Over 39 million Americans can’t afford to take a summer vacation.
If you’re one of the people who had to skip a vacation this year, you should start saving now so you’re ready for next year. Even if you have a tight budget, saving a little money every month can give you the vacation of your dreams.
But you have to know how to budget for a vacation.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide. Keep reading below to learn some helpful vacation budgeting tips.
1. Choose Your Vacation Destination
Before you can start budgeting, you need to know where you’re going. Some destinations are more expensive than others. Research different locations and compare and contrast the different options.
Time of year has a big impact on cost as well.
Spring break and summer (especially the month of July) are two of the most popular times to travel during the year. Because of this, you can expect airfare and hotel prices to go up.
But you don’t have to settle on the cheapest location during the coldest season. Choose a vacation destination you like during the time of the year you’ll enjoy. Just recognize you might have to be flexible and save for a longer amount of time before you can Hawaii in the middle of summer.
2. Add up Your Major Expenses
Once you know where you’re going and when, start adding up the major expenses you’ll have to cover during your trip.
This should include things like plane tickets (there and back), accommodations, and food.
Since these three things will probably be the most expensive part of your trip, it’s worth spending some time researching cheap travel deals. But don’t build your entire vacation around cheap plane tickets.
Saving on plane tickets is nice, but the cheap plane could take you to a place with expensive hotels. That’s why you should pick a destination first before looking for plane and accommodation deals.
3. Make a List of Smaller Expenses
Don’t spend so much time focusing on the bigger expenses that you overlook the smaller expenses you’ll have to spend. Add up what you expect to pay on smaller expenses.
This might include things like:
- Local transportation (like taxis)
- Vaccines (if necessary)
You should also set aside enough money to cover unexpected expenses.
Use this money for buying important items you forgot to pack (like sunscreen), a few extra taxi rides you didn’t think you’d need, and surprise injuries or hospital visits.
There’s a good chance you’ll run into something unexpected during your vacation, so it’s always better to save more than you think you’ll need.
4. Allow for the Occasional Splurge
You’re on vacation, so let yourself have an occasional splurge.
Saw something in a store you MUST take home with you? Stumble across a museum you didn’t know was there? Want to try some of the local food?
Put aside some money to cover these types of impulse purchases. You don’t know what you’ll find on your vacation, so give yourself a bit of extra money to encourage exploration.
5. Figure out How Much Money You Can Set Aside Every Month
Now that you have all your vacation expenses added up, take a look at your income and figure out how much money you can set aside every month.
If you’re planning an expensive vacation but have a tight budget already, you might have to save for a year (or maybe even more). For example, if you’re vacation will cost $4,000 but you can only save $200 a month, you’ll be saving for almost two years.
That’s why it’s important to be flexible with your vacation date. It’s easier to save enough money if you don’t have a set-in-stone travel schedule.
6. Get a Loan
If you don’t have the ability to wait and save up for your vacation over a long period of time, you can speed up the process by getting a loan.
Monthly payment loans can make it easy to set aside enough money every month. Just remember, you’ll have to pay the loan back after your vacation, so don’t get so many loans that’ll you’ll go into debt trying to repay them.
It’s better to save what you can and wait longer for your vacation than getting a loan you can’t repay. That said, loans can be a helpful option for some people.
7. Use Budgeting Tools to Stay on Track
There are a number of tools online that are specifically designed to help people budget for vacations, such as SavingForTravel.com.
These tools will help you figure out the cost of local goods and bring up other expenses you might not have thought of on your own. Find one of these tools, set up an account, and enter your travel and budget details.
Your tool will help you stay on track and save enough before you go.
8. Track What You’re Spending During Your Trip
Vacation budgeting doesn’t stop when you leave home.
Keep your budget in mind and track what you spend every day. This will ensure you don’t spend more than you’re supposed to and go over budget.
It’s also a good idea to carry cash instead of putting everything on your credit card. This will give you a better idea of what you’re spending and prevent you from spending too much.
Just make sure you carry your cash safely so you don’t lose it.
How to Budget for a Vacation and Enjoy Stress-Free Travels
Learning how to budget for a vacation means you don’t have to spend your entire trip worrying about money. In other words, you can focus on spending time with the family, sightseeing, relaxing, and having a good time.
Want to learn some other helpful travel tips?
Make sure you check out the rest of our blog!