The idea that your 20s is supposed to be this fun time where you get to go on adventures and hunt is one that most of us subscribe to. We go to school, save money and then plan to go see the world. At least I did. When we travelled in my youth (read- when my parents paid for it), I didn’t pay attention to the cost, but ever since I started having to pay attention. I feel like this would be a priority when my student loans are paid off. If you read my member post on Yakezie, you would know my how I feel about travel. I can’t even begin to tell you the things I have learned about myself and dealing with others people.
When you are trying to plan a vacation with your family or just yourself, there are many things to consider. While you still need to make sure the day-to-day living expenses are taken care of, you also need to think of ways that you can put a little money aside each week for your trip. This can be frustrating, especially if you do not have a set budget or a plan for saving that you can easily follow. I have been planning on a 4 week trip to South America, so this post was a long time coming.
Start a Savings Program Now
If you live on a tight monthly budget, it just makes sense to plan ahead as far as possible. Itís much easier to put $20 aside every week for fifty weeks than it is to try to come up with $1000 quickly before you leave on your vacation.
Start putting vacation money aside immediately, knowing that sooner or later, vacation time will be here. Divide the cost of your vacation by the number of weeks you have left until vacation time, then put that money aside each week. You now have a vacation budget and a time-line that works for saving what you will need.
Save Money by Booking Well Ahead
Many flights, hotel reservations, and other travel destinations will allow you to save money if you book well in advance, or in packages. Saving even a couple hundred dollars can make a big difference in your vacation budget. Some places will even match rates if your reservations go on sale for a price cheaper than you booked. We tried booking hostels when we landed in whatever city we ended up in Europe, and it was a pain to find something that fit our need when we are exhausted from travelling.
If you need to cancel your vacation for some reason, many places will give you a refund depending on their cancellation policies and when you actually cancel your reservations. Make sure to read the fine print so you donít lose out on penalty fees. When in doubt, ask beforehand so you aren’t met with an unpleasant surprise if you should have to cancel or change plans.
Shop for Necessary Items Before You Go
Another way to make sure that you can stick to your travel budget is by shopping for necessary items before you go. Although you can certainly buy sunscreen, headache medicine, sunglasses, hats, and other travel items, many of the stores in tourist areas have higher prices because, well, youíre kind of a captive audience. A tourist will pay because they have to. Review your necessities and see what you can bring cheaply and what you are better off buying there.
Souvenirs are a fun part of travel. Go ahead and spend a little money on souvenirs, but be careful that they don’t take over your budget. Instead, set aside a specific amount of money for souvenirs in your vacation budget. Consider souvenirs that have dual purposes, like tote bags, coverups, and hats; something you may need anyway, but it happens to have a local icon stamped on it.
Choose Meals Wisely
While we all know it is necessary to eat when on vacation, there are still ways that you can keep those expenses down. Check on all-inclusive vacation packages that include food and beverages, especially if food and drink are a big part of your plans.
Vacation apartments, cabins, and condos are perfect if youíre planning on staying anywhere for more than a few days. Buying your own food and cooking in will definitely give you a little extra money to spend elsewhere. Breakfast, beverages, and snacking are most economical when done at ‘home.’ Stock your condo’s refrigerator and you’ll save a lot of money.
Choose your dining pleasures wisely. If you cook and eat breakfast in your condo, you’ll save enough money to enjoy a great local restaurant for lunch or dinner. After all, part of the charm of a vacation is going somewhere else and experiencing the food and culture. Don’t forget, when plans are being made to save money by cooking at home.
Research the Vacation Expense Details
Developing a travel budget, and sticking to it, can be done without very much trouble if you take the time to research the details, like the price of events, restaurants, and other costs before you go. Don’t forget charges that are less often thought of, like tolls, taxis, parking fees, and tips. These all add up when trying to watch your vacation budget.
Many of these costs can be found online, at the area’s tourist bureau’s website, or other travel sites. Once you are able to get a better idea of how much everything will cost, include those costs in your budget. It’s not all about the cost of the hotel or condo, gas or air travel, and food. There are many expenses to consider, so do your homework.
Once you have departed on your vacation, try to stay within the budget as much as possible. If you decide to spend a little more money in one place, don’t let it destroy your budget. Plan to take the money out of another area. Your budget doesn’t have to be set in stone. After all, you’ll see things to do that you weren’t aware of. You can even plan a ‘spontaneous fun’ budget amount for that very purpose so you have a little wiggle room. A vacation should be fun, so plan for the unexpected, stay within your plan, and have a great time!