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Saving for travel: The best travel savings accounts

Learn 16 tips for how to save money for travel and explore travel savings accounts to build up your vacation fund faster.

Looking to learn how to build up savings for travel? Everyone needs a break from time to time. But since even short vacations can get expensive, it’s essential to have a vacation fund savings plan in place. Here are some of the best vacation savings accounts to help you take your next trip sooner.

Saving for travel? Here are 16 tips on how to save money for travel

Saving for travel can feel like an elusive goal with so many other expenses on your radar. But it doesn’t have to be. Whether you want to backpack across the globe, escape to a weekend retreat or stay at a luxury five-star resort, saving for vacation is within your reach.

Here are 16 tips on how to save money for travel that can help you take flight (or drive that car) faster than you think.

Travel

1. Budget

If you’re not already operating on a budget, consider making one. If you have a budget, now is the time to review it. Outline all of your expenses and how much income you have coming in.

Don’t be afraid to get detailed. If you eat out several times a week, consider adding a restaurant line to your budget. The point of a budget is to help give a clear and accurate picture of where your money goes, so more information can really help paint the big picture.

2. Cut down on expenses

Look at any non-essential expenses to see where you can cut down and save money for travel.

Do you really need that streaming subscription? Can you try making gourmet meals at home instead of going to a restaurant? Can you brew your morning cup of coffee at home instead of buying it everyday?

You might even be able to save on some necessary expenses. Meal planning and sticking to a list can help you save money on grocery shopping. See if you can qualify for cheaper car insurance with a different insurance company. Free car insurance broker platforms, like Surex, can help you easily compare multiple offers at once.

Even if these savings seems small, they can add up to hundreds of dollars in travel savings by the end of the year.

Grey and blue light bulb iconPro tip: The 30-day rule

To help increase your savings for travel, cut back on impulse buys using the 30-day rule. The 30-day rule states that you wait 30 days before making any pricey purchases. You’ll often find that something that seems like a really good idea in the moment, might not seem worth the money 30 days later – and instead you can put that money in your vacation fund.

3. Make a savings target

Create a travel budget based on where you want to travel – including transportation, accommodation, food, shopping and any activities – to calculate exactly how much you need to save for your rip.

Try to make an accurate travel budget by looking up how much hotels cost where you want to stay, how much transportation there costs and even how much the average restaurant in the area charges per meal.

Then set a timeline for when you want to book your trip so you know exactly how long you have to meet your goal.

4. Open a high interest savings account

Let compound interest help build up your savings for travel even faster. While standard savings account interest rates in Canada can range at around 1.5% at most, high interest savings accounts offer savings rates of anywhere from 2.5% to 5.0% or more.

That’s why it’s worth comparing vacation fund options to make sure you’re getting the most out of your money.

Compare high interest savings accounts in Canada
1 - 5 of 5
Name Product Promo Rate Regular Interest Rate Transaction Fee 1 Year Return Offer
EQ Bank Personal Account
EQ Bank Personal Account
4.00% for 12 months
2.50%
$0
$400.00
Simplii High Interest Savings Account
Simplii High Interest Savings Account
6.00% for 5 months
0.40%
$0
$269.89
Neo High Interest Savings Account
Neo High Interest Savings Account
N/A
4.00%
$0
$400.00
KOHO Earn Interest
KOHO Earn Interest
N/A
5.00%
$0
$500.00
Scotiabank MomentumPLUS Savings Account
Scotiabank MomentumPLUS Savings Account
6.05% for 3 months
1.30%
$5.00
$246.78
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5. Automatically transfer to savings

Setting up automatic transfers to your savings account every time you get paid can be a great way to consistently build up your travel savings without being tempted use that money elsewhere. You can then sit back and watch your savings for travel grow every month.

6. Use a physical travel fund jarsavings jar for travel

Having a travel fund jar at home can be an easy way to put loose change and any extra cash in your wallet towards your savings goal. It can also encourage you along your saving journey – as you watch your travel savings jar fill up, you can be reminded that all the other financial sacrifices you’re making are worth it.

Just remember to deposit the money in your savings jar into your high interest savings account to earn interest on it as well.

7. Save on travel costs

There are plenty of ways to lower the cost of travel. Consider using airfare comparison websites to make sure you’re getting a good deal on your flight. You should also consider booking your flight as far in advance as possible to lock in a lower price.

Another way to save on travel is to book during outside of peak tourist season. Hotel and airfare prices can all be lower by hundreds of dollars during off-peak seasons depending on the destination.

8. Try alternative places to stay

Hotels can be pricey. You can potentially save on travel expenses by opting to stay in hostels or by house-sitting. Airbnbs are another great option where you can potentially save by booking an entire home with a group of people and splitting the cost.

