The Value of a 'Getaway' Savings Account

savings vacation planning Oct 29, 2019


Some crackers, carrots, hummus, and pears was our very un-fancy picnic overlooking the Strait of Georgia. My face was warm in the October sun - making it extremely pleasant to luxuriate in simply BEING. Together. Without plans, or urgency. We were simply present. Utter bliss.

We had heard the LOUD, breathy sound of whales on our hike - and squinted to see them off in the distance. We saw them spout - their backs rising just before sinking deeply back in, covering yards before re-surfacing.

And then a pair magically came up through the water about 30 feet from us - rising in the water, showing the whites of their humpback fins and the bumps along their mouths. What magnificent, powerful creatures... It was a perfect highlight to an incredibly perfect trip.

A trip where I got to have 5 whole days with my husband - celebrating the 20 years we have been married. It was the first time we have been away for more than 3 nights together since we became parents 19 years ago. It was luxurious - as in the place we stayed was luxurious, as well as the time - AND it was very simple. We focused on what we felt was most important (below I have some questions for designing any trip you want to take...).

Spending money on vacations / travel is always a significant commitment - of money and time - especially unpaid time if you are self-employed.

Most of the time people love their vacations, but sometimes it can feel a bit like a 'hangover' when you come home exhausted, frazzled, (depleted because it was a 'vacation' with lots of family dynamics...) or having spent more than you wanted and fearing the credit card bill...

Several years ago I set up a variety of savings accounts, each with it's own distinct purpose. One I named 'Getaway' - specifically for the two of us. (Now I am thinking that is kind of a strange name... but there you have it, that is what it's called!).

Every month a relatively small amount is automatically withdrawn from our checking account. It is always enough for at least one good long weekend away each year.

It is not a vacation savings account. It is also not a general savings account or an emergency fund (although needing to 'getaway' with your partner may certainly feel like an emergency!). It is specific. Because it is not to be used for anything else (there is nearly ALWAYS something else - right?!).

Some people use envelopes in their drawers and put cash inside. Some have one savings account, and organize the total by the categories they have determined - keeping track of the balances in excel or google sheets - or something fancier. The point is: have these "SAVE to SPEND" accounts mirror the intentions you have...

The categories / savings accounts could look like this...

  • Emergency Fund
  • Family Vacation
  • 'Getaway' - Solo Trip - Girl's Weekend (all three?)
  • Holiday Spending
  • New Car / Car Maintenance
  • Home Maintenance
  • Summer Camp
  • Etc...

There is tremendous power with intentional and automated savings. It really does add up. It really does create possibilities. And you can start as small as is needed.

The key is to START. Then use this particular type of savings (distinct from your retirement or safety net savings) to fund all the adventures you want to have... because...

you just may want to have a trip away... near a body of water... where whales appear to provide a gift you only receive when you are fully present and have zero plans...


Questions to Ask While PLANNING your TRIP

(Then make a list of what you anticipate spending)


Imagine yourself coming home after your trip... how do you want to FEEL?

  • Rested / Replenished [what specifically will help you feel rested? replenished? Do you need to be in 1 place for a bit?]
  • More Connected to Loved Ones [how do you want to structure your days to make sure there is space for this?]
  • Full from Adventure with Stories to Share [what kinds of adventures? how can you allow for this?]
  • Holding a New Perspective on My Life [what would help make space for this?]

Is your IDEAL to...

  • Meet New People?
  • See Old Friends?
  • Be Alone?
  • Be with your Partner?
  • Be with Family?
  • A combination? what would that look like?

How many ACTUAL days of 'vacation'?

  • 5 days?
  • 10 days?
  • 2 weeks?
  • 1 month? dream it into reality!

How do you want your DAYS to feel?

  • Organized? each day has a distinct purpose... including downtime...
  • Spontaneous? no plans! just see where life takes you...
  • Flexible? you have plans, but they can happen whenever the mood suits...
  • A combination? what would the ideal look like?

How many TRAVEL days do you need?

  • To Pack / Prepare? so you don't feel frantic leaving
  • FLYING - Driving - Taxi-ing...? 
  • To Recover from Jetlag? arriving? returning?
  • Time Before Returning to Work? it can be a gift to future you...

Now that you have designed your trip, take time putting amounts next to what you anticipate.

  • Airfare / Train / Bus
  • Taxi / Uber / Lyft (Include to/from airport, or airport parking...)
  • Rental Car / Gas
  • Accommodations
  • Food
  • Activities
  • Pet / House-sitter
  • Other...

There are usually creative solutions to create an excellent trip... We stayed in a fancy place but sat on our porch at sunset with some good nibbles and a wine that we brought for our dinners.

What is most important to you? 


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