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Bottom Line Up Front

  • The right attitude and planning tools can make saving money for your future vacation easy and fun.
  • From travel rewards credit cards to splitting your direct deposit and saving automatically, Navy Federal Credit Union has many services and financial tools that can help you plan for your big trip and boost your vacation fund.

Time to Read

4 minutes

April 14, 2022

It takes conscious effort to make dreams come true, and your dream vacation is 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. Don’t plan your next vacation before you check out these tips!

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 rampant 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 travel expenses like hotel or airfare, don’t forget to include the price of being away from home, such as boarding your pet. Those forgotten fees also count as travel costs. Add extra money as padding for incidentals like valet tips and foreign cell phone charges.
  • Determine your timeline. The amount of time you have in which to save money will determine how much you need to put away in a travel fund each month. For example, if you have 12 months to save, and you estimate the trip will cost $2,500, aim to save about $210 a month. Think about creating a special vacation savings account just for your next trip.
  • Become conscious of your spending. Track spending so you know where your money goes and determine which expenses really add value to your life. Keep what’s important while cutting out extras. For instance, eat out less often, and ask yourself if you're really using that gym membership.

Maintain Your Motivation

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

  • Monitor your progress. Keep tabs on your savings account to watch how quickly compounding interest and making regular deposits can accumulate.
  • Plan a yard sale. Having an event to plan can keep you excited and result in a little extra income you can set aside.
  • Search the internet or magazines for pictures of your destination. Seeing your goal can help you keep your eye on the prize.

The Right Tools Make a Difference

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

  • Dedicated savings accounts, such as Navy Federal’s Basic Savings Account, offer a low minimum deposit, the ability to earn dividends and access to your money anytime. 
  • Certificates, which typically offer higher interest rates than savings accounts, are available in a variety of terms (some from 3 months up to 7 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 could help you reach your travel budget goal.
  • Direct deposit provides a no-hassle way to divide your paycheck between your checking and savings accounts. You can even make mobile deposits from our app.*
  • A travel rewards credit card could help cover some vacation expenses, like the cost of a flight or hotel room.
  • Credit cards with 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 we’re always ready to help.

Next Steps Next Steps

  1. Set a realistic goal for vacation saving by seeing what your existing monthly expenses are, and determining how much money you need for your trip. 
  2. Use a savings goal calculator to see how long it will take you to put aside your vacation fund.
  3. Name your savings account after your vacation (e.g., "Trip to Tokyo") so you can see your vacation fund grow and make saving more exciting! 


This content is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.