Me and Stefan recently booked a trip to Europe for the end of the summer and it got me thinking about how much planning goes into booking your dream trip – from saving, to scouting out places to stay, to getting flight deals, and finding the not-to-miss spots in each place, planning a trip takes a LOT of work. It’s all worth it of course, and I love planning vacations, but I think it’s important to be prepared for everything you need to do – before and while on vaycay.

1) Budgeting

Budgeting is a key piece of the puzzle when you plan your dream vacation! You have to budget for flights, accommodation, travel insurance, food, drinks, daily spending money, transit passes, and any day trips or activities you want to do. I may be missing a few things, but I think you get the gist – travel is not cheap! There are ways to save money while you travel for sure, but you still need to budget to make sure you’re not broke on your vacation.

How to Plan Your Dream Vacation: My 6 best tips from creating a budget to researching destinations, and creating a travel guide for yourself. Wherever your adventure, make sure to have this checklist on hand to help you plan your trip!

It all depends where you’re traveling to as well. While the cost of eating and accommodation comes super cheap in some places, other places aren’t so wallet friendly. Do your research to find out how much you will approximately need day to day for wherever you’re traveling to. Your “pocket change” can go quickly when you’re traveling if you’re not careful, so create a budget for yourself and stick to it as much as possible.

Here are some of my best tips for saving while your travel and before your trip:

1. Eat In (Now and on Vacation)

Of course you’ll want to try out restaurants and cafés while you travel, but one of our favourite things to do is find a local market and stock up on food to make in our Airbnb. We’ll either make breakfast/brunch in and go out for the rest of the day/night, or go out for the day and make dinner at our apartment. It’s a great way to save money, while still getting to eat local food!

How to Plan Your Dream Vacation: My 6 best tips from creating a budget to researching destinations, and creating a travel guide for yourself. Wherever your adventure, make sure to have this checklist on hand to help you plan your trip!

And before you travel, a great way to save money is to stop going out for dinners and drinks. You can save so much money by making your own food, especially when it comes to lunches and dinners, so make you own meals as much as you can to save money!

2. Start a Travel Savings Fund

Put part of every pay cheque into a travel savings fund. A savings account that’s inaccessible from your internet banking is the best bet, so you’re not tempted to transfer money out of it, but any type of savings account will work! If you have a job where you get tipped out, you can also keep your travel fund in a money jar or piggy bank. Think how much you could save if you start putting money aside today!

How to Plan Your Dream Vacation: My 6 best tips from creating a budget to researching destinations, and creating a travel guide for yourself. Wherever your adventure, make sure to have this checklist on hand to help you plan your trip!

Related Post: 8 Ways to Save Money Every Week

2) Instagram Collections

You guys know I’m a huge fan of Instagram, and I find the platform so helpful when it comes to planning for your dream trip! When we started planning for Europe, I started searching spots in the places we’re going and saving them. If you don’t know how to bookmark photos, all you have to do is click the save button on the lower right side below the photo.

Then I realized you can create collections for your saved photos!! This makes it so easy to organize your trip with the places you want to eat, see and explore! I’ve saved everything from cafés to restaurants, to thermal baths, and local spots. I definitely recommend starting collections to plan for your trip!

How to Plan Your Dream Vacation: My 6 best tips from creating a budget to researching destinations, and creating a travel guide for yourself. Wherever your adventure, make sure to have this checklist on hand to help you plan your trip!

3) Airbnb

Airbnb is our go to when we travel. There are so many amazing apartments to rent out for incredibly affordable prices. We used Airbnb last year when we went to Lisbon and Barcelona and had amazing experiences at both. The hosts were so helpful and kind. I love how you can read reviews from other travelers so you know exactly what to expect.

How to Plan Your Dream Vacation: My 6 best tips from creating a budget to researching destinations, and creating a travel guide for yourself. Wherever your adventure, make sure to have this checklist on hand to help you plan your trip!

I scouted out Airbnbs before we did any other planning for the trip. I wanted to make sure we could stay at amazing places wherever we went, and all the ones we booked are SO cute! I can’t wait to share them with you guys – make sure to follow along on Instagram for updates! We always opt for the whole apartment, rather than just a room in an apartment, but that’s also an option at some places if you want something cheaper. It really depends on your budget!

4) Airbnb Experiences

I also can’t wait to look into Airbnb experiences! Up until now, I’ve only used Airbnb for accommodation, but now you can search and book experiences through the platform as well. My friend Emily is also going to Europe in a few months and she told me that the experiences are amazing! She even booked an hour-long photoshoot in Paris!

How to Plan Your Dream Vacation: My 6 best tips from creating a budget to researching destinations, and creating a travel guide for yourself. Wherever your adventure, make sure to have this checklist on hand to help you plan your trip!

I’ll definitely have to get on that! Experiences range from cooking classes to painting and wine workshops, to salsa classes, concerts, and much more, so whatever you’re looking to do on your dream trip, you can search Airbnb!

5) Save on Travel

Since travel can be so expensive, I like to cut costs wherever I can! For this, my favourite tool to use is Shop.com – they’re partnered with travel sites like Expedia to give you cash back on your travel bookings! Expedia offers up to 4% cash back on flights, which can be a considerable amount seeing how expensive flights are.

All you have to do is click “Sign in” on the right top corner, choose your country and register up for an account – it’s totally free! Here’s a tutorial if you want to learn more about how to use it and basically get paid to travel!

6) Lonely Planet Tour Books

Last year when we went to Portugal and Spain, our Lonely Travel books were our best friends. With the help of Instagram and the tour books, every day was filled with delicious restaurants, amazing views and fun explorations and experiences. While Instagram is really helpful to find spots for food and drink, I think Lonely Planet does an amazing job in terms of laying out sight seeing, how to get around, and things to discover in each neighbourhood.

How to Plan Your Dream Vacation: My 6 best tips from creating a budget to researching destinations, and creating a travel guide for yourself. Wherever your adventure, make sure to have this checklist on hand to help you plan your trip!

Are you going on vacation anytime soon? I’d love to know where and what you’re doing to plan your dream vacation!

If you loved these tips on how to plan for your dream trip, please share the image below on Pinterest!

How to Plan Your Dream Vacation: My 6 best tips from creating a budget to researching destinations, and creating a travel guide for yourself. Wherever your adventure, make sure to have this checklist on hand to help you plan your trip!

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