As the weather gets warmer and people start thinking about going on vacation, there is a need to create a sufficient budget that you and your family will find acceptable. However, average vacation costs have continued to increase primarily because of travel expenses.
Due to today’s uncertain economic climate, people have become accustomed to confronting canceled vacation plans. It might be easy to avoid making them altogether, particularly when cancellations contain sizable fees, and staying home will sound like a good idea.
Families will feel dumbfounded and shell-shocked after losing thousands of dollars due to canceled vacation plans. There are many things you can do to not fall into this trap, which is altogether avoidable. You can follow these seven tips to have a relatively inexpensive summer vacation that you and your family can still enjoy.
Seven Tips to Get Your Budget Vacation
- Prioritize your vacation budget based on the importance
If you intend to go on a budget vacation, you have to prioritize what matters most to you. A general guideline you can follow is to divide your budget this way:
- 40% for living quarters
- 25% for transportation
- 25% for food
- 10% for activities
This is a good way to start but can change it to fit your priorities. If you intend to spend more on food, then think about spending less on lodgings and other things. If you like to go on adventures, then prepare and eat cheap food so you can spend more on activities.
- Plan your vacation ahead of time to prevent surging prices from happening
If you intend to save money, it is a good idea to look at things ahead of time so you can avail yourself of as many early bird discounts as you can. As you make plans, keep these in mind:
- Compare your alternatives – Will you be choosing a car or flight rental? Vacation or hotel rental? Depending on where you will be going, what you plan to do, or how early you are looking, researching your options and comparing the different rates can help you save money immediately.
- Travel during occasions of less busy times – Travel times in the middle of summer tend to peak, particularly for families with children. People from the northeast U.S. find late summer to be the best time to travel since students begin returning to school in early August.
- Research and try out underrated travel destinations – The usual popular tourist sites have received more guests, resulting in higher traffic. Researching and going to little-known and off-the-beaten-path alternative destinations will usually be easy on the budget and inexpensive.
- Look out for discounted rates – Keep an eye on price drops and cheap rates and grab them immediately if appealing to you. Even if you book things ahead, always check back on them from time to time. There might be cheaper rates that you can change to and get some money back.
- Track as you go so you can stick to your vacation budget
Tracking your spending habits will help you remain aware of them and adhere to them. Your household budget should not create a burden for you and you can still enjoy your vacation on a budget. Here are some tips to stick with your vacation budget:
- Lessen your credit card spending – Having credit cards can tempt you to overspend, leaving you incurring debts and fees later. Instead, use a prepaid card or debit card.
- If you use credit cards, make sure you are earning extra rewards whenever possible – Many cards offer cash-back deals if you purchase from participating outlets. Travel cards also provide rewards for future vacations.
- Adhere to a spending limit – If you end up overspending for one day, make sure to ease up the next day. You might have the flexibility for something in the future.
- Buy as many things upfront as you possibly can – If you have already paid for some key purchases, it will be easier to keep track of your budget. This way, you can enjoy things more.
- Always keep an eye out for rewards, discounts, and freebies
If you are planning to vacation on a budget, look out for free or cheap local activities. Browse through local newspapers if they are promoting events with cheap or even free admission fees. If you have children, entertainment venues and restaurants may have free or inexpensive fees for children under a particular age.
There are ways to look for rewards, discounts, or freebies to save money on your vacation. Here are some avenues you can go to:
- Reduced free admission for children when going to art exhibits, museums, etc.
- Early bird or group discounts when going to amusement parks, etc.
- Inexpensive deals when purchasing through websites and apps similar to Groupon, Kayak, etc.
- Similarly cheap deals for email subscribers to local restaurants, airlines, etc.
- Special promotions like Restaurant Week
- Membership or credit card rewards via big box stores, AARP, etc.
Other vacation ideas can be free as well as fun. If you plan to take a sightseeing trip, make sure to take the scenic route rather than paying for a guided tour. If your vacation route is known to have historical or scenic views, take photos on your camera. You can also go to the beach or have a picnic in a park to save money.
- Think outside the box and be flexible
You need to be flexible if you intend to have a budget vacation. You have to be strict with yourself in setting an idea or plan into motion, or else you might get stuck in spending more than what is necessary for your budget. You need to have an out-of-the-box mindset to have your budget vacation plans come together.
For instance, you can save money by driving instead of flying, staying in a campground rather than a 5-star hotel, or driving instead of flying. If your dream vacation is too expensive, try to look for something similar in another location that provides the same experiences. Who knows, out-of-the-box thinking might end up being more fun!
- Research and get acquainted with local deals
Having a budget vacation can confine you in how much you will spend, but you can still have a great time in the places you will go. The trick is to take advantage of the local resources and you might even do more without going over budget.
Once you have selected your destination, sign up with local deals specific to your city like Amazon Local Deals, Groupon, etc. This is a fantastic way to experience local culture and cuisine at a cheaper rate.
- Get rid of costly expenses and set aside necessary funds for your vacation
You may have already tried spending on expensive things you don’t need, and you will be at a disadvantage when you still do it while on vacation. However, once you cut back on useless and frivolous expenses, you’ll be surprised at how much money you’ve saved.
You will also need to cut back on monthly spending to quicken your efforts in saving. Do away with unnecessary things you can live without like pedicures, manicures, dog grooming, etc.
Lastly, make sure not to use your credit cards for purchases and never leave any unpaid debts.
Vacation should be the time for relaxation, and also escape from the busyness of work and everyday life. Even with a budget-friendly vacation, you can still have an awesome time as long as you follow the steps. This way, you and your family can have the utmost enjoyment without worrying about money.
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