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NerdWallet Experts: How We’re Saving for Our Dream Summer Vacations

May 19, 2017
Managing Money
NerdWallet Experts: How We're Saving for Our Dream Summer Vacations
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To kick off our first Dream Summer Sweepstakes, our savings and budgeting experts at NerdWallet sat down and told us about the summer vacations they’re saving for. Read on to find out where they’re going and how they’re saving to get there.


Lauren Schwahn: Budgeting expert

Q: What vacation are you saving for?

LS: My fiancé and I are visiting a friend in Paris this June.

Q: How are you saving for it?

LS: A lot of the trip will be paid for using credit card points. This makes the amount we have to save much more manageable! We both got credit cards with really good travel bonuses and started looking for flights early. We found that the earlier you start searching, the better chance we had of finding a flight that can be redeemed with credit card points. My fiancé and I also stopped eating out after we booked the tickets. This helps us save more to cover the cost of expenses while we travel. We’re getting married and moving soon, so we really want to avoid going into debt for this vacation.

Tony Armstrong: Savings expert


Q: What vacation are you saving for?

TA: I’m heading to Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., in early June to visit some friends.

Q: How are you saving for it?

TA: I started tracking my spending six months ago and made small changes to save money on recurring costs. For instance, I use public transportation or walk as much as possible instead of calling Uber or Lyft for a ride. I also try to even out my spending habits so that if I spend a lot one week, I spend less the next. I put the money I saved from these changes into a separate savings account and kept adding until it was enough to cover the cost of the trip.


Devon Delfino: Budgeting expert

Q: What vacation are you saving for?

DD: I’m saving for a road trip to go hiking in Big Sur, California, in July. I’m about two months away from being completely free of credit card debt, and I want to celebrate with a debt-free vacation.

Q: How are you saving for it?

DD: I’m already used to putting money in savings and paying off debt when I receive my paycheck — before I pay for anything fun. So I treat my vacation fund like another payment. I set up an automatic withdrawal from my checking to savings, and I leave it alone.

Amber Murakami-Fester: Savings expert


Q: What vacation are you saving for?

AMF: I’m going to Portland in July with some friends to celebrate Independence Day. I’ve never been there, so I’m really excited.

Q: How are you saving for it?

AMF: I use separate accounts at two different banks and divide my paycheck between them. One account is for spending money, the other is for savings. When I want to go on vacation, I check my savings balance. If it’s low, I cut back on going out with friends and on everyday expenses. Using a separate bank for savings makes budgeting seamless because I don’t have to think about spending too much.


Spencer Tierney: Savings expert

Q: What vacation are you saving for?

ST: I’m trying to decide between visiting London and backpacking in the Point Reyes National Seashore in California. Clearly, I don’t have an exact vacation that I’m saving for right now, but I do have a savings account dedicated to a vacation for when I do take it.

Q: How are you saving for it?

ST: To make it easier to save, I automate a monthly transfer from my checking account to what I call my “Epic Adventures Only” vacation fund. Keeping the vacation fund separate gives me peace of mind that I’ll be able to pay for unexpected expenses, and it also keeps me excited about the trip.

As these experts show, saving for summer vacation doesn’t have to be hard if you start small and stick to it. Use our savings calculator to find out how fast your vacation fund can grow. You’ll be able to make the most of your cash while planning an epic summer trip.

Read the official rules here.