How to start your Vacation Budgeting
Thinking about planning a vacation for the summer or winter? Picturing yourself digging your feet in some warm sand sounds like a dream this time of year. As you become more motivated, you go online to look up vacation deals for the future, only to realize your trip is more costly than you thought. After spending so much on Christmas, it’s hard to think about spending so much on vacations. So for any of those wondering, here is a how-to guide for vacation budgeting.
Step 1: Find out where you want to go
Figuring out how much you can afford is fundamental. Summer and winter vacations could mean how much you could afford or when it is cheaper to visit certain places. Starting your search in the first three months of the year is a good idea because it gives you more options.
Find out how much the big expenses cost. Air fair and hotels, typically come in bundle deals but even those could be costly if you don’t book in advance. Consider what trade-offs you’re willing to allow. If you find a very cheap bundle but have a million transfers, it may not be worth your time. This will help shape your vacation budgeting.
Step 2: Daily Cash Allowance
Give yourself a food and alcohol budget. It is your vacation, go ahead and have a few drinks but be sure to realize how much it will cost you at the end. Granted, it may get out of hand but having a large safety budget could help lessen the hangover bill.
Map out which areas you want to visit. It could be cheaper to take public transit or rent a car. Using Google maps and street view will give you a great idea of how far things are.
I know it is tempting to buy every cool nick-nack for friends and family, but limiting your gift giving and sharing the memories and pictures will be far less expensive and meaningful.
Always carry a bit of walk around money in case of emergencies, but not too much. Try carrying cash in a few different places to keep yourself safe against looting.
Step 3: Be Aware of Exchange Rates
Exchange rate could either help or harm you, financially. Find out ahead of time what exchange rates your local bank or credit cards offer. There could be some hidden charges that you want to be aware of before they start racking up the bill. It is also important to give your credit card company a call letting them know your planning a trip to another country to make sure they don’t freeze your account thinking your card was stolen.
Step 4: Have ample storage space
Leave some room in your suitcase for stuff you want to bring back. Sometimes you can snag some great deals depending on the exchange rate and price of some items. Don’t let limited space be a factor for not getting what you want.
Step 5: Start Saving now
Make sure that when you plan your elaborate vacation that you start saving now. The sooner you start saving and building up the money, the sooner and more you will be able to spend on your trip.
For many people, this is easier said than done. The best way to ensure that you actually save is to make it so it gets tucked away without you even realizing it. Set something up with your bank so you can create a small vacation fund.
Keep in mind these are one of the few times budgeting is fun and something you want to create. Proper financial planning will help you spend more but make sure you’re not going broke.