Fregate Island is a small patch of paradise snuggled in the Indian Ocean only four degrees south of the equator. If ever there were such a thing as a true "getaway," this private island is it. As with any dream vacation, however, it comes with a price—and in this case, that price is $4,300 a night. May as well be a trip to Mars, right? If you're close to retirement and dream of taking that one big vacation, you can make it happen. Maybe it won't be Fregate Island, but with these tips, we can get you close.
Where are you going to go? And when? Use a resource like BellHop.com to get an idea of the cost of your dream vacation and budget accordingly (more on budgeting in a minute). Then focus on what time of year you'll go, paying close attention to your destination's heavy travel times. Cancun during spring break? Expect prices to go up. Spain during the running of the bulls? Expect prices to go up. Christmas in Hawaii? Expect prices to go up. Reader's Digest suggests you take your dream vacation in August, when most places (and prices) are more relaxed. Pick a Tuesday or Wednesday for the departing flight, as mid-week is traditionally slow on international flights.
Use any of the free online budgeting software available to create a budget that factors in saving for the trip. Forbes lists its 12 favorites, including our pick, BudgetPulse.com. It's a good choice for security cynics who don't want to sync their bank account information with their budgeting tool.
This takes will power. Dig deep...deeper...even deeper into your inner frugal soul to resist the temptation to spend the little financial windfalls you receive throughout the year. This means the Christmas bonus, the monthly gas expense refund and your yearly income tax return all get earmarked for your trip. Create a dedicated savings account just for this reason—watching the amount increase is great motivation.
Most financial advisers would discourage you from borrowing from your 401(k). And most likely, it's sound advice. If you opt to do so, make sure your company is stable and there's little chance you'll get laid off. Also, be sure you're happy at your job and don't plan on changing soon, because if you do, you'll have to repay that loan within the next 60 days.
Perhaps a better idea is to liquidate any assets you have to fund your trip. If you hold stock, consider selling. If you're retiring from running your own business, sell your equipment, inventory and furniture. If you receive regular payments from a structured settlement or annuity, you may be able to sell your future payments to J.G. Wentworth or a similar company for a lump sum of cash now .
And don't forget about all the little ways to earn extra money. You could hold a yard sale, take odd jobs or start a side business. It'll all be worth it when the plane touches down.