consists of big travel goals like taking a European cruise or simpler wishes like a week-long road trip, travel costs money. The surest way to make your travel dreams come true is to set money aside designated for those bucket list adventures. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Save the change. You might be surprised at how quickly your change adds up when you implement this old-school way of saving money. Try using an actual bucket to remind yourself why you are tossing in pennies and nickels every evening.

Step up to saving dollar bills. Amplify your change bucket with stacks of bills. Clear a spot in your nightstand or desk drawer the size of a dollar bill, then start stacking. Odd tip: the boxes for iPhones are just about the right size for stacking dollar bills, so now you finally know what to do with that sturdy white box you've been hanging onto. When your stack reaches the top of the box or the drawer, take it to the bank.

Open a separate bank account. When your bucket change and bills start stacking up, open a bank account dedicated to travel. A simple savings account that you can transfer money into from your checking account works best and usually won't incur fees.

Consider a PayPal account. Why not use something as simple as PayPal as your travel fund? You can transfer money into it from your checking account anytime, then let it become your out-of-sight-out-of-mind bucket list fund. Bump up the balance by selling stuff you don’t need on eBay. The money goes right where you want to save it, not in your wallet. When travel time gets closer, get a PayPal debit card to use for the trip.

Buy travel gift cards for yourself. If money really has a tendency to slip through your fingers, try buying yourself gift cards from the airline your plan to use for your bucket list travel. You will be amazed at how quickly a stack of $25 gift cards can add up to the cost of a flight. Watch for seasonal bonuses from the airline that can make your stack of cards grow even faster. Be sure to keep your cards in a secure spot, hopefully, one you will remember.

Use a travel reward credit card. While it's okay to study up on all the card offers out there, keep in mind that the card that will get you to your bucket list soonest is the one with rewards you actually want to use. Don't apply for cards from airlines you rarely fly on, or from a cruise line that is not actually on your bucket list. Pick a card that closely aligns with your travel goals, then use that card for day-to-day purchases instead of reaching for your debit card. Try paying your bill weekly to keep from running up the balance or topping it with interest charges.

Set up a Stash. Start an investment account with as little as $5 with an app on your smartphone. Stash lets you set up an investment account with your goals and risk level in mind. Link it to your bank account, set up automatic weekly investments, then let Stash do the work for you to help you reach your bucket list.

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Waco, TX
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