Where To Keep Your Travel Fund

By Janet Siroto · March 20, 2024 · 8 minute read

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Where To Keep Your Travel Fund

Are you a little obsessed with planning your next big trip? We hear you! The excitement of seeing new places — whether that means a faraway tropical island or a neighboring state — is a powerful lure. But there’s one thing that may get in the way: Money.

Let’s be real, travel can be expensive. Even if you’re hopping in the car for a short weekend road trip, the cost of gas, food, entertainment, accommodations, and more can get a bit overwhelming. Fortunately, with a little bit of planning, you can make your travel dreams a reality. And it can all begin by creating a travel fund.

What Is a Travel Fund?

A travel fund is exactly what it sounds like — a fund exclusively used for gallivanting around the world. It’s a place to stash some cash that you don’t use for rent, bills, repaying student loans, or any other monthly financial obligations. This fund is just for your passion in life. And your passion is clearly traveling.

How to Fund Traveling

Unfortunately, a travel savings account will not grow by magic. If only! You’ll need to find ways to funnel some cash towards your travel plans. There are a variety of ways to do this. Perhaps you got a raise recently (nice!) and can put that amount directly towards travel. Or, maybe you can automatically whisk $25 or $50 per paycheck into your savings. Or, you might give up concert tickets or takeout food for a while to allow some wiggle room in your budget that goes towards paying for your next getaway. There are many options — some of which we’ll explore below.

Recommended: 15 Easy Ways to Save Money

Setting Up a Dedicated Travel Savings Account

There are a few options for where to keep your travel fund. Yes, you could keep your vacation fund in the same account as your day-to-day savings, but separating the fund could provide even more clarity.

Keeping your travel fund in a separate account can make it easy to see how close you are to reaching your travel goal. It allows you to see exactly how much money you’ve saved for the cause with ease. Having the money in a separate account also allows you to set up automatic contributions, just as you might already be doing with your other accounts.

Automating your savings towards travel means you can eliminate another task from your to-do list. You’ll be making progress toward your dream of cruising down the Nile without even having to think about it. And since it’s stashed separately, you don’t need to worry that you’ll use it on, say, entertainment or new shoes without realizing it.

Tips on Selecting an Account to Use

When it comes to setting up a dedicated travel fund, the first order of business is usually to pick an account type. There are a variety of options to choose from. Part of what will likely influence your decision is how long you plan on saving. If you want to take a trip in just a few months, a savings account may be a good vehicle. You can easily contribute to it, and you’ll earn some interest.

To help your travel fund grow faster, you may want to go with a high yield savings account. These accounts typically pay a much higher annual percentage yield (APY) than traditional savings accounts, giving you the ability to earn more on your money while still enjoying the security of a federally insured account. These days, many high-yield savings accounts offer APYs of up to 5% or more — many times more than the average national rate of 0.46%.

Some of these accounts may come with certain restrictions, like a limited number of withdrawals a month or maintaining a minimum balance, so be sure to read the fine print on each account you might be considering.

Another is a certificate of deposit (CD), which locks up your money for a particular term, typically from six months to a few years. This type of account can sometimes offer a more competitive interest rate than a traditional savings account but comes with withdrawal restrictions. If you choose to withdraw the money before the term ends, you’ll likely have to pay a penalty or fee.

Yet another option is to use a cash management account with a brokerage firm. These accounts are meant as an option for your uninvested money. They can also be great for putting away some extra money to save, but again — do read the fine print. Fees may be involved, plus commissions if a broker steps in to help you with your investments. Make sure that these won’t cut into your savings.

All of these options will allow you to keep your vacation fund separate from your checking account, emergency savings, or regular savings account. You may even be able to give it a unique name like “travel fund” or even more specific like “Tahiti fund.” It’s much more exciting to watch “dream trip to Bali fund” grow than just “account: 3283052.”

Growing Your Travel Fund

After you’ve created your unique travel fund, it’s time to put in some savings work. And that begins with your budget. If you already have a budget, that’s great. All you need to do is add in “travel fund” as a new line item and shift as much money as you feel comfortable moving to this new account each month.

