Summer is here, and it’s time for your getaway!
While it’s great to get away for some fun in the sun, sticking to a budget is a must, even when on vacation. This year, attack your vacation with a financial plan you can actually keep by following these tips:
Before you start working on a vacation budget, consider an alternative to a conventional getaway that can provide an escape from real life without the prohibitive price tag.
- Staycation. Spruce up a spare bedroom with scented hand towels and mini soaps and shampoos to give it a hotel feel. Sleep there during your “vacation” and spend your time trying out local attractions, festivals and restaurants you’ve always wanted to experience.
- Swap houses. Have friends or family who live out of your area? Ask about switching houses for a week. Then, you can all get an inexpensive vacation.
- Camping. If you have camping gear or can borrow it from a friend, camping can cost next to nothing. It can also be a fantastic way to enjoy a rejuvenating break from the grind of life.
Create a budget
If you just gotta splurge on a typical getaway, here’s how to create a realistic budget:
- Review your savings. If you’ve been steadily saving up for this vacay, you’ll know how much you have to spend. If you haven’t saved anything, consider an unsecured loan through your credit union and/or saving up until your vacation by trimming your discretionary expenses.
- Prioritize. Before assigning dollar amounts to categories, pick what’s most important to you while on vacation. List your priorities from most to least important for future reference.
- Assign dollar amounts to big-ticket items. Choose and price a destination. Set aside money from your budget to cover what it takes to get there, as well as accommodations.
- Divide and conquer. Now, assign a realistic dollar amount to your remaining categories. Include food, tickets to entertainment venues and attractions, gifts and souvenirs, transportation costs, and pack in some “miscellaneous” money for unplanned expenses.
Stick to your budget
Now comes the hard part: sticking to your budget while on vacation.
First, consider using cash. You’ll be forced to stick to your budget with no way to overspend. Just make sure you plan for how to keep it secure at all times.
Next, make advance reservations when you can. This way, you have fewer spending choices for when you’re actually on vacation.
Finally, keep a copy of your vacation budget handy while you’re away so you can pull it out whenever you come up against a spending challenge.
Don’t let your budget go on vacation!