It takes conscious effort to make dreams come true, and dream vacations are no exception. That trip to Tokyo, a trek along the Appalachian Trail or a tour of stadiums across the United States isn’t likely to materialize out of the funds left over in your bank account. Fortunately, putting effort into saving for future joy doesn’t have to be a drag. With the right attitude and tools, you may take almost as much pleasure in building toward your dream as you’ll take in living it.

Dream a Little Dream

Unless your fantasy is to scrimp and save your way through your holiday, a dream getaway is likely to require a robust stash of cash. So while your imagination runs riot in the Australian Outback or the snows of Mount Kilimanjaro, put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and figure out your savings plan.

  • Research how much your vacation will cost. In addition to obvious expenses like hotel or airfare, don’t forget to include the price of being away from home, such as boarding your pet. Add extra padding for incidentals like valet tips and extra cellphone charges.
  • Determine your timeline. The amount of time you have to save money will determine how much you need to put away each month. For example, if you have 12 months to save, and you estimate the trip will cost $2,500, you should aim to save about $210 a month.
  • Adopt a habit of being conscious of your spending. Track your spending so you know where your money goes and determine which expenses are really adding value to your life. Keep those that are important to you while cutting out the extras.

Maintain Your Motivation

Interest can wane, and self-discipline can wear down, but a few daily rituals may help you stay motivated.

  • Empty your pockets or handbag of change every evening and watch the pennies pile up. Just $1.33 in spare change every day adds up to about $40 a month.
  • Search the Internet or magazines for pictures of your destination. Seeing your goal can help you keep your eye on the prize.
  • Monitor your progress. Keep tabs on your savings account to watch how quickly compounding interest and regular deposits can accumulate.

The Right Tools Make a Difference

Find the financial products and services that can help you make your dream vacation a reality. 

  • Dedicated savings accounts, such as Navy Federal’s SaveFirst Account, offer flexible terms, a low minimum deposit, a maturity date to match your goal and dividends compounded daily.
  • Certificates, which typically offer higher interest rates than savings accounts, are available in a variety of terms (some from three months up to five years) to match your goal and allow you to make deposits at any time. Dividends are compounded daily. Depending on the certificate, you may need a minimum deposit to get started.
  • Savings calculators can help you determine how regular deposits and compounding interest can quickly help you reach your goal.
  • Direct deposit provides a no-hassle way to divide your paycheck between your checking and savings accounts.
  • Credit cards with travel rewards can help cover some vacation costs, while cash back rewards may be used to boost your savings.

Navy Federal has a variety of tools and services available to help you save for your dreams, and with a solid plan, you'll be well on your way. Learn more about saving for your goals and see how you can achieve them in no time.