Everyone has their idea of a dream vacation. For some, it’s backpacking around South East Asia. For others, it might be a beach retreat on an island paradise in the Caribbean. It might be skiing in the Rockies, trekking the Andes or traveling by train around the whole of Europe. Africa, Australia, South America – we’ve all got that one place we’ve always wanted to go.

Unfortunately, all of these holidays cost money, and for many of us, that is a major stumbling block in terms of being able to live the dream. Put simply; they look like they are out of our financial reaches.

Except that they don’t have to be. With a little bit of scrimping and saving and a lot of creativity, you could easily afford to be able to go on your dream vacation.

Here are five ways to be able to afford your dream vacation

Start saving

It is the most obvious way to get yourself on that plane but start saving today. You might say to yourself “I’ll start putting money aside next month,” but there is no time like the present. Once you start saving, you’ll also realize how easy it is and how much you can make, and that will motivate you to continue.

There are plenty of ways to start saving. You can go back to when you were a child and put your spare change in a piggy bank – you’ll be surprised how quickly that adds up. You could divert a fixed amount of your wages each month into a separate holiday fund or account which you don’t touch until the time to go away is here.

Then there is sacrificing your current lifestyle luxuries. Take eating out for example. The average American spends $232 a month eating out. That includes lunch breaks at work and dinner with friends. Imagine if you prepared your own lunch every day and instead of eating out, or invited people for dinner?

You’d instantly be saving a lot of money to get you on to one of Canada’s top ski resorts. The same goes for nights out. Cut out a few of your monthly visits to bars and clubs and all that money spent on beer could have you stood in front of the Eiffel Tower in no time.

Book everything yourself

It may seem like a pretty obvious point in a day and age when the internet gives us access to practically anything, but you can save a lot of money if you book everything yourself. Price comparison websites exist in virtually every industry these days and the holiday sector is no different.

You can use price comparison websites to find the cheapest days for the cheapest flights to your destination. You can use them to find the best value for money hotel in the places you want to stay. You can even use to them to help you find the company offering the best rates for you to exchange your dollars into local the currency.

Long gone are the days when you had to book a holiday through a travel agent, whose main concern may have been their fees and commission. Now you can book what works best for you, and that can make it affordable.

Consider taking out a credit card or loan

If this dream holiday is something you really want to do, then you can probably justify it with a credit card or loan. Providing you’ve never been in financial strife before, you should have a good credit rating which will mean banks are willing to lend to you and at a favorable interest rate.

Believe it or not but paying for your dream vacation in this way can also make work a seem a lot more bearable on your return. You might hate your job, but you know that by working hard you are earning the money to pay for all those happy memories you’ve just made on the ultimate Australian backpacking trip.

Before applying for a credit card or loan, you should take the time to read about checking your credit score.

Volunteer – or get paid to go on holiday

Imagine if your holiday was completely free – or even better, you could get paid for doing it? That isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds, as long as you are willing to put the work in.

There is a multitude of volunteering schemes that can take you to dream destinations around the world. It might be building schools in South East Asia or helping with charity work in beautiful Africa. By enrolling on one of these schemes, you’ll potentially get free flights to your destination, free accommodation, and even a living allowance. You’ll also get to enjoy experiences that few others have.

Then there is actually being paid to go abroad. If China or the Far East is your idea of a dream holiday, you could offer your services as an English language teacher. These sorts of roles can take you away for up to six months at a time and are fully paid. What better way to see the world?

Learn to say no

No is the hardest word in the English language, but it’s one you need to learn to save for that dream holiday. We already touched upon cutting back upon luxuries earlier, and that goes hand-in-hand with your ability to say “no.”

Do you want to go to the movies tonight?” “Do you want to go and watch the local professional soccer team play?” “Do you want to go for a beer?” “Do you want to go away for the weekend?”

If you can learn to occasionally say no to all those questions, you’ll be saving a lot of money which can ultimately be put towards your dream vacation. You might find it difficult to say no, you might even find it awkward, but when you are lying on that coconut strewn beach of golden sand in the Caribbean, you’ll be glad you did. Especially when you can say “yes” to a rum cocktail.

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