Summer is soon, so it’s time to start planning and saving. Plenty of fun, interesting, and exciting opportunities are waiting for you just around the corner. And while that fun will be well worth having, it’s no secret that it can take a toll on your wallet.

Vacations can be expensive, and with the high cost of living these days, you may feel dissuaded from taking one. But don’t let any particular price tag stop you from considering a vacation. Prepare for your summer now to get ahead of your expenses so you can enjoy it guilt-free. Here are four tips to help you save up for your next seasonal getaway.

1. Plan Backward

In the seasons leading up to summer, there are usually tons of great deals on hotels, flights, rentals, and vacation packages. But by spring, you, like many, may think most of those deals are long gone. And while it’s true that many of the big deals may be gone, that doesn’t mean you should stop looking.

Summer is a long season, especially depending on where you want to travel. So while many sales for June and July may already be gone, there are probably still plenty for August and September. You likely (read: should) already have a travel budget. Take advantage of late-summer deals now by planning your trip in reverse order.

With a solid end-of-summer plan, you can budget the beginning and middle of summer more effectively. That way you won’t have to stress about having enough money for everything you want as the season unfolds. You’ll have a clear picture of what your spending expectations are ahead of time. Admittedly, planning in this manner means comparing and contrasting a lot of various options which can be challenging. Practice time blocking to maximize your focus time to ensure you don’t miss any vital information.

2. Choose Your Location and Timing Wisely

As mentioned, the financial viability of your summer travel plans can change depending on where you intend to go. Touristic hotspots like Florida, Mexico, and the Caribbean will be, understandably, more expensive. Tens of thousands, if not millions of people will migrate to these places at the same time. With such high demand, the cost of taking a vacation in these places will soar like an Uber during peak hours. Rather than gouge your wallet, open your mind to alternative travel possibilities.

One reason places like the Caribbean can be so crowded in summer is that people are ready for warmth after winter. This means that warm places usually have their tourist peak during the summer months. However, you can save a ton of money by taking your vacation in its polar opposite: winter. As the northern hemisphere enters its warmest phase, the southern enters its coldest. Take advantage of visiting unique destinations like Sydney, Australia at comparatively cheap prices during its winter months.

Alternatively, consider traveling to countries during one of its shoulder seasons: the time between a country’s peak of off-season. Places like Portugal, for example, see lots of summer traffic but are less crowded and still lovely in spring or fall. Remember that some countries’ shoulder seasons bleed into America’s summer months. Some countries, like those in Southeast Asia, have rainy seasons, for example, that can last a couple of months. Plan your trip around unorthodox times and locations to stretch your money as far as possible.

3. Work Abroad

What if instead of paying for a vacation, you got paid instead? Working abroad can be a great way to fund your next summer trip. There are entire websites like Workaway and Go Overseas dedicated to active overseas and domestic job boards. Sure, you’ll have to get your hands dirty rather than completely relax on your vacation. But this can be an incredible opportunity to learn a new skill, travel, and save or even make money while doing it!

Most, but certainly not all, jobs on online boards like Workaway will be volunteer opportunities. But don’t let that dissuade you from considering them! In most cases, you’ll also be given room and board by the host you’ll be living with. Depending on the host, you may even have the chance to learn a new language or have a personal tour guide. Some opportunities will offer paid positions in addition to living with your host, which can help fund your trip.

Remember that if you want to get paid for your work in another country, you’ll need the proper work visa. This could mean getting a traditional work visa, which generally involves needing a particular company to sponsor you. Or, if you meet your target destination’s demographic requirements, you could get the coveted working holiday visa. This visa allows you to work and travel at your leisure, perfect for backpackers, farmhands, and other short-term travelers.

4. Reduce Your Expenses

Planning for your upcoming summer trip doesn’t only involve mitigating costs you’ll incur during your actual vacation. It can also mean reducing your cost of living during the time leading up to your vacation. Naturally, the more money you can save between now and then, the more you’ll have in the trip budget. So it can be a great idea to start finding little ways to save here and there today. Investigating savings opportunities in your daily routine is one way to do this.

Think about parts of your daily life where you naturally accrue expenses, one of the most regular being fuel and energy. For example, if you drive to work, consider taking public transportation or walking or biking if you live close enough. Likewise, ensure you’re always turning off the lights as you leave a room and unplug smart electronics when you’re not using them. Smart and otherwise always-on tech will slowly but surely rack up your electricity bill over time if you’re not careful. Leverage a daily digital calendar app like, Google Calendar, or Microsoft Office to send you regular reminders to conserve energy!

Examining your eating and drinking habits can provide you with another tremendous daily savings opportunity. Consider not eating out until you’re on vacation, and start meal prepping instead. Not only is it more cost-effective, but it can also be much healthier than ordering food from restaurants. Speaking of health, you can cut back on alcohol consumption if you drink regularly. Give your liver and wallet a break now to enjoy a drink while relaxing on vacation.

Get Creative

Vacations can indeed be expensive, but they don’t have to be. As you can see there are so many ways to save enough money to afford a great vacation. That could mean taking a trip to an unusual destination at an unusual time. Or it could mean trimming your current expenses to save up in advance. However you do it, budgeting will usually involve being creative in some way.

Depending on what you want to do this summer, how can you save up for it by thinking outside the box? Could you work a part-time job or start a side hustle to increase your income stream? Or could you plan your vacation with some friends to share big expenses like housing while enjoying group discounts on activities? Despite the rising cost of living worldwide, there’s still never been a better time to travel than in the modern age.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Kampus Production; Pexels