9. Only use carry-on

Cut down on the amount of savings for travel you’ll need to build up by avoiding expensive checked-baggage fees and only use carry-on luggage when travelling. That way, you’ll also never encounter the airport-lost-my-bag headache so common these days.

Some tips to pack light include:

  • Only pack the essentials
  • Pack clothing pieces you can mix and match to make several outfits from only a few pieces
  • Use packing cubes to keep your few items tightly packed and organized

10. Use travel rewards

Whether it’s paying for your flight entirely with rewards points or getting discounted hotel fare, there are plenty credit card travel rewards programs in Canada that help you save on travel. You can compare some of the best credit cards for travel in our full guide here.

11. Look for savings ahead of time

If you know exactly what tourist spots you want to hit up on your trip, you can add that cost to your vacation fund. Plus, if you do a bit of research ahead of time, you can identify many free or low-cost activities in the area – like famous monuments, parks, street performances, hikes and local festivals.

12. Sell unwanted items

It really is true that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. Look around your home for any items or furniture you don’t use anymore and think about selling them on online marketplaces like Kijiji or Facebook Marketplace. If you put that money towards your savings for travel, you can build up your travel fund faster.

13. Get a side hustle

Taking on some side hustles can be a great way to earn some extra money towards your travel savings goals. Consider taking on a part-time job, helping a friend with their business, taking on some freelance work or maybe becoming an Uber driver in the evenings.

14. Minimize foreign transaction fees

Using a credit card overseas typically comes with a foreign transaction fee of around 2.5%, which can really add up over time and increase your overall trip cost. Some credit cards in Canada come with no foreign transaction fee or offer other travel benefits and rewards that can compensate for the fee’s cost. Compare the best credit cards for travel in Canada in our full guide here.

15. Track expenses

Even after making your budget, it’s a good idea to regularly review your expenses to make sure your budget is still working for you and that you’re sticking to your travel savings goal. You may also find that there are some new ways to cut expenses and add more to your vacation fund.

16. Stay open

It’s natural to get your heart set on travel plans, especially after you’ve planned and saved for so long. But it’s always a good idea to keep an open mind so you can take advantage of last-minute travel deals.

Let’s say you notice a discount for different travel dates than you had originally intended, consider switching your trip. Your trip can still be amazing even if some things are little different than you originally thought.

How much money should you save before you travel?

While how much money you should save for travel depends on your income, expenses and where you want to vacation, most experts suggest you use the 50/30/20 rule to put less than 30% of your income towards travel.

In order to use the 50/30/20 rule, first determine what your earnings are then divide up the funds into these categories:

  • 50% for needs. These are costs that are non-negotiable and are required for you to survive, such as rent or mortgage payments, groceries and utilities.
  • 30% for wants. Yes, vacations and travel come from the “wants” category, not savings. Virtually, everything that is considered non-necessary falls into this category including clothes, dining out and entertainment.
  • 20% for savings. This category is dedicated to saving, building an emergency fund and paying off debts.

Keep in mind that the 50/30/20 rule is meant to be a benchmark. No one will be able to divy up their finances this way perfectly, but it’s a good starting point for your savings for travel. Below is an example of how to calculate where your money is going using the 50/30/20 rule.

Example: What is the 50/30/20 rule?Example of savings for travel with the 50-30-20 rule

Sophie earns $4,000 in gross income a month and $1,000 is deducted from her pay for employer deductions. Her net earnings are $3,000 which means $1,500 (50%) goes towards needs, $600 (20%) goes towards savings every month and $900 (30%) goes to wants.

She then sets aside $300 every month from the “wants” category towards her savings for travel, leaving her $600 to put towards other non-essential expenses, like eating out, spa days and shopping.

If Sophie deposits that $300 every month into a savings account that earns 3% interest, she would have saved almost $3,959 towards her vacation after only 1 year.


While not all Canadians are in a position to save — with almost 3 out of 4 Canadians (73%) reporting that they spend more than they save each month — those that can save want to find a safe place to park and grow their money. For almost 1 in 4 Canadians (23.12%), the preference is either in a savings account or a high-interest savings account (HISA), according to survey data from the Finder: Consumer Sentiment Survey Q2.


