Do you have a trip in the works and planning to go solo? You’re not alone. More than ever, travellers are choosing to embark on their own to another corner of the world for a dose of self-discovery and personal growth – Eat Pray Love-style.
And while that may sound great in theory, it’s not so easy when you’re counting pennies just to afford the flight. Let’s face it: saving for your dream trip can be tricky, especially for solo travellers.
So how can you make it work? We talked with Dilys D’Cruz, solo traveller and vice-president of Wealth Management at Meridian credit union for some tips on how you can better financially prepare for travelling on your own. Here’s her best advice:
Set goals to have a clear idea of costs
Setting goals and taking time to plan is critical to successfully saving, Dilys says. “Planning includes: setting your goals, choosing where you want to go and scope it out. Next, the important thing is planning financially: how are you going to pay for that?” Once you’ve figured out how much it’s going to cost you, look for opportunities where you can cut costs. Whether you’re able to save on travel and airfare, find package deals that cater to single travellers or use travel points from your credit card, there are always ways to save.
Create a personalized savings account
Set up multiple accounts, Dilys suggests, each assigned to a specific goal. Rather than combining your savings, create one account for emergencies, one for a car and another for your travel plans. The key is looking for a plan with low-interest rates and no extra fees, in order to make multiple accounts a reasonable option.
Set up automatic transfers for a painless way to save
Dilys is always looking for new ways for people to save, without having to think too much about it. She suggests setting up an automatic transfer so that every time you use your credit card, a certain amount is sent to your savings account. A person typically uses their debit card around three times a day, so even if you just transferred one dollar every purchase, that may be close to $100 a month of savings.
You can also allocate a certain percentage or amount from your paycheck to transfer automatically to your savings account each time you’re paid. “Small, consistent and automatic transfers really build up and make a difference over time. You don’t even feel it and yet you’re building up your savings account,” Dilys says.
Use your credit card & take advantage of travel points
Many credit cards give you travel points and dollars that can really help with travel costs. Using your credit card to pay your bills rather than having it taken directly out of your account can help to rack up those points fast. Dilys says the key is setting up an automatic transfer to pay off your credit card right away to avoid high interest rates.
Invest in travel insurance & save in the long run
Dilys emphasizes the importance of travel insurance when booking your trip. It’ll be a lifesaver on the road if you run into any type of emergency. Health coverage is an absolute must for out-of-country trips and trip cancellation should be evaluated based on how soon the trip is from when you’ve booked. Many credit cards cover travel insurance so be sure to read your card’s fine print: you might be able to save.
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