A vacation budget of $5,000 may seem like a lot, but as anyone knows, spending money is easy. Vacation spending has a way of getting out of control quickly. Setting up a budget and sticking to it is the best way to ensure that your vacation spending doesn’t haunt you for months following your trip.
There are several components to your budget you should always take into account, such as transportation, lodging, food, and entertainment. Be sure to include other costs that are unique to your situation as well.
Using These Strategies Will Help You Create A Vacation Budget That Works For You:
- Transportation. Transportation costs include airfare, car rental, gas, and parking. Most of these items are pretty easy to plan for. This tends to be the easiest part of the budget to plan for and stick to. Simply add up all the known costs and then plan accordingly for the likely gas and parking expenses.
- Food. You’ll probably do a pretty good job of sticking to your transportation budget, but food can quickly get out of hand. For example, you might plan on eating a bologna sandwich in your hotel room for lunch every day. But if you’re having a good time at the beach or amusement park, you’re probably just going to grab something there.
Entertainment. If you’re going to spend all your time at one location, like an amusement park, this category can also be easy to plan for. However, if you’re just heading to Miami, for instance, to wing it, entertainment costs can really mount up if they don’t figure into your budget.
- Even though the amusement park, zoo, and other tourist attractions are expensive places to eat, consider where you’re really most likely to eat and plan your budget accordingly.
Shopping. We always like to buy mementos while on vacation to remember the experience. Consider the costs of T-shirts, knick-knacks, and anything else you will be likely to buy and include this estimate in your vacation budget.
- Be realistic about how you and your family plan to spend your time. Then, you can get an idea of what you’re likely to spend. You don’t have to actually follow your plan, but budgeting for the activities you enjoy will help even if you change your plans.
Sticking to Your Budget
Try These Techniques To Stay Within Your Budget While You Are On Your Vacation
- Keep all your receipts throughout the day and keep a rough running total in your mind. Having even a rough idea of what you’re spending will help keep
- Staying within your vacation budget
you from straying too far.
- At the end of each day, check your spending against your budget. Total all your receipts each night and see how you’re doing in each of the categories. If you do this simple measurement each night, you dramatically increase the odds that you’ll stick to your budget.
- If you’re overspending, you’ll know that you need to tighten things up a bit. Maybe lunch will have to be at McDonald’s today. Or maybe a day of sightseeing instead of going to a baseball game is in order.
- By the same token, if you’re consistently under-spending relative to your plan, maybe you would enjoy a fancy dinner or more expensive entertainment on occasion.
What seems like plenty of money can run out quickly without some planning and restraint. By making a budget and sticking to it, you’ll find your vacation is a lot more enjoyable. You’ll also find that the months after the vacation are a lot more enjoyable, too.
What if you could stretch your $5,000 budget into a $10,000 vacation? Imagine how much more you could do and enjoy: a nicer hotel, better food, or maybe you would change your plans all together. It can be done. With some research and planning, taking a nicer vacation than you think you can afford is well within your reach.
Turn your vacation funds into more fun by trying some of these ideas:
- Airline Tickets. You can save a lot of money on airline tickets if you’re flexible with your travel dates. A day or two earlier or later can make a huge difference in the cost. Tuesdays – Thursdays are usually the cheapest days to travel by air.
- Consider alternate airports, too. Sometimes, flying into a different airport can save hundreds of dollars if you have to purchase several airline tickets. Larger cities typically have multiple airports.
- Hotels. If you’re going to a popular destination, you’re likely to find hotels that offer coupons or even free tickets to popular attractions.
- Search online for the lowest price hotel room that meets your needs. Also consider joining a hotel points program.
- You can save a lot of money on food by getting a hotel room with kitchen facilities. Food is usually a major expense when traveling. A kitchenette can save a ton of money, especially if you have kids and are staying for a week or more.
- Consider a cruise. Cruises offer spectacular food and a lot of entertainment for a relatively small amount of money. There’s always the option to sign up for off-ship excursions, which aren’t free, but usually aren’t too expensive either.
- You’ll need to include the cost to get to the ship from your house and back again, but cruises can offer a tremendous value for the money.
- Go in the off-season. Most travel locations have a peak and off-season. This is usually dependent on weather and when travelers are most available to travel there. By going in the off-season, there is much less demand and prices will be lower. This is true for air-travel, car rental, lodging, and most entertainment.
- You also have the benefit of fewer crowds to deal with.
- Group travel. Traveling with a group can really cut down on expenses. Larger groups can get better rates on everything, from transportation to lodging, food, and entertainment.
Adding a few, or all, of these ideas into the planning stages of your next vacation help save you thousands of dollars on your trip. These simple steps can help turn a vacation into a Vacation of a Lifetime.