Everyone loves a vacation, right? Sometimes the thought of being able to afford a vacation makes it seem impossible to take one. However, if you know how to vacation on a budget, you can work regular vacations into your year – if vacations are important to you!
Like anything else, you will want to first figure out a realistic budget for your vacation. Make sure that you take into account all details:
2. Travel – gas, rental car, train/plane tickets
3. Accommodations – hotel, bed and breakfast
5. Admission – or other fees to do the activities you plan on.
6. Missed income – if you have a job that doesn’t provide PTO, then make sure you take into account the income you will be missing while away from work.
Once you know how much you will be spending on your budget, you can figuring out how to vacation on a budget is really easy! First, you will need to start saving towards your goal amount. You can use this savings calculator to help set up a savings plan. You can also try implementing some of these easy ways to save money if you need to get some more flexibility in your budget to be able to save more or to save faster. If you want to have regular vacations in your budget, think about using budget tracking sheets and adding a vacation “expense” in monthly.
This wouldn’t be a definitive guide to how to vacation on a budget without addressing how to cut your actual vacation costs!
So, let’s talk about some ways to decrease the actual cost of each of the areas we discussed above that need to go into how to come up with your vacation budget.
1) Food. Saving on food is a little work up front, but with HUGE potential savings. If you are traveling by car, make sure that you pack your own food in a cooler. Saving on travel food while on the road can be really simple. If you are staying for a few days or weeks somewhere, make sure that you choose a place that has some basic kitchen supplies (refrigerator, stove) so that you can grocery shop and cook. Avoiding eating out will save SO much money and is a key factor in learning how to vacation on a budget. Of course, sometimes going out to eat is part of the vacation experience, if you are going to eat out make sure that you pick and choose the times and that they are planned in advance.
2. Travel. There are SO many ways to save on travel expenses. You can shop online to get great deals on airfare. Saving on gas if you are driving also has a few easy tricks. You can use rewards points to get money off your gas purchases. We shop at Kroger which has a gas points program and sometimes we get over $1 off a gallon!
3. Accommodations. Going somewhere that you know people? See if you can stay with friends or family. If you will definitely need a hotel or other paid accommodations, just like airfare, you can shop online to get some great deals.
4. Souvenirs. Sometimes souvenirs can break a vacation budget, especially if you are buying items from a gift shop. Try doing some less expensive things like taking lots of pictures or buying souvenirs that are from local stores and not “gift shops”.
5. Admission. If you will be going to theme or amusement parks, concerts, museums, zoos or other places that charge admission there are a few ways to save. Look for times that are off season when admission prices are cheaper. Look for possible coupons or other deals to try to save on admission.
6. Missed Income. Although you can’t really do too much about the amount you will actually miss in income, you can plan ahead for this. Think about taking on some overtime if it is available – this extra money can help make up for some of the time you will miss during your vacation.
Vacationing on a budget is totally possible, it just takes a little planning up front. Also, just like frugal living, vacationing on a budget means assessing what things are most important for you and balancing those with the money you are able to save.
Where are you wanting to vacation next?
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