But, if you’re starting from scratch, that’s OK too. Trying to save for the trip of a lifetime is just as good an excuse as any to start budgeting.

To build a budget, you’ll want to start by figuring out your average monthly take-home income (what you earn after taxes are taken out). Next, it’s good to create a list of all your monthly expenses. You’ll want to include all the basics like rent or mortgage, car payments, student loans, credit card statements, food, gas, insurance, gym memberships, streaming accounts, and any money you currently put towards saving and investing. Make sure to get as granular as possible about your spending.

Next, subtract your average monthly expenses from your average monthly income to see how much you have leftover. If it’s more than $0, that’s excellent news! You can put the excess towards your travel fund. If not, you’ll need to find some places to cut back on spending.

Recommended: How to Make a Budget in 5 Steps

Finding Extra Cash for Your Travel Account

If you’d like that leftover number in your budget to be higher, maybe it’s time to take a look at both your spending and your current income level. Perhaps you can see where changes can be made.

One of the potentially easiest ways to create more cash for your travel fund is to look deeply at your monthly spending. Are you still subscribing to that streaming service you never (or rarely) watch? Are you signed up for the premium version of that social media platform you haven’t been on in months?

What about that gym membership? How’s that going for you? Go ahead and get rid of things that aren’t bringing you joy or are dispensable. Then, refocus those funds in your travel fund.

If there’s no room for cuts, then it might be time to increase your income. Of course, you could always ask for a raise at work, but if that doesn’t come through, explore some other options — like a side hustle. A side hustle is a gig you take on outside your normal work to make some extra money. If you can, pick something you really enjoy doing so it feels less like “work.” For example, if you love dogs but aren’t ready to own one, maybe walking dogs before work would be fun for you.

If you are a handy person who likes to fix things, creating a listing on a site like Thumbtack or TaskRabbit may be a good idea. If you have other talents like photography, writing, or graphic design, you might do some networking to see if you can drum up some freelance work. That way, you can get paid for what you love to do and save for what you love too.

Recommended: How Families Can Afford to Travel on Vacation

SoFi: Your Partner in Creating a Travel Fund

By now, you’ve committed to adjusting your budget and setting aside cash in a new fund. The only thing left to do is find the best place to stash your cash.

When choosing where to put your travel fund, you’ll want to find an account that pays a competitive yield, keeps your money safe, and allows you to easily access your funds when it’s time to set off for your next adventure.

SoFi Travel has teamed up with Expedia to bring even more to your one-stop finance app, helping you book reservations — for flights, hotels, car rentals, and more — all in one place. SoFi Members also have exclusive access to premium savings, with 10% or more off on select hotels. Plus, earn unlimited 3%** cash back rewards when you book with your SoFi Unlimited 2% Credit Card through SoFi Travel.

Wherever you’re going, get there with SoFi Travel.


How much should I keep in my travel fund?

To come up with a travel savings goal, you’ll want to determine how much you’ll need for your trip and when you want to take it. From there, you can determine how much you’ll need to transfer into your travel fund each month to reach your goal. For example, if your trip will cost $2,500 and you plan to travel in six months, you’ll need to set aside around $33 a month.

How do I set up a travel fund?

Setting up a travel fund can take only a matter of minutes. It can be as easy as opening a savings account online and then directing money towards it. You can also go into a brick-and-mortar bank to set up an account.

How can I save money on a travel fund?

To save money on a travel fund, look for a savings account that doesn’t charge monthly fees and offers a competitive interest rate. These two factors will help boost your savings and get you on your dream vacation as quickly as possible.

**Terms, and conditions apply: The SoFi Travel Portal is operated by Expedia. To learn more about Expedia, click https://www.expediagroup.com/home/default.aspx.
When you use your SoFi Credit Card to make a purchase on the SoFi Travel Portal, you will earn a number of SoFi Member Rewards points equal to 3% of the total amount you spend on the SoFi Travel Portal. Members can save up to 10% or more on eligible bookings.
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