The scientific answer is that the perfect vacation is one you anticipate. Studies have found that vacationers are happiest when they are counting down the days until they leave. That’s good news for people who like planning for vacations and potential incentive for those who don’t.

Whether you’re a natural born saver or not, here are some tips for setting money aside for vacation:

  • Open a savings account dedicated to vacation and do not touch the money unless you are paying for the trip. Make sure the account you choose has no minimum balance penalties or you may not be able to spend everything you save.
  • Establish an automatic monthly transfer from your checking account to the travel account.Twenty dollars a week translates into $1,040 a year.
  • Collect your change. Put a big glass jar or a wide-mouth can next to the door that everyone in your family uses the most. When you walk in the door, empty the change from your pockets and/or purse into the container. (You hate all those pennies anyway.) If you collect $1.50 a day, you’ll have more than $500 by the end of the year.
  • For your next birthday, let your family know about the vacation you’re planning. They may decide to gift you a great experience by making a contribution to your travel fund.

Regardless of the type of vacation, enjoy the time you spend planning and saving. It may prove to be the best part of the journey!

1Planning the Perfect Vacation, The New York Times, July 2011