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Start your vacation funding plan today

Are you trying to figure out how to afford your next vacation?

Do you have your heart set on a destination wedding or spring break getaway?

Are you simply throwing your spare change into an empty coffee can and hoping for that nest egg to grow?

Well my friend you need to have a vacation funding plan and here’s how you can start today.

Regardless of your dream destination let’s put some modern technology to work on developing your plan.

Financial management website www.mint.com can help you calculate how many designer coffees or dinners out that you will have to skip you would have to skip to pay for that dream journey.

They’ll help you calculate how to cut back on expenses and Save Save Save!

Since 2007 Mint.com has been helping spenders’ big and small set goals for their personal and household needs.

This June it launched a new tool designed to help travelers set a vacation goal and then save for it.

The first step is to establish how much you think the trip will cost.

If you work with a personal travel planner I am sure that he or she can give you a fairly estimate.

I know that after 30 years as a travel agent, tour operator and travel educator that I can look at a trip and judge if it is a bargain, fairly or overpriced.

The same holds true for being able to provide a pretty accurate quote on a future journey that falls within my area of specialization.

I wouldn’t attempt to price out anything that I’m not comfortable with. So sorry this travel guy will not be able to help you with Myrtle Beach, Branson MO or K2 climbing package prices.

If you don’t have a live agent then there are plenty of on-line travel agencies that can help you create an estimate.

A click here a click there and you should be able to come up with fairly accurate figures.

Be sure to include transportation-airfare, rail, rental car, lodging, sightseeing, meals and so forth.

Don’t forget to add in daily spending for trinkets and souvenirs. You know your spending habits. If you can’t walk by a snow globe without purchasing add these figures to your estimate.

Keep in mind that most travel providers will only provide quotes for about 330 days into the future so if your travel plans are a few year off factor in inflation.

The more accurate you are in predicting travel expenses will ensure that a more realistic personalized savings plan will be created.

Once armed with these facts and figure turn to mint.com for detailed budgeting assistance.

On mint.com you can download your personal financial information, right from your accounts, to get a reading on exactly where you stand after paying your monthly bills and putting aside savings for things like college funds or retirement.

The new tool, Mint Goals, helps mint.com users figure out how much they need to save every month to make their vacation goal by the travel deadline.

Another option is the tell Ms. Mint how much you can save each month and she’ll let you know when you can reasonably expect to be on that plane headed for Sandals Royal Caribbean.

Mint.com works with travel sites like Expedia.com and Orbitz.com to provide travelers with planning tips and resources and supplies other handy tips.

And it shows users how to cut back in other areas, such as dry cleaning or restaurant bills, to make the trip happen faster.

It will show you where you are spending your money. Once faced with this data then you can decide to cut out daily lunches at the snack shack and start brown bagging it.

Mint will send you a monthly progress report so you can watch your saving grow.

Mint is free to use as it makes its money from the referral fees paid by banks if you open new accounts with their advertisers.

Should you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me at thetravelprofessor@gmail.com. I always appreciate feedback!

Don’t forget today’s “Behind the Back Fence Garden Tours” sponsored by the Ironton in Bloom committee. Head over the Lawrence Country Historical Society this afternoon around 2-3pm and they will get you on your way.