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The “Emergency Vacation” Budget

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The “Emergency Vacation” Budget

I’ve always been a big personal finance geek, loading all my spending into YNAB, seeing where the money goes and all that jazz. One item everyone always says is “have an emergency fund!” That’s great advice, and has saved my bacon on a few occasions, but today I want to talk about a different kind of budget category. The “Emergency Vacation” budget!

Wait What?

Yeah the name may need work, but I feel it does a great job of explaining what this is here for. The intention behind this category is to allow me to immediately pay for a trip or opportunity that comes up spur of the moment, without having to worry about where the money will come from (it’s already there!).

I came up with the idea after my 2 week trip to Japan in 2014, which was one of the best trips I have ever taken in my life. The travel bug hit me, and I wanted to make sure I had the ability to do trips from that point forward.

How much should I budget?

This answer will differ from person to person, depending on how much risk you want to put in, or what kind of scale you would like to allow in trips. In my case, I budgeted the amount It would have cost me to do my Japan trip again if I didn’t do any tricks to save money, such as hotel and airline miles. This is certainly larger than it needs to be, but I kinda like having that extra buffer!

Has this been put into effect?

Yes! The first time I used it was to go on a Chataqua in Ecuador in 2015. At the time, when the trip opened up, I was having second guesses. The trips have looked interesting to me the year before, but I missed the cutoff window before they sold out. After thinking about it for an hour or so, I realized:

“Kevin! This is exactly the kind of trip you created this budget for! Just do it!”

I put down my deposit and the next morning, all the tickets had sold out! This trip was worth every penny, allowing me to experience people, friends and culture I never would have experienced otherwise.

View of Quito, Ecuador from the mountains.

View of Quito, Ecuador from the mountains.

You could say we could meet in the middle? I'm sorry....

You could say we could meet in the middle? I'm sorry….

Despite what South Park may say, ziplining was a lot of fun!

Despite what South Park may say, ziplining was a lot of fun!

I was sold on this idea! Never again would money be a doubt piece for growing myself anymore!

Unexpected Benefits

My current job has be travel all over the USA and the world. As such, I pay for hotels, food etc. out of my own pocket before I am reimbursed by my company. Due to increased travel and other items beyond my control, the return speed on reimbursement has been going up from 1 week to up to a month from when I get back. Since I have this buffer account, I have used this category as my travel buffer for work not having to worry about how long it will take my company to reimburse me.

More Tourist Photos!

I have since done 3 other trips that I would qualify this budget into pushing me to do a trip I may have never done otherwise.

Camp Mustache

Making new friends

Making new friends

Chef Conf 2016

Got to get my learn on!

Got to get my learn on!

Camp Mustache SE

I was much better than way back in Boy Scouts!

I was much better than way back in Boy Scouts!

This week, I went ahead and started the process for one more trip! PodCon, a first time convention for Podcasting, which is something I’m very passionate about. I’ve already booked a hotel and purchased tickets to the convention, looking forward to the memories and experiences that this upcoming December will bring.

Personal finance can often be boring to many, once thing are on autopilot, you pretty much set and forget. It can be easy to forget the power that it can bring into your life. If not for setting up this category, I would have missed out on meeting many new friends, unique experiences, and even some clients (who I also consider good friends!, Hey Gwen, Joel, and Keith)!

I can’t recommend adding the “Emergency Vacation” fund to your budget enough!

Comments 2
  • Ruby
    Posted on

    Ruby Ruby

    Reply Author

    Hey Kevin!

    Was nice meeting you at camp mustache se 🙂

    I agree that the ability to travel because you have that money saved up is a lifesaver! No bill shock, and you just expect the cost because you saved up for it.

    Like you, we have also been bitten by the travel bug, so we try to meet halfway between fulfilling our travel bug desires and our road to FI.


  • Gwen @ Fiery Millennials
    Posted on

    Gwen @ Fiery Millennials Gwen @ Fiery Millennials

    Reply Author

    I think of it as more of a yearly budget. Because I can’t predict when the events are going to open, I can’t really say I need to have $600 available in March for X event. Instead, it’s all in one big bucket and gets used as needed. That way I go on all these fun trips and have fun meeting awesome people like you!