You’ve been dreaming about this special trip for years now. Your responsibilities have all grown up and left home, and it’s time for a special vacation. No more worrying about keeping the kids entertained, truckloads of luggage or squeezing as much as you can into a two-week vacation. It’s time for you to do what you’ve been longing to do for a while now. You’ve chosen a destination and know all there is to know about the location. Now you’ve got to sit down and work out just how much this trip of a lifetime is going to cost. The best way to do that is to make a travel budget. Feeling a little nervous? Don’t be. This guide is going to help you budget for your next big adventure.
Take Advantage of Free Budget Planning Tools
The internet is full of interesting and useful tools, and yes you guessed, there are budget planning tools you can make use of. They can be used to create a very accurate budget, giving limits on hotel spending, eating out, travel expenses and souvenirs.
Start Planning Early
There are bound to be a wealth of last-minute deals you’ll be able to take advantage of, but the best way to save money when traveling is to plan and make arrangements early. Give yourself around six to nine months. With this amount of time, you’ll be able to shop around and get the best deals on airfares, car rental, and accommodation. You’ll also have much more time to save for your next adventure!
When making your plans, take the time to think about whether you’ll be better off making bookings during the off-peak season. Think about whether you have to travel at the weekend because weekdays tend to be cheaper. The busiest times of the year tend to be summer and early fall, and of course, Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons.
Use Your Credit Card to Your Advantage
Get in touch with your credit card company and check whether they are offering any vacation deals or other kinds of perks. Bonsai Finance is a great site to visit if you want to know more. Some of the benefits that companies offer include airline miles and discounted hotel rates. It will also be possible to save money while you’re enjoying your vacation with possible deals on gas and eating out at restaurants. One other important perk of using a credit card is that it will offer extra fraud protection.
What Expenses You’ll Need to Budget For
There are a certain number of expenses you can expect to pay, wherever your final destination is located. All of which need to be factored into your budget. They include:
- Transport – airfares, car rental, gas, rail and bus tickets, transfers and public transport.
- Tours – you might like to take advantage of an organized tour while you’re away.
- Accommodation – this is possibly the biggest expense and will vary enormously depending on where you stay.
- Sights and activities – unless you’re planning to stay poolside for two weeks, you’ll need to think about the places you want to visit.
- Food and drink – this depends on the kind of experience you’re looking for. For example, you might be happy sampling street food and cook for yourself. On the other hand, you might be looking forward to eating out every night.
- Shopping – it will mean you have to bring extra home, but everyone likes to buy a few special souvenirs.
- Other expenses – these include travel insurance, baggage, guidebooks, and so on.
Keep Track of Your Spending as You Go
To prepare you for your next big adventure, keep track of your spending, and you’ll know how accurate your budget was. You might have underestimated food, for example. You might have overestimated the amount you spent on entertainment. Looking at your budget and comparing it with your actual spending will help you to be more accurate in your planning next time.
Don’t Worry if You go Over Budget
You’ve been planning this vacation for several months now, and it’s important you have a good time. Yes, you’ve got a certain budget you really want to stick to, but don’t lose sleep if you see something in a store window you can’t leave without buying. This is your vacation and it’s beneficial if you have a good time, rather than worrying about what you’re spending. Spending money on life experiences is far better for your peace of mind, health, and happiness.
Tips on Reducing Your Budget
There are several ways you can tweak your vacation budget. A little saving here and there will mean more money to spend on the important things.
- Airfare – consider using a budget airline or choose an indirect flight. You can also use airline miles to cover some of the cost, and there are always going to be sales.
- Car rental extras – these can make quite a difference to the overall price. Do you really need GPS? How about using an app on your smartphone instead?
- Don’t eat out all the time – buying food at a local store or market will make quite a saving. You’ll also get a great introduction into the food the locals choose to eat.
- Free activities and attractions – make good use of your guidebooks and the internet and find some things to do that won’t cost a dime.
- Vary your accommodation – if you’re planning a few weeks away mix up your accommodation, not just to save money but for some variety.
Being able to travel is good for your psyche. We all need a break every now and again to break up the monotony of everyday life. Traveling means you get to experience other cultures and meet lots of different people. Working out a budget for your vacation shows you that it is possible. You’re also going to find yourself traveling more often because now you know you can afford it. Before you know it, you’ll be a seasoned traveler, knowing all the best places to look for the bargains and become an expert at saving money.