We know saving for a vacation can be difficult, and saving for an expensive vacation is even harder. And just because our culinary tours are, we believe, the best value to be found, that doesn’t make them inexpensive. We have had culinary dreamers follow our social media for years with only the hope of “maybe someday” trying one of our trips.
But there is no reason you can’t make that dream trip a reality.
Here are some tips for how to save for the cooking vacation of your dreams.
Check out travel trends for 2023.
How to Save for a Culinary Vacation with The International Kitchen
1) Set Goals
No matter what you are saving for, experts agree that the single most important step in starting to save is to set goals. Whether you are looking at our most expensive culinary tour or biggest bargain, knowing how much you have to save is the first step.
Of course, the second part of the goal is figuring out the timeline. Do you want to travel this year? Next year? In 2024? The longer you have to save, the easier it is. If you want to travel this year, you will have to be more aggressive in your approach.
2) Travel with Friends
We can run most of our tours for a minimum of 2 people (and sometimes even one). But that doesn’t mean we can’t give you a better price if there are more of you! We believe in giving the best price we can to our travelers, and if you can get a group of friends together to travel with, there is a good chance we can give you a break on the price.
3) Consider Destination and Time of Year
Some destinations costs more than others. That is just the way of the world of travel. But within any of our destinations there will be a lot of price variation. Venice is always expensive. Venice in the off season is less expensive. Tuscany by now really has very little off season due to its popularity. Neighboring Umbria, on the other hand, is less known and can sometimes offer better pricing.
4) Consult the Experts
What the first three tips boil down to, of course, is to contact us for advice. We are travel experts. It is our job and our passion. If you tell us you have a $2500 budget per person, or a $5000 budget per person, we can help give you practical choices. That might mean we say, find 5 friends and go Greece in April. It might mean we say find 3 friends and go to Puglia in November. It might mean we say you can do pretty much anything! But we will help you narrow down your choices and set those goals.
The average cost of an international, round trip flight is currently around $1,370. That gives you a number to use when budgeting, but if you consult us about your air, you might be able to shave hundreds of dollars off that number, and it might just mean flying into a different city or flying on a different day of the week. We don’t do airline ticketing ourselves, but we provide our expert advice to our travelers as a courtesy, and can even get airfare quotes through our ticketing partners.
5) Find Places to Make Sacrifices
Let’s say you are hoping for a budget of $4000 per person, including air, for a week-long trip, and you want to travel October of 2023. That gives you a good 16 months to save $250 per month, and you just need to figure out where you can find that extra money each month.
Where to Find Extra Money in Your Budget
Some places people can commonly find ways to cut their monthly budget are:
- Streaming services and subscriptions. Consider cutting one or two (or all) of your streaming services or subscriptions. In our household, this would easily save over $100 a month.
- Dining out. Dining out is wonderful, and we would never recommend giving it up completely. But if you can reduce your monthly expenses for dining out by a quarter to a half, that can represent a significant savings.
- Credit Card Rewards. If you don’t have a credit card that provides rewards, get one, and use it. It doesn’t need to be a credit card with specific travel rewards, either. Getting even a 2% cash back reward over the course of a year can represent hundreds of dollars if not more.
- Tax refunds. If you get a tax refund, don’t spend it. Set it aside–into a separate account if possible–and put it toward your trip.
- Look at the bottom line. This is the hardest one, because it means going through your average monthly expenses and really knowing where your money is going. But once you do, you’ll see where you are spending and where you can save. Rent or mortgage payments? Probably not a place you can save much. Grocery bill? Yeah. For sure. Try to cut it by even 5% and see the savings add up. Utilities? You might be able to save there as well.
Remember, the first step is to set your goals. Instead of just perusing our website and dreaming, or liking our posts on social media, reach out to us. Let us help you find the trip of a lifetime!
By Peg Kern
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