Best savings accounts for travel

A high interest savings account is one of the best ways to build up your savings for travel. We’ve summarized the details of some of the best savings accounts in Canada to help you save for a vacation:

EQ Bank Personal Account

4%
Interest Rate
$0
Account Fee
$0
Transaction Fee
The EQ Bank Personal Account is one of the best high-interest savings accounts for building up your savings for travel in Canada not only because it offers one of the best interest rates in Canada, but also because it has a $0 e-Transfer fee, $0 account fee and $0 transaction fee.
  • $0 minimum balance to open the account
  • Get a promotional interest rate of 4% for 12 months
  • $0 account fee
  • $0 transactions
  • $0 from any ATM in Canada
  • $0 Interac eTransfers
  • Earn 2.50% - 4.00% interest on your balance
  • No physical branches for in-person service
  • Some standard banking features, like overdraft protection and paper statements, are not available
Min. Age 18
Account Fee $0
Transaction Fee $0
Interac e-Transfer Fee $0
NSF Fee $0

KOHO Earn Interest

Up to 5.0%
Interest Rate
$0
Account Fee
$0
Transaction Fee
KOHO Earn Interest is not only one of the best high-interest savings accounts in Canada – you can also get a prepaid card and earn cashback on your purchases. Opt into earning interest and earn up to 5.00% on your balance.
  • $0 account fee
  • $0 transactions
  • $0 Interac eTransfers
  • Earn cashback on purchases
  • Earn up to 5% interest
  • Must opt-in to a monthly plan to earn higher interest
Min. Age 18
Account Fee $0
Transaction Fee $0
Interac e-Transfer Fee $0
NSF Fee $0

Simplii High Interest Savings Account

6%
Interest Rate
$0
Account Fee
$0
Transaction Fee
The Simplii High Interest Savings Account is another top pick for the best high-interest savings accounts in Canada. It earns a high promo rate of 6% interest for 5 months (and 0.4% thereafter). With a $0 account fee and $0 transactions, you can look forward to putting even more towards your savings for vacation.
  • $0 account fee
  • $0 transactions
  • Earn 6% interest for 5 months
  • No physical branches for in-person service
  • Low ongoing interest rate after the promo ends
Min. Age 18
Account Fee $0
Transaction Fee $0
Interac e-Transfer Fee $0
NSF Fee $45

Neo Money Account

4%
Interest Rate
$0
Account Fee
$0
Transaction Fee
The highly-rated Neo Money account and mobile app from Neo Financial makes it easy to manage your travel savings anytime, anywhere. With a high interest rate of 4%, the Neo Money Account provides solid returns on your savings. Enjoy a $5 bonus, $0 annual fees, no minimum balance requirement and free transactions.
  • Comes with free Neo Money Card for transactions
  • $0 account fee
  • $0 transactions
  • No minimum balance
  • No physical branches for in-person service
Min. Age 18
Account Fee $0
Transaction Fee $0
Interac e-Transfer Fee $0
NSF Fee $0
International ATM Fee

National Bank High Interest Savings Account

1.70%
Interest Rate
$0
Account Fee
$0
Transaction Fee
It's quick and easy to apply for a National Bank High-Interest Savings Account — you can apply online within minutes. The account also offers an interest rate of 1.70% and has no monthly fees, and there's no minimum balance requirement to worry about. You can also easily manage your savings for travel here via online and mobile banking.
  • No monthly fee
  • Earn interests
  • Free transactions
  • Free in-network ATM access
  • Withdrawal fee
  • e-Transfer fee
  • Higher interest rates elsewhere.
Min. Age N/A
Account Fee $0
Transaction Fee $0
Interac e-Transfer Fee $1.25

Savings for travel calculator

Use this savings calculator to figure out how much money you could save for travel based on how much money you want to set aside and for how long.

How to compare vacation fund savings accounts

While searching for the best savings account for your vacation, consider a few factors that can help you compare your options:

  • APR. A higher APY or annual percentage yield (also commonly referred to as the interest rate) can help you reach your savings for travel goals sooner. Aim for the highest you can find.
  • Fees. Monthly fees and other charges can eat into your balance, so try to find accounts with low or easily avoidable fees.
  • Bonuses and rewards. Look for signup bonuses and rewards programs as they can give you a head start on saving.
  • Features. Find a savings account that fits your lifestyle, comparing features like automatic savings plans, mobile banking and budgeting tools.
  • Conditions. Make sure you can meet any conditions or eligibility requirements to earn the advertised bonus or APY.
  • Access. Depending on your needs, pick an account that gives you access when you need it, or limits your access so you’re not tempted to dip into your savings too often.

Bottom line

Whether your travel plans are big or small, years in the making or spontaneous, there are always strategies you can use to build your savings for travel ang get ready for that dream trip. Remember it’s not worth going into debt to travel. Plan ahead to figure out how much your trip is going to cost and how you’re going to pay for it. Then, compare savings accounts to find an option that works for your financial strategy.

Frequently asked questions about savings for travel

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